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A Follow-Up To “Change The Way You See Work and Change Your Life”

A Follow-Up To “Change The Way You See Work and Change Your Life”

A Follow-up to "Change the Way You See Work"

    I’ve received so many e-mails and comments about my “Change The Way You See Work and Change Your Life” article that I decided to write a follow-up article to talk more about the specifics of what some call “non-traditional work” but what I call “business in blue jeans”: why do it, how can you do it, and how can it transform your life? You’ll find a few more nuts and bolts here.

    Why Do It?

    I believe in a life that’s filled with four things: love, joy, passion, and freedom. If your life doesn’t have all four of these things in it, I think something needs to change!

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    First and foremost, I believe you should love what you do. Confucious said, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Thomas Edison said, “I never did a day’s work in my life, it was all fun.” Steve Jobs said, “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” So first, love what you do, be passionate about sharing it with others, and success will come.

    Second, I believe that work doesn’t have to consume the majority of your day. If you’re working in the corporate world, you’re spending at least eight hours a day at work, but often more. Figure you’re sleeping seven or eight hours at night, then spending an hour each on things like commuting, household chores, getting ready to leave the house in the morning, exercising, and by the end of the day, you’re lucky if you’ve got three or four hours left for eating meals, enjoying your family, relaxing — and how much of that time do you spend watching TV? I just don’t think this is how life has to be.

    Third, I believe that work is what makes the rest of life possible. I love what I do — I’m deeply passionate about helping people design their lives and create a business that makes that life possible. But I’m also deeply passionate about experiencing all that life has to offer. I spend time reading so I can learn about new things. I try new hobbies all the time. I bake bread, I garden, I travel the world. And I do this because my work makes those things possible… because I’ve designed it that way. I determined what I wanted my life to look like and then I designed a business that would support that life. And you can, too.

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    So let’s get down to some nuts and bolts stuff.

    How Can You Do It?

    I’m going to put this on the table right now: the lifestyle I describe isn’t for everyone. Working in this fashion requires a certain skill set and a specific mindset. Virtually anyone can learn the skills needed. We’re talking things like self-discipline and a strong work ethic (yes, really!). But not everyone can manage the mindset. Some people feel very guilty when everyone they know is working and they’re not. Some people have been raised to believe in a very specific type of work and anything outside that is “wrong.” And some people are still operating in a mindset that’s focused on a lack of self-worth. These are hard to change. But if you can be open-minded and allow yourself to truly own your life and believe that you are worth it and you deserve it, this kind of lifestyle might be for you.

    I’ve received a lot of e-mail from people saying, “That’s great for YOU, but I can’t just go freelance and not work full-time.” Well, that’s probably true. But since I’m not talking about “going freelance,” it’s also probably not very relevant.

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    First of all, I’m not talking about NOT working. Sometimes I work a very full week. Sometimes I work more than I would ever work in a corporate setting. This is especially true when I’m working with a client to set up a new venture. You almost always work harder in the beginning when you’re building your brand and gaining visibility than you do once you’re more established. For example, I work far less now than I did when I first started. Some days I just work for a few hours and I can take vacations when I want, knowing my business will continue to run. But the point is, you love what you do, so when you are working a lot of hours, you actually enjoy it.

    Second, this isn’t taking what you do in a corporate setting and transplanting it to home. Do that and you’ll work just as hard as you did before. Instead, this type of business is centered around taking what you know and love, turning it into a system, and then finding ways to present that system to others.

    For example, say you’re a writer. You’re passionate about writing, you’re good at it, and you know how to get freelance writing gigs. In my system, you’d do freelance writing, sure, but you’d also figure out the steps you use to make a living as a writer, turn that into a system and share that system with others in a variety of ways (and of course you’d market to writers looking for gigs that didn’t necessarily compete with the kind of gigs you seek). This is just one example of where you could start. You’d also add a few other types of streams of income as well, all of which would also be similarly passive (what I call “passive(ish)”).

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    At first, building any business takes time as you get everything set up and start your marketing process. But over time, this type of “business in blue jeans” can grow into a serious, passive(ish) business, especially if you utilize outsourcing to its best postential. You get to do what you love, help others, and experience a great deal of freedom.

    How Can This Transform Your Life?

    From the start, if you’re doing work you love, your life will be transformed just by that alone. But beyond that, as you build this style of business, you also free up your time to experience the richness of life. How many times have you gone to work when it’s still dark out, worked inside all day, then left after dark, never once seeing the sunlight that day? How many times have you thought about things you’d like to do but don’t have the time for? How tired are you at the end of the day, after working under flourescent lights? How crushed is your spirit after working in a tiny cubicle?

    Now imagine how alive you’d feel if you could work in the sunlight, or if you could choose and design any workspace you wanted? How alive would you feel if you knew you could work from a cafe in Paris or a bar in Spain? What if you could just relax at home, in front of a cozy fire and work while the bread you made that morning baked in the oven, filling the house with its heavenly scent (that was my day yesterday)?

    Just imagine your dream life. Imagine every possibility- what you could do if you had more time, if you had more flexibility. Imagine what each day would look like if you could design it especially for you. You’d have more time to spend with your family. You’d have more energy to give to your work AND your family.

    The point I’m making, the point I’m almost always making, is that your life belongs to you. You really do get to choose if you want to work for someone else. You get to choose where you work and when. Most of us just don’t believe it because we can’t see “how.” But this is your life and you can choose. Whether or not you actually do, well, that’s up to you.

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    Published on November 14, 2018

    Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

    Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

    With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

    For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

    In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

    Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

    Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

    It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

    For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

    Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

    Symptoms of Fatigue

    Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

    • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
    • mental blocks
    • lack of motivation
    • headache
    • dizziness
    • muscle weakness
    • slowed reflexes and responses
    • impaired decision-making and judgement
    • moodiness, such as irritability
    • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
    • reduced immune system function
    • blurry vision
    • short-term memory problems
    • poor concentration
    • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

    Causes of Fatigue

    The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

    • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
    • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
    • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
    • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

    Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

    Medical Causes of Fatigue

    If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

    Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

    Anemia

    Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

    Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

    There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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    This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

    Diabetes

    Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

    Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

    Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

    Thyroid disease

    An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

    Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

    • Lack of sleep
    • Too much sleep 
    • Alcohol and drugs 
    • Sleep disturbances 
    • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
    • Poor diet 

    Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

    • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
    • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
    • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
    • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

    Psychological Causes of Fatigue

    Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

    • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
    • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
    • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

    How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

    Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

    1. Tell The Truth

    Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

    To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

    Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

    The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

    One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

    • How you feel
    • What time of day it is
    • What may have contributed to your fatigue
    • How your mind and body reacts

    This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

    2. Reduce Your Commitments

    When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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    If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

    When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

    Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

    3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

    If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

    Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

    If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

    Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

    Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

    4. Express More Gratitude

    Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

    It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

    Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

    5. Focus On Yourself

    Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

    There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

    But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

    We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

    6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

    Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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    Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

    The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

    Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

    7. Take a Power Nap

    When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

    Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

    This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

    8. Take More Exercise

    The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

    Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

    The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

    You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

    9. Get More Quality Sleep

    To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

    Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

    My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

    10. Improve Your Diet

    Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

    Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

    On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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    To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

    Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

    Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

    11. Manage Your Stress Levels

    Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

    When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

    Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

    My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

    12. Get Hydrated

    Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

    Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

    If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

    The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

    The Bottom Line

    These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

    If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

    Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
    [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
    [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
    [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
    [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
    [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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