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Change The Way You See Work and Change Your Life

Change The Way You See Work and Change Your Life

Change the way you see work

    Did you ever think there was a better, different way to live? Did you ever think, “Maybe I don’t have to go to a job and work 40+ hours a week, feel exhausted, wish for more time for myself or my family, and wonder when the fun stuff begins?” If so, get ready: your life’s about to change.

    When I was a little girl, I woke up every morning with the sun. I opened my eyes, heard birds chirping outside my window, and smiled, thinking about the adventures of the coming day. Fast forward to my last corporate job, when I woke up with the alarm clock, slammed my hand down on the snooze button and laid in bed, a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, thinking about the eight hours I was about to spend working under fluorescent lights, in a small cubicle, so my boss could take credit for my work and someone else could profit.

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    Why do we do this to ourselves? When I look back on the time I spent in Corporate America, I realize that I didn’t know any better. Despite the entrepreneurial spirit I’ve felt through my entire life, there was a period of time when it simply didn’t occur to me that my life belonged to me and I didn’t have to live according to the narrow path that had been defined for me.

    It took carpal tunnel syndrome and an inflexible corporate environment for me to realize that I desperately needed a change. And that’s what it took to remind me of the philosophy my dad taught me as a little girl, something I’d long forgotten: that work is what makes the rest of your life possible.

    From this perspective, “work” takes on substantially less meaning, while “life” takes center stage. I like this because it reminds me where my priorities lie. I’d much rather my tombstone read, “She truly lived,” than “She worked a lot.”

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    It’s easy to say “work makes the rest of my life possible,” but how does it look in real life, and how do you put this into play in your own life?

    How it looks in real life:

    I wake up each morning, knowing that the day belongs to me. I have a schedule, but I’m not beholden to a boss or supervisor who will dock my pay or fire me if I decide the schedule doesn’t suit my mood that day. One of my priorities is my health and physical well-being, so most mornings I start my day off with a workout at the gym. Since my day is my own, I can work out without rushing, and that allows me to get to know the other members of my gym, which means it’s a social event as well.

    Then, depending on the day and what I’ve committed to, I may work with clients, do some writing for my blog, e-zine, the book I’m working on, or the other sites I write for, or read one of the several books I’m into at any given moment. Aside from scheduled meetings with clients and deadlines, I do what suits my mood the best – if I’m struggling for inspiration for my articles, I spend more time reading. If I’m in the mood to bake bread with my husband, I do. And I’ve structured my businesses so that if I want to get on a plane and fly to South America, England, or New Orleans for a weekend or a month, I can do it without a second thought and my income doesn’t change a bit.

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    The point is, no day is completely consumed by work, it’s all flexible, and everything I do for “work” is something that I enjoy doing. If I don’t enjoy it, I either don’t do it or I find someone who does and I outsource that work to them.

    When I speak to groups, I’m often asked, “How many hours a week do you work?” Sure, just like Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek (a great book to read if you want to get another, similar perspective on this philosophy), some weeks I only work four hours. But if I’m working on a book or one of my one-on-one clients is launching his/her business, I work at least forty. Those are the extremes: most weeks I stay somewhere in the twenty to twenty five hour range. But I can tell you this: I wake up with the sun and the birds chirping, just like I did when I was a little girl. I always wake up smiling, and I love what I do.

    But I’m not that different from you. I’m not overly lucky and nothing that special has happened that made this possible for me. Virtually anyone can do this.

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    So how can you incorporate this into your own life?

    The mindset comes first. You have to take responsibility for your life and know that it is yours to live in whatever way that you want. Think this is easy? It’s not. This can be one of the scariest things you’ll ever do. But as Seth Godin recently wrote, “the riskiest thing you can do is play it safe.” So take a risk and believe that your life belongs to you.

    Second, figure out your priorities and your goals. What’s most important to you? Are there things you want to do, places you want to see? Maybe you just want more quality time with your family, or want more time to relax- that’s okay. The point is to figure out what’s most important to you.

    Third, design a business to suit your lifestyle goals. This is the most challenging aspect of applying this philosophy, because it requires some extra knowledge- what opportunities are out there, how to repurpose what you already know and/or do, how to brand yourself and market your business. There is no one-size-fits-all solution- a business model that works for one person may not be suited to another. Your best bet, the easiest and fastest way to accomplish this, is to work with someone who has successfully made the transition themselves, who knows the opportunities out there, can help you figure out what suits you best, help you put it all together and show you the ropes.

    Finally, be prepared to work to get to the point of living the dream. I’m not going to lie to you. It rarely happens overnight. Some of my clients have transitioned into this lifestyle (what I call the “Business in Blue Jeans lifestyle”) within a month or two, while others have taken a bit longer. Some of it depends on the industry you’re in and some depends on what you’re willing to put into it and how focused you are. Because the fact is, even though you aren’t working as much or as hard as before, in this lifestyle, when you are working, you need to be really focused.

    Ultimately, the bottom line is that when you’re working for a life that you’ve designed, when you love what you’re doing and when you know that you aren’t just putting in the time, everything changes. Change the way you view work, and you’ll completely change your life.

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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