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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.

    More by this author

    How to Hire A Web Design Firm Are You Having A Scarcity Conversation? 5 Topics To Address When Talking With Your Partner About Starting A Business How to Stay Motivated and On-Track When You’re Struggling How To Do What You Have To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Doing It

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    Last Updated on September 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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