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10 Ways to Bide Your Time When You Hate Your Job

10 Ways to Bide Your Time When You Hate Your Job

I’ve talked to so many people lately who absolutely hate their jobs but are staying put because of fears of switching jobs in an unstable economy. While I wouldn’t recommend that anyone remain years in a job he or she dislikes, timing can be very important when changing employers. There is much to be said for a steady income, health insurance benefits, and other necessities. But if you’re in an unpleasant situation, whether it just be a job that doesn’t fit your goals or a boss who is a jerk, you need an action plan to maintain your sanity while waiting for the right time to make your move.

Assess Your Situation

First of all, examine what is wrong with your current situation. This step should come before all others because it will help determine what kind of action you need to take. Ask yourself:

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  1. Am I in the right career and it’s just this company that is a bad fit for me?
  2. What is my ultimate dream job?

Define Work for Yourself

Someone recently told me, “Well, it’s called work for a reason.” I balked at that statement because I refuse to accept the belief that work is a pejorative. After all, Webster doesn’t define work as “A tedious, miserable task that humans do out of need to support themselves financially, usually with hopes of someday being able to retire and finally enjoy life unless they die of a stress-induced illness before then. See retirement and myocardial infarction.”

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We’ve all done work, paid or not, that required skill but was enjoyable. While involved in work that suits us, we are immersed in the activity and lose all track of time. Interrupted from the task, we look forward to resuming it later. Occasionally, you’ll hear a story of someone who won the lottery and, when asked whether he’ll quit his job, replies, “No, I’ll probably cut back my hours, but I’ll still work.” Or consider the examples of people who had the option to retire but continued to work due to the sheer enjoyment they received from work. Why should we settle for anything less?

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Find Your Path

If you know that you’re in the right career but your company is simply a bad fit for you, your task becomes easier. You simply need to examine where things went wrong to see if you can prevent repeating this experience. In retrospect, should you have asked for more – both of the company in terms of pay and benefits, but also of yourself? Did you settle for a job that didn’t fit you because you didn’t believe yourself capable of more? In the interview were there signs that this job wouldn’t be a good match for you, but you decided to overlook them?

If you know you detest your work and will not be happy in a similar job, it’s time to ask yourself what you truly want to do with your life. Let your mind run wild with the possibilities. What would you do if you didn’t place limitations on yourself? What would you do if you really believed in yourself? Would you like to make a living from the activity that you now refer to as a hobby?

10 Ways to Bide Your Time

  1. Ramp up your networking. Join LinkedIn and Plaxo, and ask for recommendations from current and past coworkers. Use Twitter to update the world on your current projects as well as network with other like-minded individuals. Look for local networking groups, and start attending them.
  2. Prepare for success. Consider registering a web site in your name. You can then create a professional-sounding email address that will encourage people to visit your web site. Get a professional photograph taken. This is for your web site, your advertising, or anything else that you will be doing to promote your image as a serious professional. Order your own business cards in your name with your web site and business number. Basic business cards can be obtained for a very reasonable rate at Vistaprint. If you don’t want your cell phone ringing with business calls at work, consider a SkypeIn number, which will cost you just $60 a year.
  3. Expand your skill set. If you’re in the right career, critically examine where you may be lacking in experience or qualifications. If you’re weak at giving presentations, now is the time to join Toastmasters. This will improve your public speaking ability and eventually add solid achievements to your resume. Upgrade your credentials. Is there a certification of some sort that you can achieve? Perhaps it is time to consider finishing your MBA.
  4. Start thinking of yourself as who you want to become. Rather than being a banker who paints as a hobby, you are an artist who supplements your income with your banking job. This inner psychology is very important to realizing your dream. If you always think of your dream as something you’ll be doing in the future, there’s a good chance it will always remain in the future. Claim it as your reality now, and that will encourage you to take action. If you’re in the habit of thinking it and believing it, doing it becomes much easier.
  5. Do something to earn money outside of your current job. Consider consulting or selling your creations. Having an outside income helps take the sting out of a miserable work situation. Working in a job that is a bad fit can be a demoralizing experience. Earning a second income is a consistent reminder that you are able to earn money apart from your main source of income. You may eventually find that you can turn your secondary income into a full-time business.
  6. Post a visible reminder that this job is only temporary. When I once worked in a job I hated, I helped bide my time by hanging a reminder on my bulletin board that said, “This is only temporary. De-invest.” Now this was a home office, so I had freedom over my environment. However, I would suggest you post something at work that will symbolize this concept for you. It could be a phrase like this abbreviated in a way that only you will understand. For example, if you want to become a novelist, post an image of your dream home office or the front cover of a book. Make sure this is in a location where you will see it frequently; every time those stressful moments at work arise, you’ll have this reminder: This is only temporary. I will not be doing this forever.
  7. Get busy in your off-work time. There are two halves to achieving a new reality: You must have time to dream, and you must take action. Give yourself time for creative visualization daily. Note ideas that come, and keep a record of these. Make a rule that you spend X amount of time daily taking action on your dreams. Artists produce artwork. Writers write. If you are not taking action, you will not achieve your dream.
  8. View your current job as paid practice for your future dream job. Even in a miserable job, you have a wealth of opportunities to polish your skills. Have a boss who’s a hothead? This is your time to get paid to practice dealing with difficult people. Read about neurolinguistic programming (NLP), and give it a try. Find ways to streamline the processes at work. How can you be more efficient in dealing with email and phone messages? How can you better manage your time? Build good habits now that you will take with you when you leave.
  9. Maintain a satisfactory job performance, but de-invest emotionally. This one takes practice, and meditation helps with this. Keep in mind that this job is temporary, so it is not worth your losing sleep over. Practice not engaging with people who try to push your buttons. Think of yourself as working for yourself, not for the company. Do your best to stay below the radar by making sure you are performing satisfactorily, but as much as possible, reduce work-related activities that consume your energy but have little to no return on investment.
  10. Get a life outside of work. This is vital to biding your time in a job you hate. When you have an active social life outside of the office, it becomes so much easier to tolerate mundane or stressful work. A balanced life helps to keep things in perspective.

Employing all of these techniques will help reduce stress while you wait until the appropriate time to change jobs. By taking these steps you retain your sense of dignity and worth as well as prepare for success in your future work.

Resources

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5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

Not being able to stay productive at work is a problem that everyone runs into at some point; no matter how much you like your job, there are certain factors that prevent you from staying at maximum proficiency throughout the whole day.

A lack of productive focus at work can lead to extra stress on yourself, missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion and even termination.

So, if you are someone who has trouble with your productivity, here are five effective tips on how to be productive at work:

1. Take breaks

First and foremost, it’s important for you to take regular breaks. Trying to work throughout the whole day will tire your brain, which will then cause you to doze off and think about something else.

If you keep working your brain, it will fill up and get jumbled with information—sort of like a computer hard drive. Taking a break would be like resetting your computer so that it can start afresh, or de-fragmenting the data so that all the information is in order.

This is a great thing because it allows you to solve problems you were unable to solve previously, by seeing it differently; if you are able to organize your thoughts properly, you will be able to take in new information more easily.

There have even been studies about methods of saving time and staying proficient, and taking breaks is one of the leading factors.

According to Christine Hohlbaum, the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, eating lunch away from your work area every day will greatly increase your productivity. Eating in your work area will give you the illusion that you are working, but whether you like it or not, your brain will begin to wander and think of something else and then you will be working tirelessly with no progress.

It’s important to take breaks before and during work too: if you come to work in a rush because you woke up late, your mind will not be mentally prepared for the day ahead, and you will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes trying to get organized and composed before you can actually start working.

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Instead, you should try to wake up 20 minutes earlier than the time it would take you to “just get” to work. Take that time to stare off into space and not worry about anything.

If you do this, your brain will be empty and ready for all the challenges it has coming for the next few hours.

If your employer only allows a set amount of breaks during the workday, that doesn’t mean you can’t just get up and walk around for a quick break every now and then.

Even if it’s only 5 minutes, it will refresh your brain and you will gain renewed energy to do your job.

Learn more about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

2. Pace yourself and balance your workload

One problem that most people run into is that they underestimate the amount of work they have to do, and end up doing 50% of the work in the last 20% of the time they have to do it. This is due to an issue of balancing one’s workload.

When you receive a project, or are doing a job you normally do, take some time to really plan out your work schedule.

Consider how much time it took you to do this last time; determine how you can break the project into smaller parts and which can only be accomplished on certain days, and whether anything might come up that could interfere with your plan.

All of these questions are important for starting on a project, and when answered, they will help you stay productive throughout each day.

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For example, if you needed to design a project to map out the amount of aid offered in various regions after Hurricane Sandy, you can break it up as follows:

You will need to know what organizations are offering help to begin with, how much aid those organizations gave or plan to give, which regions were hit by Sandy, and which regions suffered the greatest losses.

You start this project on a Thursday and know you have until Tuesday to gather this information.

In order to stay productive, you need to plan out your work week—now you know you can find out which organizations are involved in helping the Hurricane Sandy Victims any day since that information is online, but gathering information on the organizations may require you to call them.

Since phone calls can only be done during week days, you have to plan on gathering all of that information before the weekend comes.

That is just one example of a situation in which pre-planning your project will help you stay productive; had you researched the affected regions first, you would not have received the info on the organizations until the weekend, and may have missed your chance to call them.

That, in turn, would have wasted time you could have spent working on this project to finish it.

Knowing what you need to do, when you can do it, and how long it will take you, is important in balancing your workload and being more productive and efficient.

3. Put your work first

This is an issue that usually occurs with young people who are new to the workforce: they’re often tempted with offers to go out at midday, and then come back lost in thought and unfocused on their work-related tasks.

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While it is important to take breaks, your breaks should consist of you clearing your mind, not loading it up with other less important information—like sports.

However, that is not the only situation where you need to worry about putting your work first before all else.

In a work environment, the senior employees will oftentimes push some of their menial tasks onto the newer employees. If you fall into that category, you need to know that their work is not your work, so if you have tasks that need to be done, you need to do it first.

If you are a new employee, you must learn to say no to other people even when it means you may not be in their good graces anymore. You can help others out once your work is done, but you are paid to do your own work, not anyone else’s.

4. Don’t open your browser unless you need them

In this day and age, everyone is constantly monitoring their social network. This is a major pain point for companies, which is why many don’t allow employees to access their social networks on company workstations.

When you are at work, disconnect the internet from your phone and keep your browsers closed so you’re not tempted to log onto your social media accounts or browse any sites that are not work-related.

If you keep your browsers closed and phone tucked away, only to be used in an emergency, you will find yourself being a more productive employee right away. 

5. Try to be happy and optimistic

If you always have a negative outlook on life, you will be more distracted and less motivated to get work done, so it’s important for you to start your day off right.

This can be done by having a good breakfast or by taking time in the morning to watch one of your favorite TV shows before work.

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If you are happy, you will find yourself able to work much more productively as your mind won’t wander into worrying about something else.

Also, if you stay optimistic and keep telling yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to, the tasks will seem much less daunting and will go by much more quickly.

Take a look at more effective ways to stay positive at work:

15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

Happiness and optimism are the keys to being a productive and happy employee.

All in all, heed the five tips above and you will find yourself being one of the most productive people at your company.

While you do not need to master them all, each and every one of them will help you become a better and more efficient employee.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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