How to Stop Working for the Weekend

This week, I overheard someone say, “I’m great!  It’s Wednesday!  I’m half-way through the week!”   It’s a common phrase, that we have all used.   It’s tied in popularity and overuse with “Thank God it’s Friday!”.

The comment made me think about how many people are “working for the weekend”.  It doesn’t matter if the weekend is the traditional Saturday and Sunday or if the weekend is Monday and Tuesday or any other combination of days.    It’s far too common to hear how unsatisfied and unhappy people are at work.   How many people do you know who watch the clock, “serving their time”, waiting for the “freedom” that comes with 5 o’clock? 

Intellectually, we know that life is a precious gift, yet most of us rush through our lives barely conscious of how we are spending that time.  A majority of our time is spent working in some capacity whether it is taking care of our family or working outside the home.   If we are spending most of our waking hours in a state of unhappiness, frustration or anxiousness, these stressors are putting our health at risk.  Health issues such as headaches, insomnia, backaches, heart disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome have been directly linked to stress. 

Dissatisfaction generally starts when we put ourselves in the role of victim and look outside ourselves for the answers.  If you dread going to work each day, maybe you have forgotten that where you work or the type of work you do, is your choice.  Yes, of course, most of us need to work to pay our rent or mortgage and other necessities, but in many cases, we could choose to simplify our lives by  living in a less expensive place, cutting out cable television or driving a more modest vehicle.  We could choose to stay where we are employed now or choose to look for another place to work.  

We can choose to focus on the things about our current employment that are frustrating and unpleasant or we can choose to focus on the things that we do enjoy there.  For example, maybe you like your office or enjoy the beautiful building where you work.  Do you feel fulfilled listening to and being supportive of a co-worker who is facing some difficulty or do you have fun at work chatting with co-workers?  If your commute to work is long, it can be stressful if you concentrate on how long it is taking to get to the office or home again or you can use that time to quiet your mind with silence or listen to relaxing music or an audio book. 

Sometimes, we end up working where we are because we did not have a plan or vision for ourselves and we just drifted into our current career.  If that is the case for you, writing down your thoughts could help you find your true passion or calling.  Start by imagining and writing down what you see yourself doing if you could do any type of work.  Do not get stuck on facts such as not having a particular degree or training, let your imagination guide you.  

Some of us are interested in several different types of careers.  We can become immobilized by too many choices.  If this is you, list all your choices, then go back over your list to discover if there are any similarities between the different careers.   Maybe all the careers help other people, or involve creativity or good listening skills.  As you read over your list of possible career choices, which ones cause you to feel excited and hopeful?    Can you combine any of these career choices into one career or can you create a portfolio of careers?  There is no rule that states we must have only one career at a time.   Write a short paragraph about your ideal job, be as descriptive as possible and make sure you include the amount of money you will be earning.  Post this where you can see it every day.

Now that you have a clear picture of your ideal work, you can begin to explore the options for getting yourself there.  Does it require more education or training?  This is where you mind may start telling you that you can’t afford or don’t have time to go to school.  The best thing you can do for yourself is to shut that voice down immediately.  Instead, adopt a belief that you can and will find a way to get the training you need.   There are scholarships, government loans, on-line education and unlimited ways to earn the funding or find the time to get an education if it is truly important to you.  You will be amazed at the doors that will open up for you when you have a clear vision. 

Meanwhile, remind yourself daily that there are things about your current circumstances that are good, be grateful for those aspects, concentrate on them.   If you cannot leave your current employer, what can you learn while you are still there?   Perhaps there is a person or a situation there that frustrates you.  That situation or person might exist to teach you to be patient, tolerant, to set boundaries or to stand up for yourself.  Use the challenges to further your own growth

Create work for yourself that is enjoyable and fulfilling and you will rarely feel the need to say “I’m great, it’s Wednesday and I’m halfway through the week!”

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