Where my hard-working ladies at?
As modern women, we are often QUITE busy, juggling multiple roles, jobs, and responsibilities. Sometimes, working our tail feathers off feels okay, even fulfilling. However, there are other times where hard work can be draining, and we want to pull our hair out. Even when things are going smoothly, it can be disheartening when you know that you have a lot of work in front of you.
The words "work" and "hard work" carry negative connotations. When people say that we need to "work hard" in order to achieve personal change, the whole process seems more intimidating. This is because we often forget that hard work doesn't have to be draining. Hard work can feel GOOD. Do you ever wonder why, as a hard-working woman, you still struggle with motivation on some tasks? Well, I am going to outline some reasons why hard work can feel awful, and how to actually ENJOY working.
1. Your heart isn't in the task at hand
There is a reason why people who follow their passions with persistence tend to lead fulfilling lives. When you follow your passion, you will do whatever it takes to reach your goals, because the task at hand is something that speaks to your soul. When this happens, the motivation comes easily, and the work that it takes to reach your goals no longer seems like work.
For example, I am currently building an online wellness coaching business (soon to be life coaching business), which has already taken an IMMENSE amount of work. I have taken multiple online business courses while also working toward my master's degree in counselling psychology. I have had to build a website from scratch, create my own brand, learn how to manage my social media, run multiple advertisements, email clients, build a mailing list, send out monthly newsletters, create and nurture an online community (The Road to Self-Love), get used to speaking live, edit and release videos, and keep up on my blog. None of this is easy, but it hardly feels like work, because I am working toward my life purpose. When we are aligned with our purpose, feelings of passion flow toward us, and with passion comes motivation.
If you are not passionate about your work, then it is going to feel miserable. This is especially true with day jobs; if this job is not aligned with your purpose and passion, you may feel like you are working way too hard. When I was working in fast food (definitely NOT my passion), I felt like every shift was taking every last ounce of energy from me. I would come home from work and collapse, usually for the rest of the day! This work felt like it required too much effort for too little reward.
Part of the problem with NOT following your passion is that you have to work 10 x more for the same sense of reward that you would get while working WITH your passion. When you are doing something that lights you up, the process is rewarding, even when your goal is still far out of sight.
2. You aren't making time for self-care
Self-care is one of my back-pocket tools for a reason! It is something that you can easily apply to your life, and you should! You will know if you have been slacking in the self-care department, because you will be on the edge of burnout if not already burned out. I don't know about you, but I used to feel SO GUILTY for self-care. If I wasn't constantly working or cleaning, I felt like I was being lazy. I have long since made peace with this thought trap, but I know that it can be hard to give yourself permission for self-care. What if I told you that self-care is a natural responsibility? Think about it: how much of yourself can you dedicate to your responsibilities if you are burning out, crying, and giving up? We only have so much to give. If you don't prioritize self-care, then it is only a matter of time before you start being unreliable with your responsibilities anyway.
I have seen this with friends before. They push themselves to be everywhere all the time, never stopping to breathe. With no self-care time, I have seen my friends start to bail on certain time commitments, even losing jobs, because their lack of self-care showed in their work performance.
I have written and talked about self-care a lot. As you know, I emphasize using whatever time you have to have some quiet time. Take regular time each week to do whatever YOU want to do. Relaxation needs to happen. If your brain is stuck in "overwork mode" day-in-day-out, then your cortisol (stress hormone) levels will be THROUGH THE ROOF. When this happens, it is difficult to be productive at all. It is also more likely that your work, even if it is aligned with your purpose and passion, will feel like too much work. No amount of passion can make up for an overworked, strained brain.
If you feel like you are getting zero reward from your hard work, ask yourself how you can enhance your self-care. Can you add me-days into your week? Trust me, taking this guilt-free time will allow you to be more productive than ever. I know this, because I have experienced the change personally. I am hands-down more productive than I have ever been! I am almost always on time, and I am getting more things done in a day than I would normally complete in 2 weeks back when I was running myself into a wall.
3. You don't have an organized plan
One of the best ways to establish peace of mind is a SCHEDULE. Do you have a formal, weekly schedule? I actually have my days pegged down by the hour. I used to think that this kind of planning sounded silly, but since applying an hourly plan to each day, I have become more productive than I could have ever imagined. I am staying on top of all of my business tasks, setting appointments with ease, consistently on time for everything, and still having more time with friends, family, and Steve while enjoying my me-time.
If you don't have a planner, I recommend getting one. Another option is using the calendar in your phone. Either way, writing things down has more power than you probably realize. When we carry our responsibilities and tasks in our head, it's easy to create an overwhelming, jumbled mess. Using clarity writing (one of my back-pocket tools), you can release your brain of this jumble by recording everything in an organization tool of choice. You can thank me later ;). You would be surprised by how much free time you really have. When you start organizing your work, you can also start scheduling your play. Your mind will also feel light and free now that you can trust in your organization tool.
When I feel overwhelmed by life, I either journal or open my planner. Using my planner, I outline all time commitments, and I set plans for various tasks. I also record my daily goals in my iPhone notes. This way, I can start a busy day with an easy reference tool; as I complete a new task, I erase it from my list. For example, I thought that I was way too busy yesterday. How was I going to get all the things done that I needed to do?! I made my list, and I worked my way down the list as my day progressed. I managed to complete my entire list, and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. That's because, when we try to remember a list of things to do, we feel bogged down. We see the list as worse than it is, because our mind also attaches negative associations with these items, such as the fear of being late or the fear of forgetting something. Having an objective organization strategy helps ease our minds. After all, our poor brains have enough to worry about in a day; we don't need to overload our brains with daily tasks.
Finally, it is important to have monthly goals. I record my business goals in my business journal. My personal goals go into my personal journal. Having your goals on paper makes it easier to choose your daily and weekly tasks. You can prioritize tasks better, which means that you are using your time better. Time used to its full potential can ease the negative feelings that come with hard work.
Work smarter, not harder
My Polish fiance always says that, as a "Polack," he works "harder, not smarter." I laugh at this stereotype, because he truly does fit it to a tee! Hard work doesn't have to feel like it is draining you. When you follow you passion and purpose, look after yourself, and organize your goals and strategies on paper, hard work can actually feel rewarding! I LOVE working hard when I am working on my business, and I am hoping that my internship will be just as rewarding. This is possible for you as well. Hard work can be fulfilling, and even a little fun!
PS My April Mind-Body Wellness Challenge Group is still open until April 10. I extended the deadline, because the All-Access BOD challenge pack is on sale for an all-time low price of $180 CAD. If you are looking to improve your mindset AND your fitness at the same time, don't hesitate to sign up: https://quinndownie.leadpages.co/challenge-group-page/