One of the most difficult challenges I have faced over the years is how to keep my drive and momentum going while I am working a 40-hour job that, quite frankly, is not a source of happiness, energy and passion. I do my job because it pays the bills, keeps my family provided for and because I am good at it. But as you know, something you’re good at is not necessarily something you love to do. And when you are not doing the work you love to do, it wreaks havoc with your levels of energy and enthusiasm.
After an 8, 9 or 10 hour workday I usually felt drained and fed up. And studies show I am not the only one.
When you come home from work and feel this way, you know how difficult it is to get yourself going again. No matter how much you want to, let’s face it, it’s damn hard to drag yourself to your desk, the gym, or wherever you need to be to work on what is really important to you.
The big problem with this is that it’s depressing. You want to make a change in your life. You want to do stuff that matters. But it just doesn’t happen. And the more it doesn’t happen, the more depressed you get.
And yes, I know and understand what the guru’s say; get a big enough WHY. If you know WHY you want to do what you want to do, you’ll have all the energy and passion you need. You’ll never feel down, or exhausted, or simply fed up ever again!
Well, I am sure it works some (or even a lot of) people. But it doesn’t work for me. That’s something I need to work on, I guess. But then the question is still, when? After I come home from work? Not likely.
If this sounds familiar to you, it’s likely you feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.
So what can you do?
The answer, fortunately, is simple.
In his book Eat That Frog, author Brian Tracy explains that if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a “frog”, nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day. Everything else you need to do just isn’t as bad.
That’s a great way to get yourself going on a list of tasks (especially the tedious, draining kind). But what you can do before that will make an ever bigger difference.
Here’s what to do: first thing in the morning, before anything else, work on something that is really important to you.
If you want to be a writer, write! If you want to inspire yourself, read your favorite inspirational book. If you want to live more healthily, go on a run or fix yourself a healthy breakfast. Journal about what you are grateful for or how you are going to help people.
For a while now, I have started every day writing 200-500 words on a topic that inspires me. It takes me no more than 30 minutes. The result? I actually feel a lot better about my work. Because whatever happens during the day, I already worked on what’s important to me. Nothing can take that away.
And that is not all. Since I started doing this I noticed I felt a lot less drained at the end of a working day. And I have actually started doing more after I come home from work.
Why? I used to spend a good portion of my day thinking about how I was probably not going to be able to do anything meaningful after I got home. How’s that for some positive thinking? As you might guess, this was a major reason I felt totally wiped out at the end of the day. Not anymore.
Now, I don’t have to go there anymore. And it makes all the difference.
If you want to make a difference in the rest of your day, start with doing something that is important to you. Write, read, go for a jog, anything. Don’t let your job get in the way of what you really want to work on.