The ups and downs of work can be exhausting and energy sapping. Sometimes it’s like riding a rollercoaster that’s going too fast and that you can’t control.
Surely work should be more enjoyable than this?
Work will only be more enjoyable if you get off the rollercoaster and smooth your ride. If you’re operating on adrenaline then you’re in survival mode and at some point, you’ll reach your limit. You’ll feel as if you can’t go on any more and then your career will plateau. Your mental well-being may suffer because your happiness is dependent upon your performance at work. But it won’t just be you that suffers, your family and home life will suffer too.
So how do you get out of this downward spiral and start to create balance and harmony between your work and life?
1: Know what you want
First of all, assess your career and get clear on what you want from it. Do you need more creativity, more opportunities to learn, more challenges or greater progression to a more advanced role that you’re better suited to?
When you stop and look at your working life, you’ll gain a deep insight into what drives you. If your driving force comes from an aspiration to be and do more, you’ll feel supported and fulfilled by your career. If you’re driven by fear and necessity, your work will drain you.
If your work isn’t fulfilling, think about what you want instead. Then decide what you need to let go of so you can have more of what you want. When you discover what you want, you’ll also see what’s been holding you back. It could be that you have an underlying belief that you aren’t up to it or a fear that you’ll fail.
This might be uncomfortable, but now that it’s out in the open, you can begin changing it. If the issue is one you can’t resolve on your own, consider getting some career coaching. At Career Consultants, we use career and personality assessments to help you see yourself more clearly. Whether you need to change your career or work for a different kind of organisation, get in touch and we’ll help you plan your next step.
2: Design supportive systems
Secondly, it’s important that you design new systems so you can support yourself better. When you have a set of simple processes for dealing with daily tasks, you free up your time and energy for other work. By becoming more efficient, you can stay on top of your work. Not only will this help you feel more in control, it will also significantly reduce your stress levels. This will smooth your working life as you’ll do less fire-fighting and therefore experience fewer adrenalin rushes Your confidence will increase too, because you won’t be in a constant state of fear that you’ll be called to account or in danger of finding you’ve forgotten an important task.
Good systems will also increase your efficiency, which will reduce the need for so much overtime and long days. You’ll be less tired and you’ll have more time to look after yourself. You’ll also have more time for others, which will result in better working relationships and deeper personal connections that’ll enhance your working life.
As you begin to feel calmer, the number of power struggles you have at work will go down. You’ll no longer feel as if your back is against the wall or that you’re going to get caught out by your boss or a bullying colleague.
As you begin to feel calmer you can focus your mind on what really matters. You’ll be focused on making a deeper and more significant contribution. Work will become easier and feel less intense, smoothing your days so they become less draining.
3: Learn to listen
It might not seem as if listening could have much impact on your career. But your team have important messages for you. Perhaps they have ideas to share or can enlighten you as to why they aren’t achieving as much as they could. You might be missing vital clues as to why someone in your team is unhappy and not engaged with their work.
Listening is a core skill for an effective leader. Not only do you have the chance to learn important information by listening, it can also improve communications overall. When someone feels listened to, they’re more likely to listen to you in return.
The more and better you listen, the better your relationships with your team will be. So, listen to what they say (and don’t say) and take time to get to know them as people. Although you can’t fix or change anyone, you can still listen to what is going on with them.
If you find listening difficult, practice so you can get better. Notice if you tend to drift off into your own thoughts or filter what you hear. You’ll listen better if you minimise distractions and wait before replying so the other person has time to get to the heart of what they want to say.
Focus on the purpose of your listening. Reflect what they’ve said to check you’ve heard them correctly. For example, “So what you’re saying is…” or “What I’m hearing is that …” This also puts you in the other person’s shoes and allows you to gain a deeper understanding of how they feel or what they’re dealing with.
Being a great listener is the starting point for you to become a better coach and leader for your team, ensuring that you all work in harmony to produce great results. That will not only enhance your working day, but also help everyone in your team progress in their career. You’ll win a lot of friends and supporters to help you in your career too.
4: Get known for what you do well
If your career is going to be rewarding, get known for what you do well. Do a good job and ensure your efforts are visible so you can promote your skills and successes both within your current organisation as well as to employers in other companies. Be generous with your successes and share them with your team. Make it clear you’ve noticed their good work and learn to give praise and respect where it’s due.
All this will raise your profile and enhance your reputation for what you do and that will have huge benefits for you and your company, including:
- More opportunities coming your way because your colleagues recognise your expertise.
- A higher salary due to the fact that you’re contributing more value to the business.
- Getting noticed by senior management, leading to faster career progression.
All this will result in you feeling lighter and more confident, which will make work feel easier and far more satisfying. So, don’t do mediocre or ‘just okay’ work and don’t let your team get away with under-delivering either. Otherwise you’ll be noticed for all the wrong reasons!
5: Look after yourself
When you’re constantly exhausted by your work, it’s easy to stop taking care of yourself. Whether it’s your health or the way you present yourself, you need to build yourself up. You can’t keep going on an empty tank, whether that tank is emotional or physical.
When your energy is swirling around all over the place, you’ll be prone to panic attacks, temper tantrums and explosions in the office. You’ll niggle at your team and find yourself making sarcastic comments to your boss or even your clients. It’s possible that your job title will allow you to get away with this kind of juvenile behaviour for a while, but eventually, you’ll be pulled up for it.
The best way to avoid descending into this kind of emotional turbulence is to focus on your health, fitness and overall well-being.
- Nurture yourself by taking exercise, eating well and getting enough sleep.
- Take care of your appearance by updating your wardrobe, getting your hair cut regularly and looking well-groomed.
- Consider your mental health too. Pursue activities outside of work, take courses and spend relaxing time with friends and family.
Above all, remember that work isn’t everything. You work to live, not live to work. When you refuel yourself emotionally and physically, you’re more attractive to others, more fun to be around and have more to give.
Beyond the rollercoaster
When you put in place these five simple changes, you’ll find you have fewer ups and downs at work. You’ll stop being an adrenalin junkie and release more energy for both your work and your life. Make a promise to yourself that you’re going to let go of the idea that you need to suffer for success and start managing your daily life and your wider career with greater ease.
If you’re ready to make meaningful changes at work, contact us here at Career Consultants and we’ll get you off that adrenaline rollercoaster and onto a smoother and more enjoyable work pathway. Fill out the form on this page so that we can start helping you straight away.