What’s the first thing you think of on Monday morning?
Is it uuugggghhh?
Or bring it on!
We can all relate to a morning where we’d rather climb back into our beds for the day. That’s certainly not uncommon. The problem lies when you feel that way every day of your working life.
In The Secret to Less Stress & More Money, I explained the “Reaction Cycle”. It’s when spend all your time putting out fires instead of preventing them. It’s a business and personal cycle that just builds over time. Always playing defense is extremely stressful and it’s no way to build a successful business.
But stopping the Reaction Cycle is only one step towards having the work life you’ve always dreamed of. The way you structure your day also matters. I’m asking you to open your mind and let all your preconceived notions go.
It’s time to create a new workday.
Find Ways to Play
All work and no play make Jane a dull girl…
We’ve all had days where we’ve worked non-stop, got dinner at some horrible drive thru, and then worked another 5 hours until we dropped at our desks. Those days happen.
Yet, that doesn’t have to be normal.
If you want less stress, it’s time to add some fun into your life. It doesn’t matter if it’s watching stupid YouTube videos on your break, reading a Jenny Lawson book, or making time to get out and have fun. It doesn’t matter what it is – the crazier the better.
SnackNation Member Success Executive Manager Yuliya Malamud explains about her office's team-building kickball: ”it’s fun, gives me something to look forward to halfway through the week, and helps me let my inner child come out.”
Be deliberate and find a way to laugh and have fun every single day. It will change your entire outlook and make the hard times just a little easier.
Learn How to Breathe
Of all the changes I’ve made to my workday over the past years, incorporating meditation into my workday has had the biggest impact on my overall stress level.
Meditation doesn’t mean that you have to chant while holding crystals. It can mean something different to each of us. I prefer short guided meditations during my workday, but you could simply sit quietly for 10 minutes and focus on your breathing.
The idea is to give your tired brain a break. You don’t want to get to the point where you feel like you’re going to snap. Meditation will help alleviate stress and increases focus, creativity, compassion, memory. Not only will you be improving your health, your workday won’t feel as overwhelming when you take time to catch your breath.
Work Less Hours AND Increase Productivity
Work more, do more – that’s the American ideology. It’s simply not in our DNA to work less with the intent of being more productive. Yet, a Swedish study proved that “productivity can increase with fewer hours worked”. Along with an increase in productivity, employees who worked six hours a day were happier and took fewer sick days.
It’s a badge of honor to be one of the working class that toils for 60 hours each week. It’s a perceived link to overall success. But we don’t have to work our fingers to the bone to be successful. In fact, productivity can decrease and mistakes can increase if we work more than 50 hours a week.
Take a look at how you spend your time during your work day. You could be one of the American’s who spend a staggering 4.7 hours a day on their smartphone! Or you may be guilty of spending too much time socializing with coworkers. Be honest about what you really do. Make a plan to stop wasting time and devote large chunks of your time (distraction free) to increasing your productivity.
Being a Workaholic Doesn’t Equal Success
We’ve been conditioned to believe the workday looks a certain way. It’s a picture that we have stuck in our minds about the right way to do something. And it's hard to change a view we’ve had for most of our lives.
But we don’t have to do the same thing over and over because that’s the way it’s always been done.
If your workday is making you stressed out and overwhelmed, it’s up to you to change what that day looks like. I can only tell you what I’ve done and what’s worked for me. You’ll have your own unique situation to deal with. I’ve changed everything about my workday. I’m less stressed, more productive and much healthier now than I’ve ever been.
Get real about your workday. Be honest with yourself about your priorities. And create the kind of workday that you’ve always dreamed of.