It’s Time for Everyone to Redefine Work
Most people find little meaning in their work. In fact, a 2017 Gallup’s World Poll found 30% of US workers are engaged at their workplace. The numbers are even worse internationally. That’s a real problem. However, I believe there is a solution. Instead of understanding why people are so disengaged from their work, a better approach is to redefine work so they will become more engaged.
I love to work. It’s a big part of my life. It defines who I am. I will gladly work for 12 hours a day. Whereas each day I wake up ready and eager to tackle my work. Who in their right mind would want to work this much? Well, this guy.
I’m sure I sound like a crazy workaholic. Not even close. My work has a lot more depth beyond my day job. Unfortunately, most people think that work is their professional life and play is their personal life. They separate the two of which play is a positive and work is a negative. Nothing can be further from the truth. Thankfully, this is easily fixed when we redefine work.
When people ask what do you do, they are asking about a career, job title, and the responsibilities with it. That’s a social norm when adults meet for the first time, or when building a professional social network. However, the question implies only that one’s job constitutes a person’s purpose and place in society (i.e. how do I stack up against you).
A person’s work, in a traditional sense, is only a component of work. Work is everything that progresses any project or goal, such as a career, family, hobbies, and personal interests.
However, nothing should be part of a person’s work without a clear understanding of its purpose. For example, my health is an important part of my work. The purpose is to maintain a healthy lifestyle through activities I enjoy. Other parts of my work include my family, a day job, this blog, learning Esperanto, several programming projects, composing music, and project TinyHome.io. Each one having a personally defined purpose.
I’m not advocating that everything related to our work will be enjoyable all the time. In fact, some tasks will require extra brain power and focus to complete. Yet, these more difficult and necessary tasks should contribute to some greater purpose that is worthy of our time and energy.
Time is the finite resource that binds us all. In fact, many people regularly complain they don’t have enough time. Even with well-defined work, we can still struggle. Furthermore, there are always tasks that are hard to complete. However, creating multiple milestones to focus on each step separately can help set the pace for more difficult and emotionally draining tasks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always solve a time management problem.
Planning helps bring some order to the chaos. Although a schedule cannot account for 100% of a person’s time, it can provide a framework to meet all obligations. There are several methods for planning. Some choose to set aside huge blocks of time to focus. Others break up their days into smaller chunks of time to focus on specific tasks.
Regardless, the most important thing is to focus only on the tasks at hand during these blocks of time. It’s critical to avoid any distractions such as smartphone notifications, email, social media, and anything else that draws attention away from the tasks. The goal is to produce quality results that complete tasks or move a larger goal forward.
At first, it can be difficult to balance time. It does take some practice. However if a person is in a constant state of feeling like they’re always behind, then it’s time to review the current priorities and once again redefine work. Perhaps it’s time to find a new job, or temporarily put aside a personal project.
Work Does Not Equals Money
When a person limits themselves to a work equals money mentality, then they end up missing out. Work should bring joy and happiness to what we do whether we are compensated for it or not. Instead, most people have job responsibilities that are mostly shallow work or repetitive tasks. This can lead to burnout and boredom, which could be a reason why so many people are disengaged.
Only when people redefine the scope of a workday to include personal and professional endeavors, will they be able to achieve their full potential and find meaning in their work. It also fosters a more well-rounded skillset. This makes us more marketable, happier, and fulfilled. Furthermore, it can lead to new opportunities whether they generate income or not.
Redefine Work and Go!
With a new perspective, it’s time to redefine your work and dig in. There are always exciting tasks, something new to discover, and skills to learn. The endless list of priorities and action items is always up to you to manage throughout a lifetime of different jobs, interests, and hobbies.
Always bring the same focus and drive to each task, be fully present, remove distractions, and put your best foot forward. Moreover, each completed task is progress. Progress always feels good. So the next time you think about work, if you’re doing it right, it should bring a smile to your face and an eagerness to start working.