Let’s face it — COVID has us all struggling, and dealing with things we never thought we would have to. Suddenly, we’re juggling working from home with the stress and isolation of lockdown. It’s no wonder people are starting to feel overwhelmed, especially with work!
A great place to start is taking the time to gain some insight and clarity about your work, so you can be more focused and happy. Having a deep awareness of your work is important for keeping yourself motivated, productive, and on the right career track. Let’s say you take the time to gain insight, and realize that you’re not spending your time in the right way, or even that you haven’t enjoyed your job in months. Learning about yourself and how you relate to your work is so key to feeling good and confident about your job.
But how do we go about learning insights about work? When you’re in it, it can be hard to see the bigger picture and understand what needs to be done in order to quell the overwhelming feelings and get back in the groove.
Here are three ways you can start getting insight about work, so you can be more in-tune with how to succeed.
- Define success for yourself
We live in a noisy world, with constant feedback, especially about what success looks like. You might see articles about the next big success story, and it looks nothing like what you’re doing. Instead of letting that derail you, it’s important to focus on what success means for you. Everyone is different, and what you value and cherish might be the complete opposite of your friend or coworker. Maybe your success is defined by feeling challenged at work, or maybe it’s being able to have time for your hobbies and interests outside of work. Whatever you feel in your soul should be your driving force toward success. Once you figure out what motivates you, it’ll be easier to be more insightful and intuitive about your day-to-day work schedule or that big project you’ve been dreading, so you can tackle it easily.
A great way to do this is to keep a journal. This is a wonderful way to keep track of how you’re feeling about a specific job, project, or even overall workday. It can be difficult to see the bigger picture in your day-to-day, but looking back on your journal can help you discover patterns that can lead you to discovering your motivations. And journaling is really good for you, too — it can improve your mood by flooding your senses with dopamine, which will stave off depression and help you focus more.
- Take a step back
Like I said, finding the bigger picture is difficult when we’re stuck in the drudgery of our day-to-day lives. Work can become monotonous, especially when working from home and constantly in the same space. Taking a step back from your work, and the constant chatter in your head, will help you quiet the noise and be more receptive to gaining insight.
This can look like:
- Meditation. Studies show that meditation reduces stress and anxiety. It can also help you become more self-aware and confident, which is critical for finding clarity in your work.
- Taking breaks. Taking small breaks throughout your workday, even if it’s just to decompress and take a few deep breaths, will absolutely help you reduce stress and be more able to combat feeling overwhelmed. Studies even show that taking breaks makes you more productive, which will leave more time for learning insights about your work and making decisions that impact your career.
- Maintain work-life balance
The number one thing I like to stress when clients tell me they’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t have a sense of direction in their career is that work-life balance is crucial. Especially in today’s society, working overtime can be seen as necessary to get ahead. Or maybe there’s just so much work to do that you find yourself losing an hour or two at the end of the day, or even on the weekends. Working from home due to COVID has also made it easier to work longer hours without even realizing it — in fact, it’s led to a 2.5-hour increase on average.
But balancing your work and your life is necessary for maintaining healthy boundaries and keeping yourself happy, less stressed, and more productive. In fact, 21% of employees with a positive work-life balance say they work harder than they used to, and 24% report feeling happier.
Some ways to make sure you’re balancing work and life appropriately are:
- Don’t look at your phone or email after a certain hour
- Take breaks
- Create a daily to-do list (including household to-dos, not just work)
I know it’s a hard time for everyone, and the thought of taking extra time out of your already busy schedule to sit down with your own thoughts and analyze your work and your feelings about it may not sound super fun. But I promise that it is so, so worth it. Knowing what you want, how you want to get there, and implementing the tools to help you succeed is one of the most satisfying things you can do! And once you have your insights, you’ll be in a better position to make decisions about your career, more on top of your game, and overall happier.
Now, excuse me while I go meditate!