Do you feel like you can’t keep up with your job? You’re not alone. Statistics show 85% of people are unhappy at their jobs.
Maybe that’s not you. But you think you might be working too hard. Harder than what they’re paying you to do.
Or maybe your money is right, but you just can’t keep up with tedious tasks. Some days, it’s boredom. Others, it’s stress.
You find yourself always chasing the next goal of your career. Like many other times, you promised you’ll “allow yourself to be happy” after you complete it.
“After I do this, life will be SO MUCH better!”
But that didn’t happen.
And as much as you’d like to relax, there’s no time to stop. You have to keep up with the next objective!
Heck, maybe you don’t even have time to read this article.
But if you want to get back your control again, keep reading. You can achieve work-life balance and you can make work fun again.
- 9 Ways Your Job Is Killing You
- What You Can Do RIGHT NOW
9 Ways Your Job Is Killing You
Of course, we could go straight to the solutions. Sleep better, exercise, be grateful, and all that stuff. But that’s not enough to fix things.
You first need to know what’s causing that dread.
- Is it because you don’t have enough energy? Then you need to take better care of yourself
- Is it because your job is meaningless? You have to find a way to make it fun and useful
- Is it because you have too much work? Maybe you could move at a slower pace
Most of the time, work is NOT the cause. But it’s the first place that reflects your deficiencies. So you could be underperforming at your job when the problem comes from another area of your life.
In any case, we’ve found nine accurate reasons why you feel this way:
#1 You’re not letting yourself rest
Don’t worry. We’re not going to start with the typical sleep advice.
Because you can be fully rested and still be mentally drained. Physical fatigue is an obvious problem, but mental exhaustion isn’t as easy to spot.
Here’s what the average schedule looks like:
You wake up early in the morning, maybe with big motivations for the day. You get to work and try to give your best. Along the way, you find many obstacles that weren’t supposed to be there. But despite the frustration, you work a little harder and finish your work just on time.
You then go back home, and you feel too tired to do anything. Back in that morning, you felt excited about all those things you wanted to do after work. But now that you’re back, you’re too tired to think. You can’t even feel joy for the things you wanted to do.
Upon the frustration, you try something passive, like watching TV series or playing video games. You spend hours there, the time speeds up, and now it’s night-time. As much as you want to call it a successful day, you don’t feel happy about it.
Then you wake up the next day with a bit less motivation than before. You can still do great at work, but is it worth it?
Research shows that the biggest energy drain for our minds is intense emotions. It doesn’t matter whether it’s positive (excited, ecstatic) or negative (anxious, stressed). When prolonged over time, you end up feeling mentally exhausted.
Intense emotions correlate with fast stimulation, which is the same as watching some TV, social media, or video games. When exposed for hours, you barely have any willpower to do anything. You don’t go to bed because you’re tired, but because you’re exhausted and can’t keep up with the day.
The big problem is, we often confuse resting with seeking pleasure. And the last one is often overly-stimulating. It’s as draining as working, except that you don’t feel it.
If you work in a stressful environment, that also worsens the problem.
#2 You think about work way too much
How can you stop thinking about work when there’s so much work to do? If you think about it, nothing you think about your work matters unless you’re currently working.
Maybe you’re worrying about things you need to do, mistakes to avoid, or things to add to the calendar. The problem is, you’re doing that while you’re in bed trying to sleep.** Or you’re thinking about it while you eat, exercise, or try to spend time with your family.
None of that thinking is actionable. It only stresses you out. And because you’re not at work, you might feel guilty and beat yourself up.
By contrast, when you’re at work, all you think is the next vacation or the minutes that are left to finish. You fantasize about what you want to do after finishing work. Only to think about work again.
Thinking about the future helps immensely to make the right decisions. But you can’t execute your plans unless you focus on the Now. That’s why when you work, you don’t feel like you were working. And even if you’re taking a break you deserve, you don’t feel like resting.
It’s annoying that this behavior is so built into ourselves. If you don’t stop this pattern, by the time you stop worrying, you already wasted the whole day.
#3 You don’t have much to do outside of work
When having work-life balance, one complements the other. You want to work to live a better life. But at the same time, you want to enjoy the life you already have.
It’s relaxing to spend time with your family, go for a walk in nature, have dinner outside, things like that. But what do you do for the rest of the time?
Think about it. The 24h you have in your day. Subtract work hours, sleep, food, family time, emergencies, and so on. There may not be much left, but how you use that time makes a big difference.
Do you really have something fun to do? Or is TV, video games, or using the phoneall you know? It’s not that we all don’t enjoy doing these things. But it’s what we do when we live boring lives. Those screens might be comfortable, but they steal your time from what you really want to do.
If you don’t know what your passion is, those distractions are preventing you from finding it.
There’s a question that can help you a lot. If you didn’t have to work, is your day fun enough to want to wake up in the morning? If not, it may be time to do something different.
#4 You’re only making money
I remember when I was a student and was thinking about careers. “Having a job must be so easy! At least they pay you for the work you do.”
I don’t know what your job is, but you may have tried it yourself. Dollars aren’t enough motivation to wake up in the morning. Even if your pay is fair or beyond-average, you’d rather prefer doing something else.
If you don’t need the money, you stop working. But if the payday is near, you suddenly feel super-motivated to work. After that, your productivity falls back to Low.
If you got paid nothing for your job, would it still be worth it? Sometimes, jobs can be investments, just like college. You can still be learning a lot while getting paid to learn.
Maybe you develop some skills that allow you to increase your income in a better job. Or you learn how a business works. You learn about the industry.
Every job has something you can learn. If there’s nothing good about it, and you’re just bearing it, then you’re training yourself to do hard things. That’s a skill itself.
Making money feels good up to a certain point. After that, it only feels like a cold number. What if you’re investing all your income in a business that won’t be profitable until months later? That could mean you’re not getting any rewards today. Which gives the impression you wasted your time.
If you only trade hours for dollars, you will maybe not going to get very far — if you haven’t quit your job before that happens.
#5 You don’t take enough breaks
If you’re an employee, at least you have some vacations and weekends. But if you’re self-employed or “work for results,” nobody creates those boundaries for you. Which means that if you don’t do it, you could theoretically never take a break.
There’s no need to explain the downside of that.
And we do it more often than we’d like to. How many times have you skipped hours of sleep so you could finish a top, urgent project? You promise yourself you’ll sleep better tomorrow, that you’ll relax.
But you never did. It’s a new day, but the same story repeats.
The reason we ignore these is because they don’t have an immediate downside. Instead, it’s accumulative fatigue. You’re creating energetic debt:
- Every time you skip sleep
- Every time you take too much coffee
- Every time you break your work-life balance
Eventually, you crash one day. You feel useless, pathetic. You can’t feel motivated to do anything, not even to enjoy the things you once found fun. You didn’t do anything wrong yesterday, so you don’t know why you feel this way.
This kind of self-sabotage emerges after building up for months. Typically, your body waits until your next day off to unload the debt burden. But if your work is unreasonably hard, it will happen sooner.
Also known as burnout.
#6 You depend way too much on stimulants
You know you work too hard when you need to rely on artificial supplements to get by. And you can do those extras whatever you like: coffee, smart drugs, painkillers, sugar, vitamins, whatever.
These work great when used sparingly. Coffee and other extras can boost your short-term productivity.
Now, you may have tried taking them every day, in case you have many deadlines in a particular week. But daily consumption leads to three costly drawbacks:
- Because of your tolerance, the stimulant loses its power. You need to increase it up to unhealthy amounts to feel anything
- You become dependent. They no longer make you super productive. Instead, you feel awful all the time and need these stimulants just to feel normal.
- The moment you quit, the debt burden unloads. You may spend days unable to do anything
If you’ve been using these for months, you now know what the problem is. You’d better find a more sustainable way to increase your energy.
#7 Bad Quality Sleep
I know this is one of the most annoying tips you can get. Because everybody knows the triangle: eat, workout, and sleep better. But there’s an overwhelming difference between doing it well and doing it perfectly. The tiniest changes here make the biggest change in your life.
Especially because your sleep doesn’t just affect how you feel that day. If you add up day after day, it increases/decreases your energy long-term.
And… we’re not talking only about sleep hours here. If you thought that’s the only thing that matters, then why do you feel so tired right now?
You see, how you go to bed affects your sleep quality. You might be laying down for eight hours, which is “healthy.” But how long does it take to turn off your brain? If you’re really stressed, it could be as much as two hours.
But it gets worse when you have to rush as soon as you wake up. You generally want to have a 15-minute window, not to snooze the alarm, but to wake up when you feel your best. While it’s good to wake up at the end of a sleeping cycle, interrupting it will make you feel groggy for the day.
To sleep better, you might have tried lots of supplements, meditation, and other relaxing techniques. You think you have tried everything. However:
- You still spend a lot of screen time until it’s bedtime
- You spend your time working until the very last minute. So you can’t disconnect from work
- You haven’t planned what you want to do tomorrow. So now, you’re instead thinking about it in bed
#8 It’s not meaningful enough
Why are you so motivated to quit right now? Maybe it’s because success isn’t rewarding enough. And who cares about failure? If you leave your job or stop doing what you’re doing, nobody will probably notice.
If you never worked for that company, it wouldn’t make any difference anyway. And that’s the problem.
As humans, we feel rewarded by our sense of agency. We enjoy the fact that the environment changes depending on our actions. We love feeling critical, necessary, irreplaceable.
Although that’s a lot of responsibility, it feels awesome to see how things around you improve because of YOU.
But what if you don’t feel that way? Do you really feel “in control?”
Compare working for a small startup and a corporate company. With a small team, you get to meet other people and their motivations. You have goals to achieve, and the more you work, the more you earn. Everybody cheers you up. Everybody wins.
In a corporate-like environment, they often lose that culture. Instead of working with people, you’re delivering projects to faceless bosses. And it doesn’t matter how hard or fast you work. You still need to clock your hours, which may not even affect your salary.
#9 You’re playing it safe
When we say most people don’t enjoy their jobs, it correlates with the fact that they’re only there for the money. That immediately traps you in that job, because it means you are only going to work just enough to pay your bills and repeat next month.
And this attitude neither benefits your managers. It’s about time that they pick someone more talented.
But if your job is really that worthless for you, why haven’t you thought of quitting? Does that sound too risky? It depends.
If all you got from that job is money, you’re at risk. Because as soon as you run out of cash, you don’t have any skills to find new ones.
But if you learned a lot from that position, you might be ready to work independently. You know: work as much as you want for as long as you like.
Or start your own business. There’s a lot of free material for entrepreneurs on websites like these.
Come on. If your job is killing you, you must have dreamed of “escaping” at least once. Why don’t plan that right now? Would that motivate you to work harder?
We’ll give you some ideas:
- Create healthy energy habits so you can work on a side hustle after work. Quit as soon as it pays for your living expenses
- Work extra hard at your job and save everything you make. Build up an emergency fund that covers 6 months of expenses or more. You now have enough time to quit and figure out something better. The limited capital will make sure you don’t waste your time
- See if you can get a job that gives you more control. Freedom to work remotely, choose what projects to work on, or getting paid for results only. There’s a lot of comforts when working from home. You’ll have more fun and prevent burn out
What You Can Do RIGHT NOW
Sure, it feels great to find your passion, dream of starting a business or quitting your 9-to-5 job. But we’re not there yet. You can use that to motivate hard work. But chances are you’re already doing the most you can.
So how can we solve this problem TODAY? Here’s how:
When your job is killing you, it usually means you didn’t respect your resting time. And now you’re dealing with the consequences.
I’m not saying you should take a break right now. It’s probably the last thing you want to do when there are so many deadlines this week. What you can do instead is work extra hard today to finish sooner than usual. Then use that time to rest and prepare better.
If you feel burned out, you probably just want to finish the task and take some long vacations. You no longer care about what results. You just want to get out of here.
But if you have to work hard every day, you’ll never escape this conundrum. If you really want to change things, stop playing defense. Take whatever energy you have left for today and commit to crushing your to-do list.
Turn on some music, take another cup of coffee if you need to. Make sure nothing distracts you in the environment, and get those tasks done.
By finishing work earlier today, you create a window of free time for yourself to prepare. You then use it to plan work better or take an actual break. So the next time you go to work, you are prepared and recharged. You won’t need to rush things.
So what do you exactly do with that extra time?
After high-intensity work, you need to address the no.1 energy drain (aside from sleep): intense emotions. Engage in relaxing activities to calm your mind, such as having a walk.
If you feel too agitated, try focus meditation for 6-15 minutes. It resets your brain so that your emotions return to a neutral state.
Limit stimulation and don’t force yourself, so you can recover. If you do it right, you’ll be amazed at how well you feel the next day. Do it perfectly, and you might double your energy levels.
Limit stimulation and don’t force yourself, so you can recover. If you do it right, you’ll be amazed at how well you feel the next day. Do it perfectly, and you might double your energy levels.
Now that you have some sanity, it’s time to address the elephant: your job.
Create A Detailed Checklist
If I ask you about your Job, maybe you feel instant dread about it. If that’s true, you might be picturing things more complicated than they are. The moment you define your plan, you’ll find that your project isn’t that hard after all.
If you do the same work every day, this exercise will help you a lot:
- Define briefly what’s the goal of your project and how you’re supposed to achieve it
- Enumerate all the steps you think you will need to complete it successfully
- Get to work and try to follow that list of steps
The first time you do it, you’ll naturally overlook some of the steps. After you follow the checklist, you may find some steps are missing, or others aren’t necessary. Correct it and do it again.
If that worked, phenomenal. You just created a system to make work easier.
Believe it or not, we spend too much energy making decisions. Oftentimes, we make the same choices again and again. And when keeping too much data in our brains, that reduces our processing power.
By following a checklist, you no longer need to think about work ever again. It’s designed so that you can succeed at that project, even if you have no idea of what you’re doing.
The goal is to focus on action, not to think about work. This way, you get so much done with less time and energy.
Checklists help you organize all your life, not only your work projects. You can create a script for every challenge, such as your morning routine, your night routine, how to make financial decisions, or how to organize your work.
Now, if you feel fed up with work, it can feel monotonous to follow the same routine. But you’re free to add variations in your checklist, so you always stay happy.
Who are you working for? What are their goals? Is there any way your work affects them? If so, you have the power to help other people.
If you hold a key position, then you’re not only helping your company. You’re helping hundreds of customers, even though you don’t know them.
Or maybe you work so hard that others take you as a role model. They’re secretly following your steps because your determination inspires them.
The power of your action can improve other people’s lives in so many ways. They don’t need to tell you directly, but the fact you realize this agency is empowering and motivating.
If that’s not true, then find out how you could offer more value.
The reason this tip appears on the list is because it’s very hard to find out. When you hate work, it’s second nature to think too much of yourself. “Oh, those fools understand how hard I’m working. I deserve so much more.”
You’re going to work hard anyway. Helping others succeed doesn’t mean you contribute less to your own goals. It means you’ll get more help and support from others, which is what you want.
Do something harder
When facing adversity, few expressions are more motivating than:
“We’ve gone through much worse challenges than this.”
That’s the beauty of hard work. If you keep doing it, it’s no longer hard. It becomes easy.
So if you do something harder, your job is going to look easy by contrast.
And you may wonder: I already work hard and have no time to breathe. How am I supposed to do that?
An intense, 20-minute workout can help you get there.
It’s harder than working, and it’s extremely healthy for you. It produces dopamine, prevents depression, boosts your intelligence, and it oxygens your body.
You’ll feel sore if you do it once. But it will energize you once you get used to it. Don’t do it just to get a great body, but because it makes office work easier. See the difference?
Progress towards financial freedom
Desperation can push you to do crazy things for cash, many of which are unhealthy. You keep bringing money home, but for how long?
We have our own rhythm. Some months we feel super-motivated. In others, we’d rather do something else. But with a 9-to-5 job, you don’t have a choice.
As much as you try to like it, you can’t avoid the truth. You have no choice but to work. You have to do it.
That’s why we believe everybody should strive for financial freedom. Not to get filthy rich, but to live by your own rules. To support the projects you care about and work only because you want to.
The moment you have enough money, you can really stop working whenever you want. There’s no obligation. The world is not going to end.
When you find yourself working from this position of abundance, it’s much more rewarding. They say life is too short if all you do is work to pay the bills.
Financial freedom may still be far, but that’s not an excuse not to start today:
I know it sounds backward when your job is killing you. But it’s easy to enjoy work when you don’t need it. And those are the type of people employers want to hire!