What do we do when life feels monotonous and predictable and our work becomes drudgery? This week we talk about ways to re-inspire yourself, perk things up a bit, and reapproach your life with renewed interest and enthusiasm.
Life may not always be fun but there are things we can do to renew our energy and enthusiasm
Nothing is fun all the time. Even when everything about our life is just the way we want it to be, life can begin to feel like a monotonous, repetitive cycle: Get up, get self and/or kids ready, work, tend to the house, meals on the table, laundry, etc., and do it all over again the next day. Even the things we’re most passionate about can become drudgery.
- in Merriam-Webster dictionary: “dull, irksome, and fatiguing work: uninspiring or menial labor”
- in Cambridge dictionary: “hard boring work”
- on collinsdictionary.com: “You use drudgery to refer to jobs and tasks which are boring or unpleasant but which must be done.”
Why it happens
To a point, it’s part of being an adult. There are certain things that have to be done, whether or not we enjoy them. Mark Twain said,
“Do something every day that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule of acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.”
It’s unrealistic and counterproductive to expect to always feel joyful, inspired, and engaged about every aspect of our lives. In fact, those feelings actually have meaning only in comparison to their opposites.
Sometimes we just discipline ourselves to push through. That’s part of being an adult.
Sometimes, if it’s a specific area of our lives (our job, for example), we decide to make a change. But if we’re feeling stuck in a phase where our life in general, or some aspect of it, just feels joyless and monotonous most or even all the time, but we don’t want to do something drastic, what are some steps we can take to refresh and renew our mindset and find more joy in our work and in our life.
What we can do about it
1. Renew your energy – mental and emotional energy is affected by physical energy and it’s hard to feel good about life when we’re exhausted.
- Drink water
- Fuel your body
- Take a walk
- Take a nap
- Visit your doctor
This is true for us all, but especially for moms of young kids. Take care of yourself, too!
2. Refresh your space – living and working in a cluttered, disorganized environment that doesn’t appeal to us aesthetically or ergonomically makes our work/life more taxing. Sometimes we can perk up our mood by making a change to our environment.
- Move furniture around
3. Renew your enthusiasm
- Take a break – walk away, not forever, but for awhile
- Talk to a friend
- Try a different technique or approach–this can break the monotony of doing by rote something you know so well you can almost do it in your sleep.
- One article recommends: “Take 15 minutes a day to do something you love.” She recommends making a list of things you enjoy doing and then creating a small window of time each day for one of them.
4. Refresh your perspective
- Change locations and take your work to a different spot. If you work from home, leave your office and sit on the porch or in the kitchen. If you work in an office, take it to a conference room or even outside. Sometimes just shaking up your routine in that way is enough to kickstart your mood and your creativity.
- Read, listen to, or watch something by someone you disagree with or whose life experience is different from yours. Listen to understand, not to refute.
- Do something new, something you’ve never done before, like going somewhere new and different. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip to another country. Try a new restaurant, visit local sites that tourists come to, explore a park or monument
Get help if you need it – All of us feel this way sometimes, no matter how much we love our life or our job. But I don’t want to trivialize the experience of those for whom these feelings might signal something more serious. If your daily experience of your life is consistently joyless or if you struggle to find meaning in your life as a whole, don’t feel like you have to gut it out alone. As for help if you need it, whether it’s talking to your doctor or to a therapist.
“ 2015 Gallup poll found that 67% of Americans come to work disengaged. And research shows that when we’re checked out at work, we’re more stressed, less productive, and less willing to offer an innovative idea.” [from 3 Mindfulness Tips for On-The-Job Drudgery – Mindful]
I believe this is true about life in general. If we are not engaged, we are not bringing our best self to our experiences, and we’re less likely to find satisfaction. If we spend some time reminding ourselves of why we do what we do, look for the meaning . . . we’ll find more satisfaction in our efforts and more joy in our lives.
What do you think?
Is there an aspect of your work or life that feels like drudgery to you? What can you do this week to begin a turnaround? Share your suggestions in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or email me.
Resources and Links
- Drudgery: How to Take it Out of Your Day » Mind Tools Blog
- 3 Mindfulness Tips for On-The-Job Drudgery – Mindful
- When your work turns into drudgery – Sustainably Sensitive
- Willed Drudgery?. The art of doing what you don’t want to | by Neil Bradley | Medium
- Drudgery definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
- The Simplest Ways to Stay Enthusiastic in Life (Even When You Are Drowning in Work) – Lifehack
- 7 Ways To Be Enthusiastic When It Doesn’t Come Naturally
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Royse City, Texas