When it comes to making career decisions, many people end up giving in to societal expectations to play it safe. Because of external pressure, they put their heads down and follow the crowd instead of taking risks and following their hearts. Many chase higher salaries and struggle to climb the corporate ladder, but eventually feel like something is missing from their lives. Time and time again, people have found that pursuing only money and power cannot bring about true happiness.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation, don’t panic. You can still turn your life around. It’s simply a matter of slowing down and taking the time to assess what you want your career to look like. If you’re still feeling lost and unsure about what to do, read on for some actionable advice.
What Is Important to You?
As previously mentioned, building a career based on other people’s expectations will only result in disappointment. So, when you review your work goals and revise your career, the first thing you should do is let go of all external factors. Then, reach deep into your soul and ask yourself: what are the things that really matter to you?
While doing this exercise, you may find that your answers are closely linked to your personal belief systems. Make sure to take note of these, as your ideal career should sync up with what you value most in life. Above all, be honest with yourself as you unearth your deepest desires. For instance, if bonding with your loved ones matters most to you, then consider it a sign to stop accepting jobs that rob you of your time. Instead, look for work that can provide you with a more flexible schedule.
What Does Your Ideal Work Week Look Like?
After determining what you value most, you should now have a better idea of how to distribute your time between your work and personal life. With this information in hand, your next step is to plot out your daily and weekly work schedule. Ideally, it should allow you to work at peak productivity without sacrificing your physical, emotional, and mental health.
While there is a myriad of ways to go about it, we recommend accounting for all activities that are related to your top priorities before anything else. These will become your non-negotiable tasks, which must be accomplished no matter what. Once you’re done, you can then schedule all other non-urgent, unimportant tasks around your priority activities.
However, your priority tasks don’t necessarily have to be related to your career by default, nor should you fill up each week with purely work-related tasks. While you may think that you’re getting ahead by sneaking in as much work as possible, overextending yourself can actually cause you to burn out and fall further behind. So, when creating your ideal schedule, you should also allocate some time for rest and leisure. This is the key to maintaining work-life balance, which is essential to performing well in your chosen career.
What Does Your Ideal Work Environment Look Like?
Once you’ve set your work schedule, it’s time to envision the perfect work environment. Try to ask yourself: where am I usually the most productive, and why? Remember: everyone has their own unique working styles, so there are no wrong answers to this question.
Some people, for instance, prefer the freedom and flexibility that remote work can provide. With this type of set-up, you could work from home and save yourself from hours of commuting. Technically speaking, you could work from anywhere you want as long as you have access to electricity and a reliable Internet connection. This makes telecommuting an attractive option for working parents who wish to spend more time with their children as well as digital nomads who prefer to work as they travel.
Despite these benefits, remote work may not be for everyone, as some find it to be too isolating and lonely. Some may also have trouble drawing a line between their work and personal lives when working from home and become distracted at home and find it too hard to focus on their working job.
That said, others may still prefer working in an office because they enjoy being in the company of their co-workers and finding it easier to work collaboratively with physical interaction rather than virtual communication. They may also find it easier to concentrate if they can work privately behind the walls of their personal cubicle. Additionally, the act of commuting to and from the office can help people create precise boundaries between work and personal time, which can be helpful for those who have a tendency to overwork.
When it comes to picking an ideal work set-up, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. So, take the time to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option. Ultimately, you’ll find that your ideal work environment will also hinge on what you value most.
If the thought of your current job brings you more dread than happiness, it may be time to take a step back to re-evaluate your career choices. Keep all of these questions in mind while as you review, revise, and rethink your ideal work life.