Get Off Your Butt and Out of the Rut

It's amazing to see so many people who are prepared to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their careers.

I'm sure you know of someone like that. They get up at the crack of dawn, drag their weary bodies out of the house and head off for another exciting day at work. Ten or twelve hours later they head home totally exhausted with all their energy sapped from their body.

They might make the effort to find out how the rest of their family's day has been, even read their children a bed-time story. Finally after having something to eat, taking a hot shower or bath, they then veg out on the couch. They immerse themselves in the newspaper (again) or watch the news or some mindless television show (if they don't fall asleep beforehand).

And this is a common scenario for many people who work for someone else! I can understand it if you own your own business where there's so much extra pressure riding on you, yet to sacrifice so much for someone else???

The Solicitor

I met Jerry at the gym. He was telling me that for the past two years he has been working at a legal firm in the city. An average day commenced at 8.00 a.m. and finished at 7.00 p.m. Working weekends was common. Lunch breaks and time off were unheard of. This was the culture instilled at his company! No wonder staff turnover was high!

Here was a young man, only 25 years old, absolutely stressed to the max.

He felt he was on a rollercoaster and couldn't get off.

Clearing the Clutter

Jerry was so entrenched in his situation he couldn't clearly see what he could do. He felt powerless so did nothing.

I suggested to Jerry he write a list of all the options open to him. Some of these were:

Speak to his boss and work out a compromise.

*Plan his working day and be strict about the time he would leave each day. Take charge himself by starting later if he had to stay back. Or finish earlier if he had to commence work earlier. Learn to say 'no'.

Look for another job where they put their people first. (According to Jerry most legal firms treated their people the same way). See our newsletter Look After Your People and They Will Look After You Jerry really did know his options and just needed to have someone to confirm what he already knew (and ask a few hard questions).

So what did Jerry do?

He spoke with his boss who agreed to a compromise. Unfortunately that only lasted two weeks and Jerry found himself in the same situation.

He did what he knew deep down he should have done months ago but couldn't be bothered doing as it was more pressure in his life. He allowed time to go job-hunting. I suggested he use our weekly planner so he could plan his week effectively with the key focus on finding a new position.

He contacted everyone he knew and told them about his situation. Jerry scoured the internet for vacancies and the weekend papers. He invested time and energy into his own life. Within three weeks he had a new position handling legal matters in a medium sized business (not a legal practice).

By taking action Jerry moved forward. He got himself organised and focussed and took control of his life. He realised he had the power to make the change.

Are you holding yourself back? Is it time for you to stop drowning and start swimming?

5 Ways to Get Off Your Butt and Out of the Rut

#1 Make a list of what you'd like to change. (eg. Change job, lose weight, find a partner)

#2 Prioritise which item on that list is the most important and write no. 1 next to it. Continue numbering the rest of the items.

#3 Look at the first item and prepare a list of the possible solutions. (e.g. Change job - contact everyone I know and see if they know of any openings. Contact companies I'd like to work for. Start my own business - attend a small business course)

#4 Decide which of those solutions is the first one to take action on. (e.g. Change job - contact everyone I know and see if they know of any openings)

#5 Act! (e.g. Phone or email everyone you know and make sure you follow up)

The Final Word

Whatever is happening in your life it is all down to you. If you're happy and content with both your work and home life that's fantastic.

If you're not, then maybe it's time you got off your butt and out of your rut. You can either do nothing or take action. The choice is yours.

Lorraine Pirihi, principal of The Office Organiser is Australia's Personal Productivity Coach. She specialises in working with businesspeople showing them how to dramatically boost their productivity, reduce the stress and the mess in their lives and have more time for enjoying their life.

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