The average American will spend 90,000 hours working in their lifetime. Not many people go into the workforce with this in mind.
Usually, you set out on a path that you think is going to be fun, lucrative or make an impact in some way. But, as the years go by, responsibility overshadows idealism and you find yourself on a hamster wheel of obligation, long hours and overcommitment as you chase the dollar dangling right in front of your face. The same can be true for many entrepreneurs. At the onset, you start your business for all the right reasons; freedom, dreams and (eventual) security. Here too, the paradoxical hamster wheel can trap you in a claustrophobic cage.
The point is, time does not make itself. How often do you find yourself with extra time on your hands that you can use to contemplate yourself and your work-life happiness? It is tough to think about the big picture when you’re “just surviving”. However, if you can somehow carve out and put aside some time to just think about the things you value and what really makes you happy in the workplace, you will actually reorient your daily thought process. Even if you are not in a place to make a change right this minute, your brain gears are already in motion and you have changed the patterns on the neuro-pathway to happiness. From here on out, your every step, movement or conversation can be a reflection of your newly-set goals.
As they say, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. If you’re not a part of a great working environment, then start making the small changes that get you there. If you are just working for the weekend, it’s time to find a new job with a company that values people first and understands the mechanics of a good culture. If you own your business, think about how you can improve your own culture; you must know that every hour you and your employees spend at the office is an hour you will never get back. Will your 90,000 hours add purpose, meaning and fun to your life? Or, will it just be another mundane obligation that supposedly gets you closer to a goal you plan to set sometime in the future….when you have an extra couple of hours, of course.