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I recently read an article about how “doggedly” someone was working and the price they paid. The person spent hours at the office and felt burned out. They described working excessively just to pay a pile of bills. There was no joy in the message, only suffering. The author’s solution was to take more time off. But to do what?

Taking time to smell the roses and refusing to run yourself into the ground is an important message, but something is missing here. What if play, rest, and work were equally enjoyable? This may seem unrealistic, but it’s not.

If you feel you’re drudging through the day or experiencing burnout, there is a better way to approach your life.

Taking Better Care of Yourself – This might sound like blah, blah, blah, and you’ve heard it a hundred times. I’m not just referring to eating healthy and working out. Taking care of yourself means tuning inward and paying attention to what’s happening there. It’s also about being maverick and unorthodox.

Stress doesn’t pop up out of thin air. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. But most of the time, it’s self-inflicted. Waiting until the last minute for deadlines, spreading yourself too thin, partying too hard, spending too much, wasting time, and even following too rigid a schedule can all tax your energy. Successful people manage these behaviors wisely. They also delegate the minutia or the things they don’t excel in.

We’ve been conditioned to work, work, work if we want to succeed. But is this really necessary?

Once you lighten up and roll with the flow, you can find more pleasure in all you do. The only time I go to my office is to see patients. The balance of my work is done at home or, sometimes, for a change of scenery, at coffee shops. Almost all my blogs and books were written while in bed, in the morning, or late at night. This allows me to rest while I work, take frequent breaks, and avoid the fatigue of racing around, and still gives me plenty of time to cook, do housework, and entertain guests in our home. While my work approach is unorthodox, others often say they can’t believe how much I accomplish. I’m no superwoman, just someone internally guided by a consciousness of love instead of fear. When you’re enjoying all that you do, it’s easy to accomplish a lot.

Fulfilling Your Mission – If you’re just working for money or responsibility, you’re screwed. It’s gratifying to produce a nice income, but it won’t feed your soul; sooner or later, it will become a curse instead of a blessing.

We all have a mission and purpose that reflects our gifts and talents. Your work consciousness should reflect that. You have them because you’re here to fulfill your mission. When those two goals are aligned, financial success is inevitable. But, even more importantly, you are emotionally gratified. If you’re not utilizing your innate talents, then it’s never too late to change course.

If you don’t feel you’re making a significant contribution, you’re cheating yourself and many others. Whether you’re a nuclear physicist, own a cleaning service, are a government worker, a restauranteur, or run a family business, your career should reflect your natural talents. If not, it’s unlikely you’ll have a fulfilling career.

Find the Higher Cause – Utilizing your talent is always about helping others. If you perceive yourself as just completing tasks, you’ll miss the joy of working. We’re not trained animals to perform tasks for treats. Unfortunately, many of us behave that way by chalking off work hours without any gratification other than money or a sense of duty.

When you remember that your efforts are serving others and a higher cause, you’re not just plugging away at work. Instead, you can feel the joy of significantly contributing to your co-workers, employer, or employee and those who will receive the fruits of your labor. Taking the focus off yourself and toward your efforts benefit the whole can uplift you instead of dragging you into the doldrums.

Be Grateful You Have the Work – Many people feel put upon with “so much to do,” – even those who have complete control of their schedules! But what if you had no employment at all? Suddenly work wouldn’t seem so burdensome.

We often take too much for granted and have little to no gratitude for what’s bestowed upon us. Instead, our minds lock onto the load, the responsibilities, demands, and any sense of appreciation get buried under that negative mental debris. Try lifting your head out of the garbage and look around.

The more you have, the more there’s to be grateful for. Yes, with money comes responsibility. But if you decide to be thankful for both and not just one, you can begin to focus on the good. The nice house, clothes, car, and all the goodies can’t be enjoyed if you don’t even notice them. So, whatever you’re doing, take time to enjoy what your work has provided you. Instead of seeing them as another burden on your list of things to do, view your assets as treasures to enjoy.

We’re not here to slave away, then die. We’re here to love, laugh, and play. With the right attitude and perspective, we can combine these three things in all that we do. There doesn’t have to be a line of demarcation between work and pleasure. So next time you sit down at the desk, get in your car, or walk into your workplace, try smiling and saying, “thank you” for all you have. Smile at the people you see and treat them kindly. Embrace your mission and approach it like a fun game. Sooner or later, whether work or play, you’ll discover equal enjoyment in both.


Dr. Donna Marks has been an author, consultant, public speaker, and psychotherapist for over thirty years. She was licensed as a Mental Health Counselor in 1987 and then certified in Addiction, Gestalt Therapy, Hypnosis, Sex Therapy, and Psychoanalysis. She currently has a concierge psychotherapy practice in Palm Beach, Florida.
She has appeared on numerous podcasts and local television. She is the author of two books, Learn Grow Forgive – A Path to Spiritual Success, and Exit the Maze: One Addiction, One Cause, One Solution (revised), and winner of multiple book awards. Her next book, The Healing Moment: Seven Keys to Turn Messes into Miracles, will be released in 2023.

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