We all have dreams of working for ourselves. We have dreams of creating amazing inventions and changing lives, but as always, life gets in the way. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. From the time I wrote my first poem in 3rd grade, I knew that God had gifted me a very special obsession with words. It was amazing and I’ll never forget when that connection become my rock.
Unfortunately, life happened. I made some not so great decisions and the consequence was not being able to be a writer full-time. I wound up in some customer service positions and after years of that torture, some way I ended up in insurance follow-up. That’s right, for the past couple of years I have been de-escalating calls and educating people on the difference between deductibles and co-insurances. I’ve upgraded to a nice little cubicle that often makes me feel like I’m drowning.
Some days are okay, but boring. Other days I want to throw my computer out the window and run away. I get ahead of myself, feeling as if I deserve more than a full-time job with benefits. I’ve published six titles and I have three degrees. What more do you want from me?
I became an itWorks distributor to get extra income and I often dream of days I can own my time.
However, that takes work and time. I can’t just quit my day job. I have bills. Although I don’t have a family just yet, I still have responsibilities.
Studies show that 33 percent of entrepreneurs who keep their day jobs have lower odds of failure than their more confident counterparts who quit to pursue their business venture full-time. This isn’t easy, especially when you know you were called to do a certain thing. Sitting and wondering why God hasn’t delivered you from a boss that doesn’t value your worth can get a little overwhelming.
My road to recovery includes mental restitution. I cannot expect God to bless me just because I feel like I deserve it. Along with working for my blessings, I have to be grateful for where I am. I am actively choosing not to die in my cubicle.
But baby, listen…it gets exhausting sometimes.
I saw a black and white picture online of a cubicle. It was very plain, very morbid and very lifeless. The quote read, “The place where creative people go to die.”
The realism in this quote, hit me like cold water to the face and I immediately thought, “NO! I will not die here!”
I am stuck here for the time being. I have to make the most of it. If you are having similar issues with your current situation, I’m here to help. Here are four simple things you can do so you won’t die in your cubicle.
Proverbs 8:17 says, “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”
Starting your day off with some morning meditation not only wakes you up for the day, but helps you focus, plan your day and gives you good vibes and energy.
Planning for morning meditation can be many things for different people. Some wake up before sunrise, read their bibles or a personal development book, take notes, and pray. Some listen to motivational speeches during their morning commute. Some people wake up to jog or yoga. Others just need a moment to themselves.
My advice is to find what makes you happy. What gives you a fresh, clear perspective and what puts you in an awesome mood.
My desired morning meditation is to wake up early enough to read a few chapters from my Bible, write out a prayer or my thoughts and ask God to bless my day with productivity and positive energy. I also have a “Motivation” playlist that pumps me up during my 45-minute morning drive. It’s a mixture of songs that either are motivational or just make me feel good. I also listen to podcasts once I get to work. It’s usually a sermon from TD Jakes, Joyce Meyers, or Steven Furtick.
Now ask me how many times a week I actually practice this regime?
Fortunately, the motivation playlist and the podcast are easily done since driving to work and actually being at work are inevitable. However, the first part of my desired morning motivation seems to be replaced most mornings with me waking up ten minutes before I need to leave the house to avoid being late. That quiet time with God is often replaced by a rushed prayer while trying to wash my face and tame my curls.
I don’t sleep well at night. I take naps during the day once I get home from work and my alarm clock never wins the fight. If you are like me, morning meditation can often be missed, but when I’m able to be a grown up and stick to my schedule, the results of morning meditation are amazing.
I get to work with a more positive attitude. Even if it is not where I want to be, I realize the blessing God gave me in the form of steady income and I treat my job like the blessing that it is. It helps me focus because it takes away the stress of worrying about my day. During my prayer, I ask God to direct my day as He sees fit. Nothing else for me to worry about after that.
This is an area of opportunity for me. Recently, I did an experiment to make a conscious effort to be on time for every obligation I had for seven days. My next area of opportunity to focus on will be getting to bed at a decent hour in order to make sure morning meditation does not get lost in dream land.
I am an author, I have an independent publishing company and I am an itWorks distributor. All of these titles are outside of my full-time job. There is always something to do.
Making goals and setting deadlines helps me plan for each business and what needs to be done to progress to the next level. If I am not able to do any other business while I am at work, I can at least plan a to-do list so that when I get home, I have a game plan so time will not be wasted.
Your to-do list does not have to be strenuous. Sometimes there are big tasks like finding an editor for a manuscript or implementing a marketing plan for a new product or book. Other times it’s simply reaching out to readers for reviews or writing a chapter on the next book.
These lists help me feel less like a paper pusher and more like an entrepreneur who is working towards her freedom. That perspective helps me get through my day.
I understand there are some jobs where breaks are a dream. A day at work can be very busy and before you know it, you’ve worked 7 hours without a break and going to lunch late.
I get it, but it’s not healthy. Legally, a job cannot deny you a break, so use your break wisely. 15 minutes to recharge may not seem like a lot, but it can be very effective. Just being able to take a breath and shut your mind off for a few minutes can give you new perspective or relieve stress. Going to your car and closing your eyes (or replaying your morning motivation playlist) can improve your mood.
It doesn’t have to be strategic or very thought out, just use your break to center yourself.
Leave work at work
I try not think about my full-time job when I go home. I may vent about something that happened, but I do not spend my evenings trying to solve work issues or think of things I need to do once I get there the next day.
My evenings are my time.
Whether or not I have a list of things to do for my other businesses, my evenings belong to me and not corporate America. So many people take work home with them and I don’t just mean literally. Leave your irritation for work at work, do not bring your feelings of neglect or lack of recognition that you feel home with you. You may have a job that requires you to work at home, but you need a moment to destress and separate the two.
A work life balance is very important. Merging the two will often cause unnecessary stress and mistakes that could be avoidable if you practice time management and prioritize your day.
A bonus to this list is optional, because not everyone has an assigned work area, cubicle, or office. Paying attention to the ambience or decor of your area can also help improve your mood. Just like the black and white picture, a plain and cold cubicle can suck the life right out of you.
Pinterest is full of ideas on how to jazz of your workspace to get a more creative and productive vibe. I don’t have much in my cubicle at the moment except for a quote, a prayer and a family picture, but I kept my desk clean and organized. This helps me think clearly and remain focused. I also have flowers on my desk and although I prefer real ones from the fake ones, the visual provides a little sunshine.
Others go beyond a few pictures and fully decorate their workspaces. Whatever works for you (and your job) is great addition.
Of course, this list isn’t comprehensive. There are so many things you can do so that you don’t die in your cubicle. The point is to be active in your progression. So many of us get caught up in complaining, but God didn’t bless us with talents to feel deserving. He blessed us with talents to put work in. My talent will not lie dormant just because I am not doing what I thought I would be doing at this age.
So while you are in your cubicle, don’t play the waiting game. Get active and show your faith. Don’t plan your funeral just yet, you still have some work to do.
Let’s talk! What ways have you added a little life to your “dead end” 9 to 5?