I recently started working at a coffee shop--a dream I’ve had since high school. Not only am I surrounded by the delicious smells and tastes of coffee all day, but I also get to chat with some interesting people. As each customer comes in and I make them a latte or pour them some coffee, I ask them how their day or week is going. The overwhelming response I’ve gotten from each and every person I’ve asked is something along the lines of, “Is it Friday yet?” “This day is so long.” or “I can’t wait for the week to be over.”
While I totally understand this thought process and have looked forward to the end of a particularly taxing day or week plenty of times before, it has me wondering if all this wishing and looking is good for us. If we are living each day counting down the hours until it’s over and counting the days until the weekend, are we actually living our day to day lives to the fullest? How can anyone complete present tasks and soak in the good bits of each day if we are putting so much energy into wishing the day was over?
Some people have no choice but to stay at a job they don’t like because of financial reasons or contracts, and that stinks, but if you’re spending your entire workday cursing everyone in the office and hating everything, you’re not going to do a good job. A string full of days you loathe doing a job you hate can add up to a string full of years being unhappy, and that’s not much of a life if you ask me.
You might not have your dream job or even a job you remotely enjoy, but you’re there for the time being whether you like it or not. You might as well make it as enjoyable as possible and do good work; otherwise, what is the point?
I propose that even in the shittiest of situations, one can focus on the goodness sprinkled throughout it to make each day grand. I haven’t read much about the concept and practice of “mindfulness,” but from the little I do know of it, I think this relates to it. If you do small tasks with great intent, you will find some sort of joy in it.
Maybe you work in an office and sit in a windowless cubicle all day typing away at your computer. Your co-workers constantly complain about their kids and spouses, and you spend each waking moment typing away until it’s time to go home, and then until it’s time for the weekend.
Instead of dreading each day, try focusing on the little things in your day you can be excited about or inspired by. Pack yourself your favorite food for lunch. Wear an accessory or color that makes you feel good. Get yourself a delicious coffee drink halfway through your day (I know a gal who could hook you up). Or maybe try talking to someone new at your office. These all seem like little things, but honestly, taking time to intentionally sprinkle some zest into your less than desirable day can help make each day a little more special and keep you a little more motivated to work hard.
I’m all for looking forward to the joys of doing nothing on a Saturday, or counting down to an exciting weekend trip, but I’m also for having things sprinkled in your weekdays to look forward to. We don’t all have to hate work just because that’s what tv and movies tell us we should do. You’re in control of your life (to some extent), and you are wholly in control of your attitude. Choose zest and make your Monday as special and cool as your Friday.