Punctuate Your Day

Punctuate Your Day

Your day is made up of many hours, minutes and seconds. One second ticks into another; one minute turns into another; and one hour falls into another. So life goes on: ticking, turning, falling, ticking, turning, falling… until it’s the end of the day….again.

If you find that you’ve been watching the clock tick away, and you’re counting down the ticks and turns, you’re in the wrong place my friend. Life is too short to waste time doing something you don’t enjoy. You may know this already, and have been complaining of this fact for some time. But perhaps for whatever reason (and it’s not cowardice, fear or lack of hunger) it’s currently impossible to move on. If this is the case, this blog is for you, as to how you can keep your sanity, when you want to be moving on.

When you are trapped in work you hate, don’t let it control you. Instead shape it as much as you can, and you may be surprised that it could actually bring you life.

Punctuate your day with seeds of hope.

You don’t want to take your work sentence lying down, cooped up and boxed in. Imagine and start sowing seeds of hope: what could the future look like? Smell it, taste it, visualise and sense it. Because that is what you want to head towards. As you get a taste of something new, and the taste of life is good, you’ll find a greater incentive to make more space for what is to come. But you wont get there without thinking ahead.

Punctuate your day with times to think.

There are some easy, obvious ways for you to develop your thinking, whilst you’re stuck in a job you hate. You may not get sent on training that is relevant to your future, so take on the responsibility for your own thinking. Download podcasts, e-books, seminars, lectures and get them lined up on your smart phone. If you don’t have a smart phone, get one. If you can’t afford it, save up until you can. In that little world of plastic and glass it will open up lots of other thinking to you with minimal cost. iTunes University is especially good.

When you travel to work, listen and learn. Allow the messages to motivate you, to teach you, to inspire you. Don’t put off learning ‘til you think you are in a place where you have more time to fit it in. Make learning a priority and your time will change shape.

Punctuate your day by avoiding energy drainers.

Don’t fight the small things. Emotional energy can be caught up in things that do not matter: the gossip in the office, the failings of the managers, the nightmare of the staff, the unsatisfied client. When staff get drawn out for a coffee and slagging session, keep a wide berth. Don’t get drawn into the areas that will gobble up your emotional energy. You have a limited amount of energy so invest it in the areas that will produce the most life.

Punctuate your day with the right people.

Equally don’t be a loner, but mix with the right people. Be wise about the company you keep. Some people are good to be around; some people are bad to be around. Most people, one way or another, leave an impact on us. That impact may last a second in an inconsequential, insignificant way, or it could last for years in a much more dramatic manner.

Be surrounded by people who will leave a good impact. Seek them out, court them, support and serve them in their own visions. When good people receive from others, they are only too happy to give back in return. They live in a world that is bigger than themselves. So many doors are opened as a result of who you know and not what you know; so get known by the right people.

Punctuate your day with a balanced outlook.

Balance. If you are in a job you hate, it’s easy to feel trapped with a continual desire to move on. Financial resources, legal responsibilities, sickness or immoveable obstacles may require you to stay in that job longer than you like. Be balanced about the amount that you’re prepared to give out. Some people and environments can steal the best of your energies. They can bleed you dry- expecting more and more but giving far less. There’s always more that they’ll be willing to take, if you offer it up to them. So don’t.

Instead prioritise those areas in your life which need more attention. Your emotional and spiritual health and your relationships always benefit from being a central focus. Invest in the hobbies and interests that bring you life, the families and loved ones around you. Do your job and do it well, but remember it might not be the season to bust a gut, going completely above and beyond on something which has no life in the future.

Punctuate your day by being intentional.

It’s one thing to read and to listen to podcasts but it’s important that you’re intentional with your learning. If you read about time saving devices, implement them. If you read about better ways to communicate, implement them. If you read about ways to negotiate, persuade, listen, deliver, strategise, brainstorm, lead and facilitate then implement these approaches. Even in confined prison-like spaces, greatness can be achieved.  It’s often in the frustration of the confined space that the character is formed to flourish when the walls are taken down.

Punctuate your day by planning tomorrow.

Know when to plan your next move and plan it well. If now is not the time and you know that you know that you know there is a reason why you cannot move on, then stop torturing yourself by trying to and learn to be content in the present. If you are in prison for a ten-year sentence, you are unlikely to be in a situation where you can plan setting up a business in two years. If your wife is going through chemotherapy and the next 18 months are going to be critical you’ll have to pause your desires to be your own boss.

When the time is right make it happen. Being in a ‘prison’ or feeling trapped somehow sometimes happens for a reason, but often happens for a season. So learn the lessons you need to learn, and plan ahead. Plan diligently and with expertise. Look at the details and get the strategy and approach right. Communicate it to the people around you, and find those who are enthusiastic to help make it happen. You’ve had plenty of time to learn, to plan, to observe and to get it right. So take the plunge and don’t look back.

Don’t spend your life doing something that you hate. Don’t put yourself into an environment that doesn’t bring life. You can’t change it overnight but you can make sure that changes come about.

Punctuate your day with little steps in the right direction. Be reminded of your bigger picture- what you could be and what is to come. And before long you may realise that you’re a lot closer than you thought possible to realising your dreams.

  • Hilary Collard

    Behind everything you do, there’s a thought! So if you’re serious about changing your life, you must change how you think. That’s not easy, and it doesn’t happen instantly. It’s very difficult to change your life through willpower: “I’ll force myself to quit drinking/cheating/overeating”… and so on. Your willpower can only produce short-term change, but it creates constant stress because you haven’t dealt with the root cause and reprogrammed your mind. The change doesn’t feel natural so eventually you give up, revert to your old patterns and say, “I guess this is just the way I am. I’ll never change.” I had a conversation with a nurse who was going through my father’s pre-op questionnaire in hospital yesterday and we got onto the topic of giving up smoking. After many years of heavy smoking, my father told us that one evening he came home from the Conservative Club and decided he didn’t want to smoke anymore and he stopped, just like that. Change always begins in your mind! The way you think determines the way you feel, and way you feel determines the way you act.
    [Romans 12:2 NLT idea extracted from UCB’s The Word for Today]