Proven strategies to maximize your life through your work
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Proven strategies to maximize your life through your work

Work offers significant benefits to those who engage in it, yet many employees fail to realize these advantages.

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As mentioned in my previous article, the five critical benefits work provides are an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to society, build meaningful relationships, earn money for living, achieve mastery and self-development, and improve overall well-being. 

Unfortunately, only a few employees retire from work with all these five benefits. Gallup reports that 50% of employees are not engaged. While young people are "quiet quitting", older individuals dream of early retirement. 

When workers were asked to choose between “working a long time at a fulfilling job” or “retiring early" in a survey, only 34% chose the former. These trends underscore the need for a clear strategy to amplify the rewards from work and enjoy a fulfilling life.

The need for planning

Despite spending a significant portion of our lives working, many employees lack a clear strategy for their work life. Being committed and dedicated to your work is necessary, but it is not enough to have a fulfilling life. 

One must have a strategy to thrive. Reflecting on and articulating what you want from work and how to achieve that throughout your career is crucial for the following reasons:

Not all work is created equal    

The potential benefits of work can vary significantly between different professions. 

For example, while the economic benefit in the arts profession is in the hands of a few top artists, teachers often experience more evenly distributed financial benefits. 

Additionally, certain professions, like those in the care and support sectors, offer intrinsic rewards such as meaning and fulfilment more readily than others. 

Given that one needs all the benefits from work to enjoy life over time, employees must seek other benefits and not over-rely on the available benefits inherent in their current jobs. 

The benefits from work do not simply accrue because one shows up to work.              

Workers who are satisfied with their careers often put in considerable effort to realize the full benefits of work. Our working lives evolve over decades, involving changes in jobs, careers, and skill sets. 

Making meaningful progress requires a careful investment of time and effort. Showing up, being "nice", and putting your head down to work is necessary, but you must lift your head to see how your portfolio of work evolves. 

Periodically reassessing and ensuring that your work aligns with your objectives and provides all the benefits you seek from work yields significant benefits over time.

Work maximization strategies

To maximize the benefits of work, you must design unique strategies that address each aspect of work. Here are four strategies one can adopt to maximize the overall benefits of work:

1. Actively seek the totality of benefits work offers

Aim to achieve a reasonable measure of all five critical benefits over time. Pursuing work solely for financial gain or contribution can lead to dissatisfaction. 

Many individuals have spent decades in work that they found fulfilling, only to retire and not have enough resources to meet their life needs. 

Accept that it is possible to achieve all the five benefits of work over your working life and seek to attain a balanced level of satisfaction from each benefit. 

You may not be able to achieve all the benefits from one job at a particular point in them, but it is possible over a working life. 

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2. Embrace the constraints and work to resolve  them

Achieving all the benefits of work is challenging and fraught with constraints, even though it is not impossible. Your current job may not provide a living wage or opportunities for mastery. 

Embrace these constraints as challenges to overcome. Accept that your work will evolve and actively seek ways to improve each of the five critical benefits of your working life.

3. Take a long-term outlook    

Keeping a long-term outlook is crucial for success, considering most people work for several decades. Our current work is the foundation for future achievements, including meaningful relationships and financial stability that allows for personal and professional development. 

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Focus not only on what work offers today but also on how the rewards from wok today can fuel future opportunities.

4. Consider the stage of your life propose dividing your working life into five decade

In the first decade, the focus must be on building mastery and meaningful relationships. 

As you transition to the next decade, you can focus on realising value from the valuable skills and relationships developed. Each subsequent decade should build on earlier foundations, with appropriate attention tailored to your evolving needs and life goals. 

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The framework below illustrates this staged approach to making the most out of work. 

By implementing these strategies, you can enjoy all the benefits of work offers and lead a fulfilling life. Work should not be merely a means to an end but a rich and rewarding part of your life journey.

Be of good cheer!

The writer is a Leadership Development Facilitator, Executive Coach and Strategy Consultant, Founder of the CEO Accelerator Program (https://ceoacceleratorprogram.org) and Chief Learning Strategist at TEMPLE Advisory (www.thelearningtemple.com). 

The mission of The Leadership Project is to harvest highly effective leadership practices and share them in a manner that other leaders can easily incorporate into their leadership practice. 

If you have an idea or leadership practice to share, kindly write to [email protected]. Until you read from us again, keep leading.... from leader to leader, one practice at a time.

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