Working in modern life can be difficult. Juggling multiple tasks, complex and competing demands, and limited resources can make achieving our goals seem almost impossible.
Whether you’re working at an office job, or trying to launch your own business, it’s very common to constantly feel behind and unproductive. When work gets hard, we just try to do the same things over and over but this just adds to the stress.
If this feels like a familiar pattern, you’re not alone. I used to feel like work was slowly killing me until I snapped and decided to fix it.
After researching, studying, and trying an ocean of tactics, I came up with these 17 Ways to Make Work Easier and More Enjoyable. It’s a practical, easy-to-follow guide that gives you the tools and tactics you need to work smarter, not harder.
Since implementing these tactics, my work has become an enjoyable outflow of energy. The stress and drag of daily tasks have almost completely evaporated.
So if you want to stop struggling and start thriving, let’s dive in.
What Makes Work Hard
Work is hard because of the internal and external factors in your life. These factors create friction between you and the immensely rewarding flow state that want to achieve.
Here are some examples of internal and external factors that can make your work harder:
- Internal Factors
- External Factors
Basically, to make your work feel less like gouging your eyeballs out and more like a nice massage, you want to mitigate the effects of these factors. What’s left is the blissful state of flowing from task to task, nowhere to be, nothing else to do, just pure contribution and engagement.
The following tips are all about how to make that state possible.
How to Make Work Easier
Work becomes easier when you eliminate the internal and external factors that are holding you back. Here are 17 practical ways to do just that
1. Outsource your work
The best way to make your work easier is to get someone else to do it. In Tim Ferris’s classic book, The Four Hour Work Week, he describes how to simplify your work by doing 3 main tasks:
If you can’t eliminate or delegate the task, you should immediately delegate it to someone else.
Over my years of digital marketing work, I have found great success by delegating work through outsourcing platforms. There are tons of online work marketplaces where you can post any remote job under the sun. No matter how big or how small, I promise you will find someone to do your work for you (and also at a good price).
2. Automate your work
The second of Tim Ferris’s groundbreaking ideas is to get computers to do your work and automate the process. Whenever I am working on something monotonous and repetitive, I instantly think, “How can I automate this process?”
A quick Google search for “how to automate x” can usually bring up some amazing tutorials on how to offload your boring work to a piece of software.
For example, this is how I learned to send personalized mass emails to prospects instead of writing each email manually.
Now, with the advent of AI, there is no excuse to slave away on dreary tasks when you could be doing something more productive (and more fun).
3. Find a better “why”
Everyone is working for some reason. At the end of the day, we all have to work for food and shelter. But beyond that, human beings have deeper motivations.
- Some are working to keep up with the Joneses.
- Others are working to support their families.
- Some people are just stuck in comfortable patterns because “thats all they know”
At the end of the day, we are all working to fulfill a need. Needs are a result of being alive. Therefore, the degree to which we are fulfilling our needs will determine the level of meaning we give to our work.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs illustrates the degree to which we are being fulfilled. At the bottom are physiological needs and at the top are self-actualization needs.
So if you are pounding your head against the wall at work to make food to eat, you won’t be that motivated or want to work very much.
On the contrary, if you are working on a deeply fulfilling project to achieve your potential, work will take on a whole new meaning.
When work gets hard, ask yourself “why am I doing this?” If the answer is not something like “to achieve my potential’ or “to leave a legacy”, it might be time to find another job – one that fulfills your higher needs.
4. Get good sleep
In a research review by sleepfoundation.org, they found that more than 1 third of americans are chronically sleep deprived. This means that they get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.
The sleepfoundation.org goes on to say that “Working while sleep deprived can leave people feeling more irritable, angry, and vulnerable to stress.”
So if you want to have a better time at work, get to bed on time!
While this seems like a simple task, it’s actually hard for many people to consistently hit their bedtime (myself included). Here are a few things that I do that massively impact the regularity with which I get to sleep on time:
- Put your phone away 30 min before bed – the blue light makes it hard to wind down. Stash your phone outside your room so you’re not tempted to look at it.
- Have a warm shower – the contrast between the warm shower and the cold bedroom tells your body it is time to go to sleep
- Blackout your room or use a sleep mask – a fully blacked-out room sets you up for a deep slumber
- Write out your tasks for the next day – taking the stress out of your head and putting it onto paper allows you to release the stressful charge surrounding it.
With a good night’s sleep, you will have more emotional bandwidth to face the challenges of work, which in turn, will make work seem “easier”.
5. Remove distractions
If you let yourself get distracted at work, you’re in for a bad time. There is a subconscious machine behind our conscious minds. Some estimates put the subconscious mind to be 95% of all mental activity.
Distractions cause incongruity between your thoughts and actions. So when we get distracted, the subconscious monkey brain running the show will start engaging with the distraction rather than the tasks at hand. Before you know it, your conscious brain has gone along for the ride and is no longer engaged with the task.
To get back on task, you have to use additional mental energy. Some research shows that it can take up to 23 minutes to get back on task after being distracted once.
That’s a lot of time and energy.
Distractions will chew up your useful energy and focus. You’ll feel exhausted at the end of the day and hardly get anything done.
One of the biggest distractions for desk workers is our phones. Many apps on our phones are designed to trigger our emotions (subconscious mind) and get us to pick up the phone and use the app. The book “Hooked” by Nir Eyal outlines how app designers intentionally build habit loops into their software. The basic framework is:
To counteract this powerful influence on the subconscious mind, build your own productive habits that influence you to stay on task and get back on task as soon as you become distracted. A great book that outlines how to build healthy habits is “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.
6. Attack problems head on
One of the best ways to hate work is by letting tasks pile up.
Don’t do this to yourself.
Instead, attack the problem head-on and don’t dwell on what’s to come.
I have found that there are two kinds of suffering at work – the discomfort of the work itself, and The anticipation of the task.
Some work is just not fun to do and there’s not much you can do to change this. But you can minimize the pain you put yourself through by dreading the inevitable.
Once you start embracing the task at hand and accepting the discomfort (even loving it), you can start to eliminate the dread, and work will seem much easier.
7. Meditate in the morning
Meditating in the morning will help your workday tremendously. Peak alpha wave brain state occurs in the first 20 minutes after waking up. This means that your brain is the most impressionable that it will be all day.
If you feed your brain negativity and dread, that messaging will sink into your subconscious mind and affect your mood throughout the day.
Conversely, if you engage in positive and affirming thoughts, this will set the tone for an inspired and productive day.
Meditating allows you to further disconnect your subconscious from the fleeting emotional signals that come from your thoughts and feelings. Therefore, if you meditate in peak alpha wave brain state, you create a window to feed your subconscious mind extremely powerful beliefs (while also disconnecting from negative beliefs).
I personally like to center my morning meditations around gratitude and self-acceptance, but you can program anything into your mind that you want!
8. Lower your expectations
Frustration typically arises from not meeting our expectations.
- The internet is slow – frustration.
- A client didn’t return the email – frustration.
- A coworker dropped the ball on an important project – frustration.
Therefore, if you want to minimize frustration from not meeting expectations, you can only do 2 things:
- meet your expectations more consistently
- lower your expecations
Consistently meeting your high expectations is great when it works out. Unfortunately, we don’t always have control over the circumstances that will lead to the desired outcome. In fact, there really isn’t much that we REALLY have control over.
Simply put, the only thing you can control is your thoughts, words, and actions -that’s it.
So the practice of lowering your expectations is not about lowering your own personal standards, it’s actually about releasing your need to control the uncontrollable.
The practice of maintaining your own standards while releasing the need to control the external world leads to a blissful state – one where you cannot be upset or ruffled by the way that others behave or other negative events.
9. Allocate more time to learning
Discomfort in work can arise in two different forms:
When you are anxious, this typically means that you have so much to do that you don’t know where to start.
Hopelessness arises from not knowing what to do next.
In this sense, I actually don’t mind the feeling of anxiety. Anxiety can actually be a helpful emotion that pushes you to complete tasks.
Hopelessness, on the contrary, freezes you – it demoralizes you and leads to inaction.
Learning eliminates the discomfort of hopelessness by illuminating a path forward.
So if you feel hopeless, stop spinning your wheels by doing more of the same things that aren’t working. Instead, spend more time looking for answers to your questions. Read books, join mastermind groups, read blogs like this one, and adopt a student’s mindset.
In the words of Albert Einstein: “Once you stop learning, you start dying”.
10. Draw boundaries with coworkers
Letting other people walk all over you is a sure way to have a bad time at work.
We’d like to think that being a team player means always helping teammates when they ask for it.
In reality, if you constantly help others at the expense of your own work and productivity, you will slowly build up resentment. This resentment leads to a breakdown of communication and teamwork over the long term.
By drawing boundaries, you communicate to coworkers that you have your own needs and goals and that their actions can affect those.
Setting expectations with teammates is key for a healthy work environment. It also serves as a good reminder for yourself: that you don’t have to say yes all the time.
11. Work on things you are interested in
An easy way to enjoy work immediately is to work on things you are interested in. Sure, sometimes there are just things that suck and have to get done. But the more you can follow your interests, the easier your work will become.
In fact, you may stumble upon a line of work that is so captivating that it won’t feel like work at all.
Start volunteering for projects that sound cool to you. Over time, you will establish a skillset and a track record of success in that domain. With enough success, people will only ask you to do interesting jobs because you are so good at them.
All of a sudden, you have your dream job and work will become effortless!
12. Remake broken processes
Broken processes can make work harder than it actually has to be. I define a broken process as one that adds unnecessary complexity or work to a task.
In the same way that not learning can lead to hopelessness, not improving on processes can lead to operational bloat and bureaucracy.
Needless to say, unnecessary rules stifle creativity and innovation. Before you know it, work can become a monotonous drag full of checkboxes and spreadsheets.
I recommend allocating time each week to work on improving processes. Always be asking yourself, “How can I make this process better?”. (See points #1 and #2 about outsourcing and automating your work). If the process can be eliminated altogether, even better!
Work should be as structured as it needs to be but no more. Constantly improving processes will lead to a blissful state of creativity, flow, and accomplishment.
13. Don’t take criticism personally
In work, there are two kinds of conflict – task conflict and interpersonal conflict. Task conflict involves disagreements about how a task should be completed. Interpersonal conflict involves friction between people that doesn’t involve work.
As it turns out, task conflict can actually be good for innovation and productivity.
Interpersonal conflict is a drain on the work environment.
The best way to avoid interpersonal conflict is to not take anything personally. Sometimes, tempers flare and things are said out of frustration and anger. Instead of engaging with this energy, detach from the emotional charge and refocus on the task at hand.
You’ll find that responding in an impersonal way will remove negative karma from your work relationships and you will have a much better time working with others.
14. Be proactive instead of reactive
Many people approach their work passively and suffer because of it. Passive workers will only do the minimum required work to keep the ball rolling forward. When issues arise, they scramble to patch them up, and then resort back to autopilot until the next catastrophic meltdown.
This kind of passivity leads to an inevitable buildup of issues that will stress you out, lead to unnecessary problems, and opens the door for others to take advantage of you.
Instead, adopt an aggressive stance towards your work. Always get in front of issues instead of letting them sneak up on you.
One of the best ways I have found for getting in front of issues is to imagine an ideal future state, and then determine what needs to get done to make it happen. Outline the steps needed to get from point A to point B, and then take consistent action until your goal is achieved.
Over time, you will spend most of your time building ideal future states instead of constantly “putting out fires”.
Work is a natural part of life, if you don’t take it on voluntarily, life will impose it on you.
15. Eat healthy brain food
One of the best ways to make work feel like a breeze is to increase your bandwidth for focus and productivity. Eating healthy brain food stimulates neurotransmitter systems in your brain and gives you the resiliency needed to take on tough mental projects.
Although this is a complex and constantly evolving field (one that can be studied for a lifetime) here are a few rules of thumb you can follow today:
Consume adequate macronutrients
Food is the building blocks of your cells, you need carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to live. Figure out your optimal balance of these and set a target to get the right amount every day.
Avoid inflammatory substances
Chronic inflammation is one of the most common contributors to slow and tired brain function. Inflammation in the brain can be caused by many foods, including processed carbohydrates, plastic contamination, and heavy metals. For an in-depth look at the causes and effects of chronic brain inflammation, check out the book “The Ultramind Solution” by Dr. Mark Hyman.
Drink lots of water
80% of your brain is made of water. When you become dehydrated, your brain starts to lose its ability to think clearly, remember information, and perform complex mental functions. In fact, studies show that you only need to be dehydrated by 1% to experience a 5% decrease in mental function. Consume at least 12 cups of water per day to maintain mental focus and clarity.
Neurotransmitter systems in your brain need the requisite building blocks of peptides, amines, and amino acids to maintain optimal function. You can get most of these from protein-rich and healthy fat-rich foods. However, you can also boost your neurotransmitters with supplementation. These supplements are commonly referred to as “nootropics”. For more info on using nootropics to boost neurotransmitter function, check out the Nootropic Republic website or The Nootropic Republic YouTube channel.
You are what you eat, so make sure you eat the right stuff!
16. Prioritize strength and posture
Working effectively requires mental and physical stamina. Anyone can work on something for an hour or two with little effort. But work becomes challenging when you get tired. This is where strength and posture come into play.
For many office and tech workers, we’d like to believe that we can “tough it out” and focus 100% of our effort on the mental side of things – working long hours in front of the computer screen indefinitely. In reality, we are all bound by the physical constraints of bodily needs.
Sitting in front of your computer for long periods without training will damage your body. The nasty effects of prolonged poor posture include things like back pain, spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration, rounded shoulders, and a potbelly.
In short, working in front of a computer will become painful if you don’t take care of yourself.
To counteract poor posture, you have to stretch regularly and build strength in the right areas.
One of the best strength and posture training programs that I have found is the Functional Patterns system. After experiencing work fatigue myself, I tried the intro-level program and was blown away. The system gets to the root cause of poor posture and provides actionable stretches and exercises to negate poor body mechanics immediately. I highly recommend checking it out.
Ultimately, the body and the mind are connected. So when you focus on one, the other benefits. Train strength and posture and watch your work life become effortless.
17. Structure your day for maximum effectiveness
Structuring your workday effectively is pivotal for high productivity and making work as easy as possible.
Begin by identifying your most productive hours, often referred to as your “peak hours”, and schedule your most challenging tasks for that window. Some people work better during the morning while others work better at night. Do a Chronotype test to find out your personal work preference.
Incorporate regular breaks into your schedule to avoid fatigue and maintain focus. Studies show that taking breaks decreases decision-making fatigue and increases job satisfaction.
Utilize techniques like the Pomodoro technique, where you work in bursts of intense focus followed by short breaks, to enhance productivity.
Lastly, always take care of the “human element” quickly. While you might be able to work long hours to catch up, you can’t control others. Leaving important emails and phone calls till the last minute will cause bottlenecks in your workflow and put you even further behind. Anticipate your communication tasks, get others involved, and then get your individual work done after.
There you have it, the ultimate guide to making your work life easier. Work is a part of life, and it gets uncomfortable and tiring. But with the proper approach, you can actually make work easy and enjoyable.
Just applying a few of these tips will immediately relieve the burden you might be feeling from work. I know that my work has definitely become easier because of it.
My goal is to help people build successful online businesses and making work easier is just the tip of the iceberg. So if you’re interested in learning how to build a successful online business yourself, be sure to check out other articles on the blog.