Do You Work Hard?

Social media has grated each of us the ability to become the centre of the universe. So much so that we can convince ourselves that we are the centre of the attention. It’s easy to imagine that events in the world happen to just you, when in actually happens to everyone. You are not the only conscious being with a life of complex thoughts and obscurities. This is referred to as ‘sonder’ – the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

When you have goals and ambitions with your life or career, you can easily get into your own bubble, unaware of other people efforts to drive their own goals and ambitions, so much that you think your working so hard that it emanates off you and people notice it straight away. They don’t. Your audience, and future audience don’t see the posts on your social media page and automatically assume they know you’re working hard to produce that. But like everything, it’s only the end product they see, not years of learning that skill before the hours of practice before the hard work that was put into that product or piece of work.

But yet, you think you deserve glory for the hours you put in, because they are your hours, you made the sacrifices, your learning the skill, spending time to become better at what you do, learn new things to help you boost your brand/platform/business.

Nobody cares because everyone has their own struggles and everyone’s situation is different.

There is a false ideology in our society that hard work equals the best results, when in fact this isn’t the case. We confuse the idea of exerting effort with a sense of self-achievement. That we deserve something for working so hard at something we may or may not what to be doing. It’s easy to kick back after a work day and think that the work you committed that day actually meant something, because you worked so hard, right? If you’re working hard at the wrong things then that may be time and effort wasted.

Instead of consorting with the idea that the effort you put in today made a difference. Take a step back from your work, analyse what you actually completed, what you wanted to get done. Did you complete a new piece of artwork, did you write a new blog post, produce a video, edit your latest photos or practice your lettering? You know what is most important thing is to your work life, so don’t give yourself a pat on the back if you spent 8 hours responding to emails, taking calls, reading articles.

Congratulate yourself if you spend 2 hours of focussed time in your day to create something valuable that means something to you. Those 2 hours are the most rewarding, in terms of fulfilment.

I would rather spend 2 hours of focussed time to concentrate on completing the most important task, than spend 8 hours completing menial tasks. Of course menial tasks have to be done in any environment whether you are a freelancer, a small business owner, or entrepreneur. Ask yourself; How would you feel at the end of a working day if you didn’t focus your time to get your most important task done?

This is why we punish ourselves for taking a break. When really, breaks are an important process to a creative’s work, which I mentioned before. Because we aren’t working we feel as though we haven’t completed anything. But have you really completed anything by doing menial tasks and never addressed the important task, the reason you showed up today? Which is a topic for a whole other blog post about procrastination and why we put off the work we are meant to be doing.

Don’t confuse the feeling of exertion with the reality of results you produce.

What I mean by this statement is; I’m a lettering artist by trade, which is also my brand. I place importance on whether or not I created new artwork or content (whether for clients or personal projects) that day. At the end of each day, I ask myself; Did I actually create valuable content related to lettering or my brand today? This should be the question you ask yourself too, for whatever industry or field you work in.

This harkens back to prioritising your work based on what the most important thing to do first is. Like I always say, make a task list the night before. When you wake up, you don’t have to burn valuable thinking time to what you’re going to do next. You wake up and you do it.

The important thing is, this is your list. Not anyone else.

Nobody cares about your list, they have their own priorities in different aspects of their life, and not just in their work life. People priorities things based on its importance to them. Everybody has a different situation.

Don’t beat yourself up if nobody cared when you posted that you put in 11 hours to create a new blog post, designed some icons, ticked 3 things off your list, did a workout, and went for lunch with a friend that day.

The only thing people care about is what value you have to offer them. It doesn’t matter to them how much effort and hard work went into creating it.

This is why you work hard behind closed doors, you love what you do and you have a passion for it. You can show your work behind those closed doors, this is what social media has allowed us all access to. More than ever, people are getting to see behind the scenes work of our favourite artists thanks to social media. But don’t expect your what you perceive as hard work to be lapped up and appreciated by people who see it.

Don’t fall into a false sense of self-satisfaction for the effort you exuded this day. People don’t care how hard you worked to create something, all they care about is how much they value the work itself. How can it change their life and what it can do for them.

Produce valuable content that matters. Work at something without the promise of a reward.