Presence over Perfection; How to Enjoy Your Work, When You’d Rather Be Doing Something Else


There is nothing worse than the dreadful feeling of having to go to work when you hate what you do. Even if you like your job, perhaps you know what it feels like to be grinding it out at the office, when you’d rather be at home with your family, working on your passion project, or spending time doing something for your own health or wellness.

It’s not easy to stay focus and engaged in your work when your hearts not into it. In fact, it’s difficult to stay focused on anything that you don’t care about!

Let’s assume that if you hate your job and are miserable every day, that you’re working hard on getting out of there, and fast! There is no reason to stay in a career field that makes you cringe, or at a job that brings you down.

If you need help finding your dream career, check out this article, 5 Tips When Pursuing Your Dream Career.

Assuming that you’re good with your job, but like many of us, you often spend time distracted at work, thinking of all the other things you could be doing with that time, then I have some advice for you.

Practice Presence over Perfection.

This simply means accept where you are and be grateful for each moment.

Getting more present and less perfect will help you be more productive and satisfied.

This can be hard to do, right? My family and I recently moved into an old farm house that’s undergoing a complete renovation. We’ve been in the process of turning a run down and long neglected house into a home.

It’s far from perfect right now.

There is exposed insulation, open walls, construction dust, and chaos. Nearly all of our possessions are being stored in boxes in our barns. We’re using our kid’s old playroom furniture and some lamps the previous owners left behind to create a makeshift family room. The kitchen is a combination of old dressers and bookshelves which make up the countertops. Less than perfect, to say the least!

I’ve had to practice acceptance of this living situation so that I can enjoy the home and our life, the way it is right now. This is a great challenge for me!

But it’s got me thinking…. As I’ve begun to accept this unfinished home in its current state, I’ve felt a greater sense of satisfaction. I’ve been able to invite new friends over for a visit, live comfortably in the chaos, and feel grateful for each tiny step along the way. It really is a game changer, and I think that the same results can be achieved by accepting where we are in our careers.

Here are 3 reasons to be more present and less perfect at work and in life…

Improved Social Skills

Living in the now, being more present and focusing on the moment, situation or experience that you are currently experiencing is one of the greatest ways to improve your social and professional communications skills.

Why? Because when you’re present in a conversation with a colleague you are no longer thinking of past scenarios (What did he mean when he said that?) or future scenarios (What am I supposed to say next?). This eliminates fake and measured conversations and allows you to become more confident and authentic. When we’re more confident everyone benefits. We make the person we are speaking with feel important and the conversation by default becomes more meaningful.

While you are at work, you might as well be all in and fully present with the people you communicate with. Speak with people in a way that makes both you and them feel important and engaged

Relieve Stress

There is nothing more stressful than worry. Worrying about the past (the things you’ve done or not done) and worrying about the future (all the things you have to do or the things that may or may not happen).

Worry is one of the most stressful emotions that humans experience and it’s completely self-inflicted and unnecessary!

Worrying about work creates stress that bleeds over into our personal lives and by nature stress has absolutely nothing to do with the present moment. It’s almost impossible to worry in the now.

I recently heard an expert on the subject of living in the now and the power of being present speak on the topic of worry. Eckhart Tolle, said this to a man that was explaining how much stress and worry he was experiencing about paying his bills, “You have to pay your bills, but you don’t have to worry about paying your bills.” This resonated with me. Yes, the bills need to get paid, the job needs to get done, the work is there and it’s real, but we don’t have to worry about it.

This simple shift of mindset can take you from stress into action. Things need to get done, so come up with a plan and take action. Worrying contributes nothing to solving your problem or advancing your life or career.

See the world more clearly

The more present we are the more extraordinary the world becomes. I know it may sound a little woo woo to some of you, but it's true!

When you slow down and focus on your current situation, the people you’re communicating with and the tasks or work that you’re doing, you will see the wonder in what’s around you and who you’re with.

Our everyday technology is reviled as the marvel that it truly is. You see the aliveness in nature and in people. Things that seem boring or mundane become fascinating and more easily appreciated.

Becoming more present helps us remove judgment and gain an appreciation for where we are right this very moment.

I mentioned the renovations that we are working through at my home. I’ve seen how my desire for a finished product may be affecting my family. Recently my husband and I were talking about some of the things we were planning for the house (as we so often do)  and my oldest son looked up from his lego project and said, “This house is going to be great when it’s done isn’t it.” It struck me because I saw that he had no appreciation for the greatness that the house already was! He didn’t appreciate that it was warm and safe and dry. He wasn’t focused on the rooms we have completed and painted, or the new swing we’ve hung in the yard for him and his siblings, or the fire pit we’ve already built for roasting marshmallows.  

Just like I had been doing, he was looking only toward the future and not living in the present moment, constantly longing for the “perfection” of the finished product. Picking paint colors, counter surfaces and lighting fixtures with a vision in mind of what will be, rather than what already is.

Are you doing this to yourself every single day at work?  Are you forgetting to be grateful for the job that provides for you, for the skills you’re learning, for the people you’re connecting with, for the opportunity that is right in front of you today?

If so, you are not alone. And I hope this article helps you gain some perspective and appreciation for how good you may actually have it, today, right now.

Thanks for reading.