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Why Doing Work You Don’t Enjoy Can Be Hurting You More Than You Think

When you’re building a business you’ll continually need to balance your passions against practical means of keeping the lights on.

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BY Jordan Scheltgen - 14 Feb 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

When you start your business, it'll be easy to be pulled in the direction of the next paying customer. You might have a grand vision for your company, but you've also got bills to pay in front of you.

Balancing practicality and passion while building a business is no small task. When you launch, your number one priority is generating revenue. It's not uncommon for early-stage entrepreneurs to take on work they don't enjoy or that is outside of where they want their business to be, just to keep the lights on.

However, as your business grows and you fine-tune your product offering and figure out what you want to be doing, you need to shift more towards your passion.

If I rewind the clock to when I launched my content marketing agency, I took on clients from any industry, often for not much money and that demanded a lot of my time. This is what was needed at the time.

As we grew and got more and more clients, we fired some of our high pain, low-profit clients. This decision was easy.

But recently, we had a much harder decision to make. Let me explain.

Last month we made it to the final stages of pitching a Fortune 500 company. If we landed the contract, it would have been worth hundreds of thousands to our bottom line annually. There was only one issue: it was for work we could do not that we wanted to do.

Landing this contract would have been very financially lucrative, but it would have led us away from the work we enjoy and ultimate vision I have for our company.

I withdrew us from consideration.

This might seem crazy, but there is no dollar amount that should grip you to do work you don't enjoy. Especially when you have the opportunity to do work you love. Basically, once you've got enough cash flow to keep the lights on, and a steady growth rate, money should follow your passions not dictate them.

Here is why you shouldn't do work you don't enjoy.

1.Your work will be uninspired.

If you don't like the work you're doing, undoubtedly the quality of your work is going to suffer. A study from the University of Warwick shows that if you're happy at work you're 12 percent more productive. Plain and simple, if you enjoy the work you do the better work you will do.

2. Your health will suffer.

Your business is part of your life, not your entire life. With that in mind, if you're doing work you don't enjoy your stress levels will increase. Stress has been shown to have many negative health effects from heart disease to depression and anxiety.

There is no financial number that should cause you to sacrifice your peace of mind and overall health.

3. You'll be taking time away from doing work you actually enjoy.

Saying no to something you don't want to do can open up your time towards things you actually do want to do.

This can be thought about with the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. The Pareto Principle is that 20 percent of the work is responsible for 80 percent of the results in your life. This can go towards the work you do daily or headaches in your life. If you look at your current situation, chances are 20 percent of your work is causing 80 percent of your headaches.

Cut these from your life and you'll open up more time to put towards work you enjoy.

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