When You Feel Like Your Hard Work Isn’t Paying Off

Coffee table setting with motivation quote "if you want something you've never had then you've got to do something you've never done"

It’s just not working….

We all go through points in our life when we feel like we’re putting our all into something but just not reaping the rewards of our hard work.  Yet we look around us and we’re made to feel like the very things we are striving for, others are doing with ease.  Instant access to what others are up to via social media only adds to that feeling of lack.

Whether it’s moving up the career ladder, relationships, blogging goals or the more personal life goals, we’ve all got something we’re working at and often it’s multiple things at once.  But without something tangible to demonstrate our success, like that promotion with the new title and salary to match, collaborating with brands or thousands of Instagram followers, we can be left questioning whether we are on the right path.

I’m generally a positive person, but even I go through moments when I feel like it’s a constant uphill struggle.  A few years ago, I would have stayed in that state of mind for longer but luckily with age comes wisdom.  I’ve found ways to manage my feelings better, put things into perspective and question whether I could do things differently.

So if you feel like your hard work isn’t paying off, I’ve got some tips and advice as well as the questions you should be asking yourself to help get you out of that emotional rut.

Coffe table setting with quote card "smile, breathe and go slowly"

1.

Take A Break

How often do you hear these words, but do you actually take heed? Sometimes we become so engrossed in what we are doing that we start to lose focus.  This can result in feeling overwhelmed.

But taking a timeout makes us feel guilty; like we are going to miss out on something vital if we actually take care of ourselves.  The truth is we won’t.

Whether it’s for a couple of hours, a day, or longer, taking a break helps clear the mind, gets you back in touch with what really matters and will give you a new source of inspiration.

It can also give us the opportunity to see something from a different angle. However, if we don’t step away from a situation, even just for a little while, our judgment becomes clouded and we are unable to find the answers that are often right in front of us.

2.

Work Smarter, Not Harder 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “hard work always pays off.”  Well….not always.  It is important but sometimes we equate hard work to working long hours or tirelessly pursuing something, but being open to finding new and better ways of working is just as important.

Think outside the box and look beyond your current circumstances. Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely of sources but we need to take the time to identify who and what that might be.  By networking, researching and constantly learning we can open up other possibilities and ways of working that most often than not will have us saying “why didn’t I think of this before?”

It’s also important to take a rounded approach to everything you do.  Write down all the tasks involved in what it is you are working towards, prioritise them and then make sure you dedicate some time to them.  For example, if it was up to me, I would just spend most of my time taking photos for my blog but that’s not going to get me anywhere.  Equally important, however, is promoting my posts on social media, connecting with other bloggers and reading and commenting on other blogs.  It will vary for different people but you can apply this concept to pretty much everything.

Coffe table with scarf and quote card reading "you'll never find a rainbow if you are looking down"

3. 

You’ll Never Find A Rainbow If You’re Looking Down

Sure, we may not be where we want to be, but there is always something that is going right.  However, if we convince ourselves otherwise then that becomes our reality.  I know sometimes it’s easier said than done, but it’s important to keep a positive attitude.

To do so we need to appreciate the journey and not just wait for that end goal before we feel like we have accomplished something.  The reality is that we’ll always be striving for more so if we don’t appreciate and celebrate even the smallest of achievements along the way, we will never be satisfied.

4. 

Remember When It Was Even Harder

We become so consumed in our present struggles that we often forget what it was like before.  Using our past as a means to reflect is always a good idea.  It’s a bit like remembering when you had zero followers on Instagram!  Yet we so easily forget about those things because we are constantly on the look out for more.

Try to make it a point to jot down your progress that way when you look back on it you’ll realise how far you have actually come.  And remember, everyone has to start somewhere.

Coffee table setting with motivation quote "if you want something you've never had then you've got to do something you've never done"

5.

It Wasn’t Meant to Be Easy

Who said it was easy?  It’s important not to believe everything you see and hear on social media or even within your circle of friends.  Some people make out like they have it all or it could just be that is how you perceive it.  The truth is everything in life comes at a price.  Everyone is on their own personal journey and we all work hard in different ways; that doesn’t mean it’s any easier than it is for the next person.

In fact, when things are going too well, I start to worry about what’s going to go wrong.  I don’t think you should live your life that way, but it should never be a breeze either.

6.

Do You Really Want This?

We can become heavily invested in our goals that we don’t realise it’s not for us anymore.  Rather than acknowledge this we carry on working tirelessly at something and then wonder why the hard work isn’t paying off.

This will always be a difficult one because it takes a lot of soul searching to figure out whether we carry on or move on to something else instead.  You don’t have to give up entirely but make sure you are listening to your intuition, evaluate your goals regularly and ensure sure they are in line with your needs.

Coffee table setting with motivation quote "it's a new day"

7.

Maybe It’s Just not the Right Time

I used to be a “it’s now or never” kind of person.  However, I’ve learnt the hard way that putting that kind of pressure on yourself is unnecessary.  Things that I thought I wanted but never got, I now realise weren’t good for me in the first place.  Equally, there is no such thing as never, sometimes you just have to wait your turn when the time is right.

Often there are bigger things at play that are beyond our control.  You need to remember that nearly everything we do is linked to a number of other factors and people.  So many times things get put on hold because other people have their own set of priorities and your now is their later.  Don’t take it personally and accept that these things happen. Instead, use your time more effectively and focus on other tasks.  This way the waiting game will be easier to deal with.

So to sum up…..

It’s perfectly natural to feel like you are just not getting anywhere.  The important thing is to make sure you don’t stay in that state of mind.  Instead fuel that negative energy into something more positive and learn to use it to motivate you even more.  You will never escape having to work hard but it should never be soul destroying or making you miserable every day.  Your heart needs to be in it as only then will you be open to seeing how far you have come.

I hope you found this post useful and I’d love to hear your thoughts x.

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  • Some great advice that’s for sure, I certainly feel if you’re not feeling things it’s important to take a break, refresh and re-approach. It’s important to stay unique and true to yourself, never copy and be original 🙂

    Laura xo
    http://www.shehearts.net

  • No worries, glad you liked it x

  • Ah fantastic, thanks for reading x

  • I agree. Comparison is the thief of joy and best to focus on yourself x

  • I’m glad you found this useful x

  • Yes I love that quote too x

  • clare⭐

    taking a break is the best thing to do! lovely read

    claresloves.blogspot.com

  • Wow, this is totally what I needed right now! I’m feeling so stuck and lost with Instagram/blogging right now… Thanks for writing such a great post 🙂

    A xx
    alexisadrienne.net

  • This is such an awesome and relatable post babe. I always find that taking a break definitely helps to restore my energy and motivation!
    x Rubi
    Pose & Repeat

  • What a nice read, and I completely agree with you dear, especially on your 1st and 2nd points. Indeed, when you feel like you’re working so hard and still not getting an anything, maybe it’s time to take a step back, have a breather, and take a look at your work through a bigger perspective and see the whole picture. You’ll realize you have come a long way. And yes, it’s important that we work smarter with our energy and time.

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

    • Thank you Jessica, I’m glad you agree with my advice. Often we have come far but because we are constantly comparing to others it can feel like we haven’t x

  • I absolutely loved reading this! I especially love ‘work smarter, not harder’ and ‘remember when it was even harder’. Whenever I have a day where I feel like I’m getting nowhere, in whatever aspect of my life, I remind myself of all the things I’ve already accomplished and how much better off I am now than I once was! Such a good post and you have a lovely blog <3 xxx
    http://www.samanthafrances.co.uk

    • Thanks so much Samantha. It’s amazing how we forget these things because we just keep looking for bigger and better. Often we already have everything we need x

  • I feel like I really needed to read this post as I’ve been feeling a bit down recently about my career. I definitely agree that taking a break is one of the best things you can do though!

    The Makeup Directory

    • Hope you feel better and glad you found this useful. I think we all question things from time to time but yes taking a break is so important x

  • Missy May

    The important thing is not to stay in that frame of mind. I so agree with that. It is all in the mind isn’t it? Thanks for reminding us.
    Sometimes I wish I knew this from birth, I wouldn’t have gone through all that nonsense in life. But yeah using that as a motivation.

    https://www.missymayification.co.uk

  • What a great post!! Agree with so much of it! Especially taking a break to stop you feeling overwhelmed! Xx

    Little Luxuries By Lynsey

  • The Sunday Mode

    I think looking back is a great thing to do, and something I don’t really naturally tend to do too often. I can get swept up in being quite hard on myself but I think it’s so important to remind myself of how far I’ve come as well 🙂

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

  • Caitlin

    I think it’s a great idea to think about your past struggles and how far you’ve come, great to put things into perspective xx

    Beauty & Colour | Vegan Lifestyle Blog

  • This is a beautifully written post and I wholeheartedly agree about taking a break when feeling burnt out. I do with blogging and you’re right, it’s not meant to be easy!

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

  • Yes taking break should never be underestimated x

  • Great I’m glad you enjoyed it xx

  • Yes definitely x

  • Yes it’s so important x

  • Definitely. We always need to go back to why we started it in the first place. But totally get you on it being frustrating x

  • That is so true. You have to focus on yourself x

  • Yiotou_La

    Hard work pays off but in my case, I see that opportunities come my way when I stop stressing about it and take it slower. It actually happened last year, I was so stressed for not getting anywhere and not having the same opportunities as others that started when I started and when I stopped stressing about it and took one step at a time, I saw a huge difference in me and also the opportunities and work I was being offered!

    Yiota
    pinkdaisyloves.blogspot.com

  • Great post! I definitely believe in taking a break and also checking in with yourself to see if it’s still something you want to see if your goal has changed! xx

    Beautylymin