This post is by Ali Luke of Aliventures.
Maybe you’re working at a day job which isn’t really “you”. You’re doing it for the money, until something better comes along.
Or maybe you enjoy your work. You’re in a career you love, or you work for yourself. Even so, you still have days when you just want to stay in bed.
Even mundane, low-paid jobs have their good moments. It’s just a matter of finding them. So rather than daydreaming (yet again) about quitting, here are fifteen ways to enjoy your work a bit more.
Focus on you
If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’ll find your motivation dropping towards rock-bottom. Sometimes, enjoying your work means making sure that the rest of life is going strong.
- Get enough sleep. If you’re regularly feeling tired and groggy, you’ll be struggling to get through your work at all – let alone enjoy it. Try shutting down the computer at 9pm, and reading a book for the rest of the evening; you’ll find it much easier to drop off.
- Avoid excessive drinking. If you’re feeling bored or stressed at work, it might be tempting to head straight to the bar every evening – but a hangover isn’t going to make you feel any better the next morning.
- Improve your work space. Is your desk cluttered? Is your office drab and uninspiring? Just tidying up, and perhaps finding some nice wall art, will give you a much nicer working environment.
- Think positively. Sure, maybe it’s just a “day job” and you’d rather be at home writing your novel. But referring to work as “cubical hell” or to yourself as a “wage-slave” is only going to make you feel worse.
- Get enough downtime. That probably doesn’t mean napping on the job – but if you run your own business or work long hours for an employer, make sure you’re taking enough time to rest and recharging.
Focus on someone else
Sometimes, it’s much easier to find motivation for your work when you start thinking about the people who you can help. They might be clients, colleagues or even your boss.
- Go the extra mile. Perhaps a customer emails and asks for help. You could just point them towards the online documentation – but, from their email, you suspect they’ll struggle to find the information that they need. Take an extra five minutes to guide them through it.
- Say “thank you”. If you’re in charge of a team, or have subordinates reporting to you, remember that a “thank you” can mean a lot more than a paycheck. It also helps you to get into a more appreciative mindset.
- Think about who you’re helping. In almost any job, you’re helping someone. Perhaps you fix bugs in software. It might seem dull at times – but by solving those problems, you’re making sure that the software’s users have a great experience.
- Give a colleague a hand. Maybe you’re bored at work because you don’t have enough to do. It’s pretty likely that someone else in the office is feeling under pressure and would love some help. What could you do to make their day easier?
- Get to know people. If you don’t like your job much, you might feel that you have nothing in common with your workmates. Maybe they’re all a lot older (or younger) than you, or they seem boring. Give them a chance – they might turn out to be a lot more fun than you think.
Focus on Your Work
When your work is going badly, it’s going to be almost impossible to stay positive about your job. You’ll enjoy it more when you feel on top of things. Here’s how:
- Delegate properly. Hand over tasks which you don’t need to be doing, and give your colleague full responsibility – don’t micromanage. If you work for yourself, consider hiring someone to take on the jobs which you find difficult or tedious.
- Do your toughest work first. Have you ever put something off for weeks, and found that the longer you put it off, the harder it was to get started? By tackling the “tough” things (whatever you feel resistance to), you’ll make the rest of your day seem easy.
- Don’t go straight to your inbox. Do you really need to open your emails at 8.30am? Most people will be happy to wait a few hours for a reply. Get on with your important tasks before tackling emails – it’ll make your whole day go more smoothly.
- Give it your best. If you habitually do as little work as you can get away with, you’re probably not going to feel much sense of satisfaction. Put some effort in, however routine the task, and at least you’ll know that you did a good job (even if no-one else notices).
- Concentrate. All the distractions and interruptions in a typical office can eat up hours of valuable work time. Close Facebook and Twitter, turn off the new email notifications, and get on with your work – your day will go much more smoothly, and you’ll have a sense of accomplishment at the end of it all.
What are your favorite ways to make work more enjoyable? Share them with us in the comments!
Ali Luke works for herself as a writer and writing coach. Over on her blog Aliventures, she has two resource-packed posts for new freelancers and entrepreneurs: Freelance Writing: Ten Steps, Tons of Resources and Beyond Freelancing: The Shift to Entrepreneur.