Do you feel like you’re caught between a rock and an ergonomically incorrect office chair?
When it comes to your job, do you ever feel like happiness and success can’t coexist? I get it. I’ve been there. If you can’t seem to find joy in the workplace, it’s easy to blame the job, the people, or the culture. Maybe your job isn’t right for you. Maybe it is. Wouldn’t you love to figure that out once and for all before you jump ship?
No matter what your career, there are 10 ways to find more joy in your 9 to 5.
1. Figure out your why
What brought you to this job in the first place? When you enjoyed it, what were you doing differently? This trip down memory lane creates awareness. It allows you to see what works and what doesn’t work. Equally important, it allows you to see the difference between where you are and where you’d like to be.
2. Get a good reason to stay
Motivation can sometimes feel like a roller coaster, but your ability to push through the discomfort of staying is only as strong as your reasons to do it. Set a goal and decide what you actually want to get out of this job (beyond the paycheck):
- Do you want to learn more about your field?
- Do you want to learn how to manage a team?
- Do you want to learn how to resist the office candy jar?
Whatever your goals are, find compelling reasons why they matter to you. There’s a big difference between “I want to climb the corporate ladder” and “I want to be able to implement my ideas from a position of authority.” Make your reasons dramatic and sexy. If they don’t move you, nothing will.
3. Clean up your side of the street
Your job doesn’t define you, but how you do it does. Do you really want to be the person who does a half-assed job? Or do you want to be the type of person who does their job with concern and care? Sure, you can’t control how others act and whether your positive behavior will get you noticed. But your experience at your job isn’t about recognition, it’s about how you feel about what you bring to the table. That doesn’t just apply to your assignments, but to how you interact with your coworkers. Before meetings, set an intention to be your best self. Decide ahead of time to curb your reactivity, keeping your desired goal and outcome in mind.
4. Find fulfillment
When you are engaged and challenged, you feel fulfilled. Quit waiting for something interesting to happen. Make it happen yourself. What can you do to be more proactive? Can you ask for an interesting assignment? Can you negotiate some changes in your job description? Your productivity hinges on your happiness. Go ahead, ask for what you want instead of taking what you can get.
5. Get some crap out of the way
If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to enjoy what you’re doing when you’re stressing over the piles of paper and unread emails waiting to be read. Set aside 15 minutes each day for housekeeping and organization. Breaking daunting projects into smaller tasks will help you move things from the “to do” list to the “did do” list, creating space and energy to tackle the projects you actually want to do.
6. Incorporate what you love into what you do
What are the things you’d be happy to do and never get paid for? What are the things that excite you? If you enjoy being the go-to person for advice, it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and become a therapist, it means you should include that talent in your day-to-day. And remember, your talent might not be what you do, but how you do it. A good friend of mine has the ability to break things down into logical pieces and build them back up again in a new way. His strange way of looking at things makes him successful in his career. And if you think being competitive will increase your chances of success or happiness, think again. You’re more likely to find fulfillment if you use your talents to support others alongside you.
7. Work with people you love
While you may not be able to change your coworkers, you can seek out people you enjoy working with. Tackle projects with those you connect with. Are there clients, companies, or donors you enjoy collaborating with? Get creative and think outside the box.
8. Get a little selfish
Set some boundaries. Whether it’s asking people to knock before they enter or not checking your work email at home. Boundaries create sanity. Often, the thing that will allow you to love the job you have is leaving your job at the office.
9. Make self-care a priority
At work: take breaks, avoid eating at your desk, and leave at a reasonable time. At home: get sleep, eat well, do things you love. While these may seem obvious, they impact our health, happiness, and productivity.
10. Acknowledge your accomplishments
Did a great job? Fantastic! At the end of the day, come up with one thing you did well. Self-validation is the key to self-fulfillment. Ultimately, if you decide to love your job, you’ll love it. If you decide to hate it, you’ll hate it. It comes down to choice. Which will you choose?
Featured photo credit: http://www.lifehack.com via lifehack.com