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How To Find Meaning In Your Job And Work Happily

How To Find Meaning In Your Job And Work Happily

Perfect jobs that provide meaning and satisfaction 24/7 might well be illusory. Even dream jobs can become dreary or stressful or appear to lack meaning, and happiness, as a result, becomes elusive.

So how can you find meaning in your job and work happily on a consistent basis?

It is possible to work happily and find meaning in your own job if you incorporate a few key principles and actions into your mind map.

1. Don’t take work for granted

There is an old Greek proverb that says: “How do you get a man to appreciate his donkey?” Answer:  “By taking it away!”

With a world population that’s growing at an alarming rate, anyone who does have a job really should be grateful for their employment, because many people would like to have paid work, but can’t find any.

So … be grateful for your job.

2. Understand your values

Work can only be really meaningful if it’s part of your life’s purpose and your life’s purpose will most likely be aligned with your values.

Become clear about your values because they will help you find happiness in your job.

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So how do you clarify your values?

Make a list of the 5 things that are most important in your life – Think about things like; family, friends, spirituality, money, career, work/life balance. Then ask yourself how your job is serving those values, and write down the answers.

Once you understand how your life values are being met at work, you’ll feel more aligned with your job.

3. Turn your dreams into reality

If you have a grand dream about your career–maybe you want a big promotion, or want to work for yourself–  find ways of turning the dream into reality. You might have to work harder than anyone else to make it happen, but it might ultimately give you the chance to do what you want to do and so work happily in the long run.

Make a list of small steps that can be taken to move you closer to your dream, and commit to doing one of these things each day. These steps can be as small as “Find one website related to my dream job and read everything on it.” or “Sign up for an email newsletter related to my ideal industry.” Do one thing each day that will move you closer to your dream. You’ll be surprised how small but consistent actions can quickly move you closer to achieving your big ideas.

4. Understand why you work

If you are to be happy at work you need to understand your attitude and reasons for working. There has to be a reason for doing things otherwise you’ll never get out of bed in the morning. Certainly money is a driving force, but there should be other reasons that you keep getting up and getting yourself out the door to go to work.

So what’s important to you? Answer the following to find out:

  1. Do you work for the challenge, or perhaps to gain a sense of achievement?
  2. Do you want to get out of the house to be amongst other people?
  3. Do you want to work for yourself?
  4. Do you want to be highly successful in your chosen field?
  5. Do you want to help others?
  6. Do you want to be creative?

Look at the questions you answered “yes” to.  Does your current job fulfill these needs and desires?  If not, what job would?

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5. Place value on the work that you do

The work you do will invariably touch the lives of others in some positive way – an important fact to realize.

Work becomes more meaningful when it makes a contribution to our own lives and to the lives of others.

Every job has intrinsic meaning. It doesn’t matter what you do. Not only does it give you an income, but it will impact other people or the world we live in.

How does the work you do make a difference to other people in a positive way? How would it impact others if you stopped doing what you do?  Write this down and acknowledge that your work is purposeful and commit to valuing the work you do.

What you do is  useful and if you acknowledge that, then you will give your working hours more meaning.

4. Understand your job’s purpose

Every job has a purpose.  Acknowledging this can help you to feel good about what you do.

List 3 of the more important tasks you are employed to carry out and then write down why it’s necessary to do them well.

Set  goals to do these tasks more effectively and you’ll achieve more, plus you’ll gain additional respect from your colleagues and your employer,  too.

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Having this clear purpose shines the light on how you should spend your time, and you’ll find yourself focusing on what’s important.

 

5. Don’t major in the minor

Wasting time on unimportant tasks is futile and leads to dissatisfaction.

Many people work 10 – 12 hour days and still don’t seem to get anything done.

So major in the major and eliminate anything that wastes time or isn’t important in your work day.  Set yourself goals to complete the important tasks that need doing, rather than focusing on bits and pieces. Make a to-do list and check things off as you go along.  This will keep you organized and on-task, and you’ll be surprised at how satisfying it is to make those check marks.

 

6. Get real about what you want

There are obvious attractions for working, and earning money is probably top of the list, but unless your underlying wants and needs are also met by going out to work, then you’re unlikely to be happy on a day to day basis.

So beyond just earning money think about what you want work to deliver.

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  1. Is job security important to you?
  2. Would flexible- time working arrangements suit you better?
  3. Do you want a promotion or a pay raise?
  4. Would you like training opportunities to develop your skills?
  5. Is a pension plan important to you or would a sports or recreation club at work make you happier?
  6. Would working from home be the right option for you?

Look at your “yes” answers.  Is your current job meeting these needs?  If not, it’s time to talk to your boss.  If that doesn’t get you anywhere, it’s time to start planning for a career change.

Having your subsidiary needs met is important to a sense of contentment at work and working happily.

7. Have the right attitude

Having a good attitude at work is immensely powerful and it’s a precursor to being happy and successful in your job. Not everyone is born with a great attitude; many people are gloomy or negative, or they think that it’s all about them and their wonderful CV.

A good attitude is something that everyone can work on and improve with practice and mindfulness. Learning good interpersonal skills, in particular, is integral to your happiness at work. If you can learn to consider others in a consistent way, they will respond in kind, and your work will be much more satisfying.

  1. Make people feel good about themselves – always find something nice to say.
  2. Ask questions about your colleagues and be interested in them.
  3. Be respectful, and be thankful for any advice or help you’re given.
  4. Be helpful.
  5. Learn to compromise.
  6. Try to be cheery because cheeriness begets cheeriness.

So c’mon. Smile! Work happily and find meaning in your job. You’re worth it!

I’d like to thank and acknowledge the following resources:

Life Coaching for Work by Eileen Mulligan (Judy Piatkus [Publishers] Limited 2000)

Why People Fail by Siimon Reynolds (Penguin Books 2010)

The Work We Were Born To Do by Nick Williams (Element Books Limited 1999)

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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