Six ways to find more joy at work - Michelle Gibbings

The alarm goes off or your iphone pings to signal the start of the working day. Do you jump out of bed excited or roll over and wish you didn’t have to go to work?

For many people it’s the latter.

It’s unrealistic to believe it’s possible to love every minute of your working day. There’s always something that will come along and unsettle the equilibrium, or even someone who will throw a curve ball that unsettles the day.

On the whole I love my work, and I consider myself very fortunate to have the opportunity to do what I do, and yet there are still some days when I find it hard to get started.

Gallup, who periodically assess the level of worker engagement across the world, found in their most recent study that only 15% of workers are engaged at work.

So clearly there’s some work to be done to create happier and more engaged employees.

But what can you – just you alone – do to bring out more joy and enjoyment from your work environment?

Here’s six ideas to get you started.

Reshape your job description
Don’t be limited by what you think your role is. Instead, take an expansive approach.

Your job description outlines the key tasks and responsibilities of your role. However, you don’t need to limit your scope of work to what is written on that piece of paper. There’s often many opportunities to expand what you do to include activities, for example, that you:

  • Find more intellectually stimulating
  • Are curious about
  • Are keen to acquire new or further skills in
  • See as beneficial to your career development

Take the initiative and seek out those opportunities. As well as finding your work more interesting, you’ll also be delivering more value than expected, which is good for your career progression.

Find a friend
Tom Rath in his book “Vital Friends: The People you can’t afford to live without” outlines research which shows that employees who have best friends at work are 7 times more likely to be engaged in their jobs. Additionally, if they have at least 3 vital friends at work, they are 96% more likely to be satisfied with their lives.

When you work with people you like the work is more enjoyable and you are likely to find yourself more connected. Connection is at the root of all human existence. When you feel more connected at work, you’ll feel happier at work too.

Build in milestones
Everyone likes to see they are making progress. We find it motivating. Whereas, a lack of progress and constant set backs is demotivating.

Consequently, find ways to break your work into smaller, more bite size pieces of work so it is easier to see more regular progress. Monitor this progress and keep it visible.

Say ‘no’ more often
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you are drowning in work and yet, unappreciated as more and more work comes your way.

It can be very easy to say ‘yes’ when a request comes in, and yet, there will be times when you need to say ‘no’.

It helps to set realistic boundaries about what you will and won’t do, and how you will respond to requests for work outside standard working hours. If you don’t set boundaries that you are ok with, you’ll ultimately end up resenting the other person.

Set your own rewards
Don’t wait for the internal reward and recognition scheme to kick into action. Instead, take the time to reward yourself.

When you’ve hit a goal, reached a target or achieved something that you’ve been striving for find a way to reward yourself for your efforts in a way that is meaningful for you.

Take a break
Regularly take breaks during the day, and when you can set aside time to go outside your office or work environment and walk.

The key is to get away from your desk and shift your environment. When you shift your environment, you shift your state and that can help to reset your mindset. You are also likely to find that the problem you were trying to solve is now easier to resolve as well.

All these ideas require you to take action.

As the former UK Prime Minister, statesman and novelist, Benjamin Desraeli said: “Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.

Getting you ready for tomorrow, today®

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian. Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate Your Career’.

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