Day 10 of 14 - It's all about the fun...
"Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life." - too many people...
This is #10.
We've all heard this sentiment probably more than a hundred times. However, I believe that not everyone has a choice to do what they love. Sometimes not for a longer period of time, sometimes not in their entire lifetime.
Today I want to share some thoughts and reflections on what you can do to make your job more enjoyable, especially if you can't just quit it and do something else.
I've seen many cases of happy people working in manufacturing, administration and other fields, doing the same thing every day for eight hours straight. I am not talking about the ones that don't give a sh*t and therefore are happy with whatever mind-numbing task they've been given. I'm talking about the creative ones, the ones that add a little spice to their daily work by making it interesting and competitive - constantly challenging and motivating themselves and others around them.
Whenever I have experience boredom in my job, there has been a set of questions that helped me to keep it interesting, to challenge myself and - in doing so - challenge others to perform better, make better decisions, be more efficient. I want to share those questions with you in no specific order.
"What feels like fun to me but work for others?" or "When am I enjoying myself while other people are complaining?"
In my opinion these two questions are applicable for both situations: the ones where you can change something in your career and the ones where you can't.
Let's stick with the latter for now: working with many different clients and companies I have seen a lot of different characters. There was a certain type that amazed me the most - in stark contrast to the usual troublemakers and ill-tempered -: the one that did the "dirty work". The stuff that nobody wanted to do: the shit-in-shit-out weekly data report that makes you loose your hair, the everybody-is-invited meeting that never produces any results, ... You probably catch my drift.
Inspired by these usually super engaged and courageous people that seemed to have a lot of fun at what they were doing and in doing so, unconsciously relayed their motivation to others, I tried to figure out for myself what makes me enjoy myself while others mourn. Usually this comes along with recognizing certain strengths that you haven't really paid attention to before. And sometimes it's not even been me who discovers that there are certain tasks that I can handle much easier than others but my colleagues or friends.
Try to figure it out for yourself and even try to ask others if they see you shine while doing certain things faster, better, easier than everybody else. It helped me to pay good attention to the feedback I got from others - self-image and public-image can diverge a lot. In doing so, chances are that you can probably add a whole lot of value to the team or department you are working in. And if you don't find any tasks that makes you enjoy yourself compared to others, ask yourself the opposite question:
"Can you handle the pain of the task easier than most people?"
Sometimes the work that hurts you less than others is the work that you were made for. It might even be helpful and rewarding regarding your career if doing the "dirty work" gets recognized by the right people.
The next helpful question I keep asking myself when a tasks seems repetitive and boring is this:
"How can I challenge myself to make my task more interesting and enjoyable?"
The key to this question is to find a way of measuring success for whatever task you have to do. Ideally, you find a metric that shows instant results and therefore helps to keep the motivation at a constant level. It can be things like: "Is my output higher than it was during the previous hour?", "Have I written more words today than yesterday?", "Does the scale show a better results than the last time I weighed myself?"
You can also measure your tasks against a certain plan you make (at the beginning of each day, week, month...). When have I achieved 100%? Where am I on my way to 100%? Can I do more today to get closer? I am usually much more calm, collected and focused if I have a plan I can stick to rather then just doing each and every task as they pop up during the day...
By asking myself these questions and acting accordingly I learned an important lesson:
Doing the things that come easier to you than others, there is way less external but also internal judgement or people pleasing, way less second guessing or self criticism and way more feelings of engagement and enjoyment. There is more self-appreciation and less doubt if you are good enough or not.
Figuring out when you feel most authentic and genuine while challenging yourself to do what others can't and to be better than your past-self provides you with a higher level of (self-)recognition, enjoyment and the feeling of heading in the right direction.
Stay positive, enjoy yourselves and - most importantly - stay healthy.