“How can I make work easier?” It’s a question on a lot of people’s minds. Or maybe easier isn’t exactly the right word. Perhaps you appreciate the challenges but just wish you could have a little more...fun. Even if you generally like your job, it might get a little dull every once in a while. Maybe things have been particularly stressful lately or it frequently feels like you’re glued to your desk. If this sounds familiar, keep reading for ways to make your work life more enjoyable.
It’s natural to want to put off your least exciting tasks until you absolutely have to do them, but if you do, they’ll just be hanging over your head all day (or week or month). If you can cross off those tedious, annoying assignments before you get to the more enjoyable ones, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, which will put you in a better mood all day. Plus, then you’ll get to spend the rest of the day working on the assignments you actually like.
Does it seem like eating at your desk and working through lunch is part of your company culture? Do you rarely get out of the office during the workday — or even manage to leave your desk? If not, things can get pretty boring quickly. Even if you have a million things on your to-do list, try to find even just a few minutes to get out of the office and grab a quick bite to eat or get some fresh air. You’ll return feeling energized and may even accomplish more than you would have staying at your desk. If you have a little more time, why not ask a coworker to join you? Then you’ll get to socialize a bit, too.
Office clubs and committees, whether they’re sports teams or task forces, are a great way to meet and mingle with your colleagues and maybe even make new friends. This is a great way to make work about more than just...work. Don’t have any clubs at work? Look into starting one. Your colleagues will appreciate having a book club, a party-planning committee or even a group dedicated to making the office more fun.
You spend a good part of your waking hours at work, so your space needs to be a place that makes you feel comfortable. Decorate your space with art, pictures of friends and family members, favorite knickknacks, fun wallpaper, plants, a calendar, notes from colleagues and clients or whatever brings you the most joy.
I don’t mean you should physically unplug your desktop computer, but do try to get offline for at least a bit. Have a meeting? Take notes by hand instead of on your laptop. Instead of using your downtime to check your phone and social media, take a walk around the block or chat with a coworker.
Celebrations give you something to look forward to at work. Bring in cupcakes and champagne for your boss’s or assistant’s birthday. Dress up on Halloween, and have a contest to reward the best costume. Hold a department Secret Santa for the holidays. Encourage lighthearted office pranks for April Fool’s Day. Anything to liven things up and make the office a little happier in general!
This is a good exercise for life in general, especially if you tend toward pessimism. At the end of the day, think of one good thing that happened. The big ones are easy, of course: promotions, praise for a successful project, milestones in your personal life and so on. But even small things will help you achieve a more positive outlook and feel happier about going to work every day: getting a seat on the train during rush hour, finishing an annoying task on your to-do list, receiving an unexpected compliment — anything that brightened your day just a little bit.
Work doesn’t have to be a slog. Whether you love your job or find it stressful and often tedious, there are plenty of ways to make heading into the office every day a little (or a lot) more fun. It’s all about creating habits and traditions that keep you happy and motivated.