13 Practical Ways to Find Joy in Your Work
Work doesn’t have to be mindless drudgery. Although it is easy to fall into the routine of your day-to-day activities as a professional, finding joy in your work is not impossible. Most of us can derive happiness from what we do as long as we feel connected to the purpose of our work and understand how it contributes to the world around us. After all, the feeling of accomplishment you get from a meaningful job well done is unmatched.
To help you find the love in your work when you need it, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share some of the ways they find joy in their work. Here’s what they said:
1. Remember Your Why
I can proudly say that I love what I do every single day. Some days may be more enjoyable than others, but I never walk away wishing I had spent my day doing anything else.
This is because I am always reminding myself of my why: Why did I get into this? Why did I start this journey so many years ago? Understanding the driving force behind what I do is the key to my day-to-day happiness.
2. Learn Something New
When you’re feeling unmotivated by your work, you should learn something new. You can learn new skills simply by taking an online course or spending more time reading industry publications. Constantly learning will keep things fresh and fun, and it can help you advance your career.
3. Keep a Journal
I’ve felt burned out many times as an entrepreneur, but the best way I know to find joy in the work I do is by reminding myself of the creativity that comes along with it.
I keep a journal of everything I do at work. When I am feeling drained or bored, I can use it as a reference to spark new ideas.
4. Align With Your Purpose
Happiness is one thing, but purpose is on a completely different level. Happiness won’t sustain you through the more challenging and trying moments, but purpose will.
Purpose gives deep meaning and motivation that will keep you going through thick and thin. Plus, purpose is always tied to some sort of positive impact. At the end of the day, that’s what truly brings the most joy.
5. Appreciate the Little Things
Instead of thinking about the things I want or focusing on the things I’m not looking forward to doing, I try to step back and appreciate the little things. I think about the delicious breakfast I had this morning, the pleasant conversation with my assistant, the happy client reviews from my last job. These are things we tend to gloss over, but they contain the essence of what makes us happy.
6. Think About the Benefits
Consider the benefits your work brings to others. Does it help them in some way? Even if it’s only the bigger picture, it still makes a huge difference if you can improve one person’s day or make things easier for them.
7. Let Go of Perfection
It’s important to realize you won’t feel good all the time, nor will you be at your best all the time. There are many things that are out of our control, and it’s helpful to give some leeway for things to go wrong. Simply accepting change and uncertainty can improve well-being and bring a sense of peace that eventually leads to joy.
8. Find Great People
I love my career, but not every day is a walk in the park. What I do love is that every day I come into the office and spend time with my team. I truly believe I have the best team of people working around me, and I love seeing them every single day. We have all become friends, borderline family, and knowing I get to be around them makes every day worth it.
9. Be Open to Fun
In his book, Indstracable: How to control your attention and choose your life. By looking at work with an eye of curiosity and finding novel ways to complete your to-dos, you can bring fun to your work. This will allow more room for joy and even a deeper investment in the work itself.
10. Be Grateful
Most of the time I feel an extreme amount of gratitude to be in the position I’m in, but there will always be challenges. Sometimes, in the midst of difficulty, I can start having a negative attitude. So, if I hear myself say, “I have to,” I change it to, “I get to.” This reminds me that, at the end of the day, even the challenges are a blessing.
11. List Five Big Wins
To cultivate appreciation and gratitude, my team writes down five big wins in the last 90 days for the company and for themselves. Reflecting on what we’ve accomplished individually and as a team feels really good and helps us stay present.
I’m also a fan of the quote, “Remember when you wanted what you currently have.” It lives on the fridge in our breakroom.
12. Engage Proactively in Your Assignments
Many people find it easy to turn on autopilot and perform work because others expect it. However, when you take a leap and adopt assignments you like or can contribute unique value to, you can take real pride in your daily accomplishments. There are emotional stakes and concrete successes you can present to your managers and coworkers. Management will also appreciate your productive enthusiasm.
13. Contribute to a Wider Variety of Projects
It’s easy for business owners to focus only on areas where they can have the biggest impact. While that’s wise, it can also lead to burnout.
As a way to find more joy in your work, you can contribute to a wider variety of projects that challenge you to break routine and think outside of the box. You’ll get to solve different problems alongside different teams, which can be very invigorating.
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