Sure, we all love to start off the new year with resolutions that will change our lives. But come February, it’s a whole other story. Getting in shape, trotting the globe or learning how to play an instrument are all noble pursuits — but you won’t get there without serious determination. And usually, the demands of daily life and work will get in the way.
But what if your resolution is to get greater satisfaction from your job in 2018? You can easily work toward this resolution every day with little effort or disruption to your routine. And the benefits are huge. You’ll not only be happier, but your added enthusiasm for work may just lead to career advancements. Yes please!
Here are five ways to enjoy your work more and break free of the grind.
1. Change how you view work
Even if you love your job, enthusiasm can wane over time. Are you feeling like you’re simply putting in the time for a paycheck? As the bestselling author of “The Future of Work,” Jacob Morgan explains, showing up and getting the work done for pay is just a transaction. He suggests viewing work as an experience, which will lead to better engagement and job satisfaction.
What you get out of this experience is up to you. Look at every new project or new day as a learning opportunity — how can you stretch yourself and grow personally and professionally?
2. Find new ways to connect
If your job is just about a paycheck, you’ll likely disconnect from your organization, its mission and culture. This can be especially true for those working on a remote team. A recent Gallup poll found that people who work remotely 100% of the time lose the kind of connections to their organization that could boost their performance.
Here are a few ways to connect better:
- Embrace small talk: Without the typical office disruptions, you’re more productive, but admit it, sometimes don’t you miss the watercooler chatter. Small talk helps us connect to co-workers which in turn, helps motivate us. If you work remotely, use a chat app as your virtual watercooler during office hours.
- Get to know your team: If your meetings are always all business, ask your team leader to throw in icebreakers or allow for a few minutes of chit-chat at the beginning of some meetings.
- Add face time: Video meetings will help your team be more engaged and feel connected. And don’t be afraid to ask for one-on-one meetings or organize a virtual after-hours mixer.
3. Create your own opportunities
You may not be able to design your own job description but why not design your ideal project and pitch it to your boss. A challenge that will both stretch you and benefit your team is a win-win.
Of 5,000 respondents to an Adobe survey, 70% said that creativity makes people better workers, yet only 31% realized their full creative potential. Propose a project that will tap your creative thinking and help you learn something new. A break from your typical day is a sure way to beat the daily doldrums.
4. Disconnect once a week
Lines between work and personal life can be quickly blurred, especially in a remote environment. It’s easy to put in 50 or more hours of work each week, but this will backfire with increased stress and lower productivity. Let that sink in — putting in extra work hours doesn’t mean increased productivity in the long-run.
I know, disconnecting is easier said than done. Many of us feel obligated to monitor communications around the clock. Start by banning email and texting every Saturday or Sunday. Take this time to catch up on your half-read whodunnit, binge-watch “Game of Thrones” or soothe your mind with a walk in nature. Do something that refreshes your mind and body and you’ll feel more refreshed come Monday.
5. Build a hobby around your passion
Let’s come back to that hypothetical New Year’s resolution of learning how to play an instrument. Whether you are a closet novelist, undiscovered musician, or tri-athlete at heart, there’s no time like the present to unleash that hidden talent.
A hobby will give you a mental break and fuel the passions that you may not be feeding in your day job. Spending time on your out-of-work interests is not only a perfect excuse to “clock out” and turn off the cellphone, it could actually make you better at your job. Having a passion outside work helps you rest and reset. It also helps you broaden your horizons which fuels creativity.
Here’s a toast to 2018 — may it bring you some new, exciting opportunities for success.