How To Enjoy Work

Updated December 20, 2022

There are many people who are happy with their work, especially if they are in a job that matches their career and life goals. However, even with the best job, there are times when you struggle to find enjoyment in what you are doing. During times of stress or discouragement, finding that joy in work can be difficult. In this article, we will consider why enjoying your job is important and look at some ways you can rediscover the joy in your work.

Why it's important to enjoy work

While you have other things in your life besides work such as friends, family, and hobbies, working is a large part of what you do every week. This is one reason why you should find ways to enjoy your work.

Also, your attitude toward work will affect your mood. If you struggle to find the motivation to go to work and resent the time you are there when you could be elsewhere, you will cultivate a negative attitude that spills over into the rest of your life. It can affect your performance at work, as well as your relationships with co-workers, friends and family.

There is also the risk that dissatisfaction at work can lead to depression and other mental health issues. All of these are good reasons why it is important that you find ways to enjoy your job.

Related: 7 Tips for Thinking Positively at Work

How to enjoy work

One way to find enjoyment in your work is to look for employment that is compatible with your life and career goals. If your current job is not in alignment with what you most enjoy doing, you are going to be more easily discouraged and dissatisfied with your work. Looking for work that will bring you satisfaction and fulfillment can help you enjoy your job. Here are some tips and strategies to help you increase your enjoyment of work:

1. Take breaks

During a busy workday, it is important you take time away from your desk to get your mind off your job. Schedule a lunch break on your calendar every day and keep it. Even five minutes spent outside if the weather's good, or sitting in the break room, can be good for your mental health and perspective. When you take these breaks, leave your cell phone on your desk. Detach from work completely so you can return refreshed.

2. Manage your workspace

If your workspace, whether an office or a cubicle, is a mess, tidy it. Throw away anything you don't have to keep. If you have a physical inbox, make sure it only contains things you have yet to do. A clean and organized workspace can help you feel more relaxed and in control of your environment.

Also, if you have space on your walls, put up inspiring pictures. These might include family photos, pictures of landscapes, or inspirational quotations. Be sure to pin them in a location away from your screen so you have to turn to look at them. Use them as a way to distract your attention from your work for a few minutes to help you center and refocus.

3. Enjoy the people you work with

Find ways to have fun in your workplace while maintaining a professional approach to your work. Smile and engage with your co-workers. Get to know them, perhaps even socially outside of work. If you enjoy spending time with the people you work with, this can go a long way toward making your work more enjoyable.

A positive attitude toward your co-workers can also help you cultivate a positive attitude toward your work. One way to express this is to avoid office gossip and, instead, engage in constructive conversations that encourage your co-workers.

Related: 16 Ways to Create a Happy Workplace

4. Leave your work at work

When you are in the middle of a demanding project with a pending delivery date, it's easy to be so consumed with work that you take it home with you. Occasionally, this might be necessary to meet a deadline. However, if it becomes a frequent occurrence, your work will start taking over more than 33% of your life. Not only is this bad for your mental health, but your relationships with friends and family could suffer, and you may begin to resent your job even more.

As much as you can, when you go home, don't take your work with you. Leave it at the office. Allow yourself an evening where you can clear your mind of the day's stress, get a good night's sleep and return to the office in the morning refreshed.

5. Look for the purpose

You may find work hard to enjoy because you've lost sight of the reason you work. Consider why you are doing the specific tasks you perform, or even why you work at all. For example, think about why you are planning a particular meeting and what success would mean. Perhaps you are working on a project and need to remind yourself what the project will accomplish and why your participation matters.

You could even consider your purpose within your team. Maybe you're the ideas person, or the one everyone turns to for a witty comment or an encouraging word. Also, meditate on the reasons why you work. You might be trying to advance your career or providing for your family.

6. Upgrade your skills

Lack of enjoyment in your work might be a sign that you don't find your work challenging enough. You may need to consider personal development so you can take your career to the next level. Find out what training you need in order to progress. If you work in IT, or another field that is constantly changing, you may need to update your skills. In this case, you should investigate classes or appropriate coursework that will keep your skills current and challenge you.

7. Request something new

Perhaps there are some duties or projects you prefer over others. Consider requesting more projects you feel make the most of your skills and that you enjoy. If your manager offers you a task you feel is a little beyond your abilities, accept it anyway. Learn what you need to learn to do the work, and enjoy the challenge. It may be difficult at first, but you will grow professionally and personally as a result.

8. Work from home

While some people enjoy being in an office surrounded by their co-workers, others find it too restrictive and distracting. If you're not enjoying your work, the answer might be to work from home if you can. Your telecommuting experience will depend a lot on your company's rules and your manager's expectations. You may find you are able to keep your own schedule as long as you show up for conference calls and perform your job well. Although you may feel less connected with your co-workers, your work enjoyment and productivity could benefit.

9. Accept the imperfect

It's possible you're feeling frustrated with your co-workers and managers because they do not perform to your expectations. In this case, you need to remember that no-one is perfect, and working with people means working with people who make mistakes and have bad days, just like you. Wherever you work, there will be managers who frustrate you, co-workers who miss deadlines, and projects that don't go to plan. The sooner you can accept the imperfect, the sooner you can manage your frustrations and focus on your work.

Of course, you should still report misconduct at work, and you should always strive to do your best despite recognizing your own failings. The point is, when you stop looking for the perfect workplace, you can more easily find joy in the one you have.

Related: How to Deal with Job Dissatisfaction

10. Look out for burnout

You may be feeling joyless because you are stressed, overworked and exhausted. If this is your case, it's possible you are experiencing the initial stages of burnout. As burnout progresses, you become gradually more despondent and depressed to the point you find it difficult to go to work. You will want to seek professional help before burnout gets that far, so be alert to the warning signs.

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