The best career advice I have ever been given was when I was working as a lecturer in higher education. My supervisor at the time, Michael, was giving me constructive feedback on my teaching style. Never one to beat around the bush, he told me, “Lee, you’re all about business when you’re teaching. You need to have more fun.”
My first reaction was to get defensive. I thought to myself, how does he know if I’m having fun? What if I’m having loads of fun? Fun and me, we’re like peanut butter and jelly. What does this guy know about fun?
But the more I thought about what Michael had said, the more I realized that he was right. I was so busy trying to impart my infinite wisdom upon my students, that I was taking all the joy and fun away from teaching. Consequently, I was failing to really connect with my audience. My evaluations were consistently good, but not great. I finally understood why.
From that point on when I lectured, I tried to smile more and ask more questions. I engaged with students more throughout my presentations and even shared my personality, including personal anecdotes and a few lame jokes. And yes, in case you were wondering, I began to have more fun.
If you are finding yourself in a similar boat, wondering if there is something you can do to make your workday more fun, read below for some helpful tips to have more fun at work:
Feel like you’re stuck in a rut at work?
Take some time to reflect on why you are feeling disengaged. For example, maybe you are doing a lot of paperwork, which you don’t like, and you want to be doing more interacting with customers or co-workers. Try talking to your boss to see if you can take on an additional project that involves working more with people.
Make sure to take time out of the day for yourself.
Even if it’s just ten minutes here and there. Take a walk or treat yourself to a coffee or tea. Whatever relaxes and soothes you. Something as simple as a quick walk around the block or chat with a good friend can help you re-focus and have more fun at work.
Are you someone who appreciates an aesthetically-pleasing environment?
Try to make your work space a little brighter by hanging a new picture, getting a cozy lamp, or taking some time to get your desk organized. Even lighting a candle can do wonders to change the mood (just don’t burn your office down).
Shift your perspective
Similar to how I adjusted my teaching style, maybe you need a perspective shift or a different approach to how you work. Do you walk around your home or office with your head down, completely stressed out? Try smiling more throughout your day. Try saying hello to a co-worker and ask how their day is going. It’s amazing how something so simple can instantly brighten your (and someone else’s) day.
Contemplate a job or career change
If you are to the point where you’ve tried everything but you’re still feeling stressed and burned out, maybe it’s time to think about a job or career change. Try talking to a trusted friend, or even working with a career coach to do some self-assessment and career exploration. Finding your passion and spending your time doing that every day can make a huge difference in your quality at life.
Don’t forget to laugh!
Some of my best memories of working in an office are when I joked around and engaged in office pranks with co-workers. Now that I work remotely, mostly by myself, it’s a bit more challenging to have those types of connections. But I try to keep in contact with colleagues through social media, or even sending or receiving a quick uplifting text message can make all the difference.