• Rebecca Robinson


Do you jump out of bed in the morning, full of the joys of spring, as soon as your alarm clock beeps? Do you wake up feeling excited and ready for whatever your working day holds?

Do you feel blessed to be in your 'dream job'?

Or do you constantly hit the 'snooze' button, setting yourself up for a day that starts with procrastination, avoidance and a gentle dread of the day ahead?

If, like so many of us, you are not in your 'dream job' and are simply working to pay the bills and put a roof over your head, you may feel stuck in the rat race. And feeling 'stuck' or 'trapped' are never nice ways to feel.

However, take comfort: there are a few simple things that you CAN do to turn up the volume on your work-day joy!

Firstly, if you feel that your work-life balance is completely out of balance, start considering all of your options.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen and jot down answers to the following questions:

  • What is your current working situation?

  • What works for you about it, and what doesn't?

  • What parts of your job do you enjoy, and what parts not so much?

  • What do you need more of, and what do you need less of?

  • What does work-life balance look like to you?

  • Is it possible for you to negotiate more flexible working patterns?

  • Can you perhaps reduce your hours?

  • Can you work from home instead?

  • Can you get new work that suits your needs better?

  • Are there other sources of income that you can tap into - perhaps car boot sales, selling items online, a weekend shift at a cafe, a sideline making money from a hobby or something that you love to do...?

Do some budgeting and work out what income you require. Figure out what your ideal work 'must-haves' are, and then look at different jobs that will pay you the wage you need AND fit your needs like a glove too.

Get curious and see if there are ways for you to re-vamp your working week in a style that suits you better.

Another thing that can help - with no change needed to our work situation - is to consider the way in which we look at our job. Sometimes a subtle shift in our perspective can create a seismic shift in our feelings of personal satisfaction and happiness at work.

What gives meaning to the work that you currently do? Struggling to think of an answer? Consider the following:

  • What is your job title?

  • What do you do?

  • What does the organisation that you work for do?

Even if you work in a role that leaves you lukewarm or - worse - cold, there IS meaning to what you do, even if it does not particularly resonate with you personally and what you would want from your 'dream job'.

Say that you work in a sales role that you don't enjoy for a variety of reasons, if you are selling a good product that customers need and want, and that will add value to their lives in some way, then this is a type of meaning. If you are interacting with customers, giving them advice, helping them - maybe even making them smile - then your role IS making a difference.

Every organisation has its reason for existence. Whether you work in a shop, a dentists, a doctors or a zoo, every organisation serves its purpose and is needed by the people who use it. OK, so we might not be saving lives or working as a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist, but the world needs lots of different people performing lots of different roles. A brain surgeon still needs a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk from the corner shop, so whether YOU are the brain surgeon who wants to buy the milk, the dairy farmer who milks the cow, or the shop assistant who sells the milk, we all need each other! Without YOU, and without YOUR organisation, people's lives would not be as rich. YOUR role has meaning, and YOU have value. This is important to remember, especially when we descend into thinking that our role has no meaning. Yes it does, and yes you do.

Now, let's make it personal:

  • Why do you work?

  • What are the personal reasons that brought you to work in your current role?

  • What is it that motivates you to work?

  • Do you work in a job because you love something about the role, because it has personal value to you, or because you think it has worth in society?

  • Maybe you work in a role that is especially creative or that lets you figure out solutions to big challenges?

  • Maybe you are feeling a little jaded? Perhaps you are overworked, underpaid and exhausted with your work responsibilities, but you went into a sector because it means something to you. Many nurses and teachers might feel this way.

  • Perhaps you work because you want to fund a particular lifestyle - living in a beautiful home, paying for exciting holidays, or to fund a course?

  • Maybe you work to simply pay the bills or to look after your family?

Whatever the reason, own it - because this adds value to your work-life and gives you a reason AND the motivation to do what you do, and that can sometimes get lost when we feel dissatisfied at work.

But feelings CAN and DO change. And we can handle our feelings. So let's see if we can't change our feelings just a little bit. Here are some micro ideas that might create a tiny shift for you...

  • To boost your fulfilment at work, on the morning of your next working day, think about what it is that you would most like to achieve? What is most important to you and to your role? Focus on this first, before the day gets lost to you amid a tower of emails, admin and 'stuff'. Focus on the most important task before anything else gets to you, and it will help you to feel calmer, more in-control and more focused.

  • Think of just 1 or 2 small and achievable things that you can do that will make a BIG difference, then just do them. And think of a small way to celebrate those achievements, and be sure to give yourself a big pat on the back.

These tiny steps will help to boost your feelings of achievement and purpose and show you just how capable you are of making a change.

  • The next thing you can do is to make your surroundings as lovely to be in as possible. Open a window, get a desk plant, use a screensaver of a beautiful natural image or something that makes you smile. Keep your work area tidy. And, unless you have a uniform, express yourself in the clothes and accessories and colours that you wear. Sometimes a cheerful jumper or a colourful scarf can add even the tiniest splash of autonomy and self-expression to your working day, and tiny things can make a BIG difference.

And remember: the most important thing is not WHAT we do, but HOW we do things. As the old song goes, It's not what you do, its the way that you do it. So whatever work you do, know that no-one else can do your job quite like you, and if you aim to have an up-beat perspective and to look for the light in the gloom, you WILL experience a happier working day. So do your thing, make the best of things, and KNOW that the best is yet to be ... :-) x

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