Employment Enjoyment: a Fundamental Right!
Do you call your job boring and hope something fun will come find you?
Or can you see the fun that’s disguised as work and share it with your colleagues?
“That was fun! Let’s do it again!”
How often do you hear that kind of enthusiasm over a work project? Or when something fun happens at your place of employment, is the next thing you hear:
“Well, we’d better get back to work before the boss gets mad.”
There’s probably no activity that slices away a bigger slice of your available time each week than your job. If that’s your case, why not enjoy those hours you trade for a paycheck?
The key isn’t just finding a momentary fun escape before being called back to work – it’s to learn how to integrate fun into the work, so that we laugh and feel good at the same time we get the job done. Skillful managers know that people who inject enjoyment into a task get it done faster and with greater satisfaction.
Yet in almost every workplace, there are people who are afraid to have fun, lest they be mistaken for happy. Expressing our misery doesn’t obligate those around us to cheer us up – it just makes them want to go someplace else to enjoy their own happiness!
Dressing ‘To the Nines’ means getting out your best outfit and spending time and energy being head-to-toe ready for the best the night has to offer! Doing the same for your attitude means investing that kind time and energy inside your head.
Here are some ideas – “To the Nines” – to help you find activities to add to your day to enjoy the hours you spend at work.
~ To the Nines ~
When your mood is undecided or already down in the dumps, you can complain – or you can make a positive choice. Your mood is established by your response to the information you gather. So while you get to focus on making the positive response, you can also improve your mood by asking the right questions to improve your information.
1. Mood Selection
Is this the mood I want to use today? Or did I just pick an old mood up off the floor because I didn’t look around for the best mood available?
2. People Selection
Do people I’d like to be around enjoy being around my mood? Or do they scamper to get away from it?
Am I blaming somebody else for my mood? If so, do they care? Where did I get the idea that I’m not in charge of my attitude?
4. You Aren’t Your Job
Is the task in front of me shaping my mood? If so, when did I turn my feelings over to my job assignments? If this task is a mood-shaper, what can I do to put some fun into it?
5. Take Off the Ugliness
If I decide I don’t like the way my mood is dressed, what ‘bad mood garment’ can I remove for nine minutes that could help me stop feeling bad? Mistrust? Frustration? Resentment?
6. Put On Something Nicer
If I take that ugly garment off, what might I put on in its place that would make me feel better for those nine minutes? Smiling? Friendly greetings? Activities with a friend?
7. Pick Your Target
Who do I choose to please today? Where do I rank on that list?
8. This, too, Shall Pass
Whatever contributed to this mood will end – will I let the mood end at that point? Or has this mood become a habit?
9. Explain Yourself
If I had to explain out loud to the Mood Fairy why I’m choosing to be in this mood – would I sound rational, or would the Mood Fairy think I’m nuts to choose to feel like this?
These are questions for your internal dialogue. Your mood is a feeling generated by that internal dialogue, so you may as well put it to use in choosing to feel like your attitude is “Dressed to the Nines.”
~ To the Nines ~
Fun Things To Do
Things we’ve always done are expected – and over time they lose their ‘oomph.’ Toss a change-up with something unexpected in the middle of the routine. It gives the day a special sparkle and even makes the expected a little more fun when we get back to it. Schedule some purposeful fun in the middle of job requirements to make your usual routine feel more enjoyable.
1. Candy Dish Surprises
If you keep a dish with treats where you work, put something different in there to catch people off guard. Try fortune cookie slips in the chocolate kisses or treasure hunting maps that lead to special hidden treats.
2. Unbirthday Celebrations
Twelve months is too long to wait for another birthday party, even if we want to have a birthday. Pick a day that needs a pick-me-up and a person that deserves a party for no good reason at all, and have an unbirthday cake – with presents for everybody!
3. Ya Gotta Luva Parade
When it’s time to hand out a little recognition, make an event of it. Marching around the office in silly hats playing a kazoo will give everybody a laugh break and make the recognition more memorable.
4. Win-Win Contests
Internal competition often does more harm than good, with one winner making everybody else feel like a loser. Make contests a group challenge to raise the entire team’s performance to a new level. We earn the prize when everybody crosses the finish line, so we work together to succeed. Along the way, we discover how gratifying it is to help others!
5. Employee of the Moment
Planned honors like employee of the month get stale. When we respond to the calendar, we don’t have the flexibility to respond to the people who deserve recognition. Drop the monthly expectation and open the door to special honors in the moment. Impromptu awards from peers improve relationships and boost egos. You’ll see a makeshift “Certificate of Stupendousness” signed by co-workers displayed at least as long and with as much pride as more formal awards.
6. Service Project
There’s a serious purpose behind a project to help your community, but that doesn’t mean you have to act seriously to succeed. A pizza party can be even more of a celebration when shared with residents of a homeless shelter.
7. Secret Favorites List
Decide on nine favorite things to find out about everybody in your work area. But you can’t ask them – you’ve got to find out in the course of normal conversation. The easiest way to find out somebody’s favorite color, car, sports team, or movie is to tell them yours, and then listen! When you’ve filled out the list, secretly deliver a little surprise gift that evokes their favorite thing. It will take weeks to complete this project – and it’ll be fun every step of the way! Favorites to learn might include a color, car, singer, movie, tv show, sports team, actor, public figure, author, vacation spot, song, place to live, historical figure, book, kind of literature, holiday, or season.
8. Swap Meet
Pick a dull-looking day to exchange something with a colleague – your lunch, your desk, a white elephant from home, or even job duties for an afternoon. It’s a good way to sparkle the day.
9. ICWA Day
Invent Completely Worthless Acronyms. They’re topics you deal with every day, but you’ll have fun trying to figure out what they mean. Who’s your DADDY? (Delivering Annoying Data Due Yesterday). Don’t forget the DABA (Dumb Award for Baddest Acronym).
~ To the Nines ~
Ways To Uncover Fun
Fun means change. Even the most pleasing activities fall into routine if they aren’t infused with variety. Have you ever declined a favorite dish for dinner just because you had it for lunch? Turn any routine upside down, and you may trip over a new idea!
Put a different person in charge.
Do it in a different order or to meet higher standards.
Help do something that isn’t your job and get help with yours in return.
4. New Stakeholders
Invite another department to join in, then return the visit.
5. Back to Basics
Read and summarize the instructions. Make sure to submit a revision for every task that’s now done differently.
6. Call it a Party
Add a funky theme (Hawaiian, pirates, tea party).
7. Or Call It a Dramatic Production
A Shakespeare play or a musical (talent not required).
8. Make it a Contest
Beat the best time, quality mark, or number of participants.
9. Look for the Unimagined
Play “What if…?” Play it with somebody wise enough to really play. “Yeah! And then what if…?”
You can learn do change-ups on activities intended for purposeful fun, but the technique works just as well on work-related tasks. You can always spur creativity and invite hilarity by tossing in a fun element where it isn’t expected. You’ll see that random creative thinking will often find ways to improve your job – and when things at work get better, that’s fun!