Most of us aren’t idealistic enough to expect to be able to do what we love for a living—doing what we like most of the time is good enough. But what happens when you look forward to a day at work as much as you look forward to a rectal examination?
Unless you’re willing to settle for a lifetime of misery, you’d better either look for another job or learn to hate your job less. Here are four tactics that can help your work day pass much more pleasantly—they might not turn your job into a calling, but can certainly contribute to your enjoyment of your work.
Stop multitasking and concentrate
If you’re one of those people who takes pride in having the ability to multitask, don’t be so smug just yet. Multitasking has been shown to not only damage your productivity, but also to make it harder to pay attention to the task at hand. An inability to focus makes you restless and adds tedium to an otherwise innocuous task.
If trying to complete a task at work has ever had you dragging your feet, toggling incessantly to Facebook on your browser, checking Whatsapp and taking frequent breaks from the computer to gossip with your colleagues, you’ve already experienced how distractedly trying to do many things at once makes time crawl by.
On the other hand, when you’re in ‘the zone’ and able to give your work your full concentration, time flies by and you feel a lot more satisfaction to have completed your tasks for the day in the most efficient way possible. Quit multitasking and give whatever you’re doing your full concentration, whether it’s drafting a document or enjoying a kopi during lunch break, and you’ll feel better.
Find a refuge to retreat to when you need a break
Anyone who works full-time will tell you that mastering your actual work isn’t the only challenge you’ll face as an employee. Managing your energy levels and emotions, and dealing with the people around you can be even more difficult than learning how to be proficient at your job.
If you are capable of maintaining high energy levels throughout the day and love having frequent interaction with your coworkers, bosses and clients, good for you. But those who need a break from the office from time to time in order to keep themselves sane would do well to find a refuge where they can sneak off for a short break from time to time when work gets too overwhelming.
Many office buildings in the CBD have a rooftop garden that can be reached by anyone who works there, even if most of the employees don’t know it exists. Venture up to the top floor of your building and then check the stairwell to see if you can climb up to the roof. Some employees prefer to nip downstairs for a kopi at a favourite coffee shop, while others hide out in their company’s lounge or an unused room when they need some downtime.
Decorate your desk or office
Your office may not be home, but it might as well be, judging by the fact that you spend even more time there than you do in your actual abode. Sure, it might not be decorated with the beautiful furniture pieces you personally picked out after your renovation. But if your workplace looks so depressing that you yearn to reach for the phone to dial the SOS hotline the moment you sit down at your desk, you can make yourself feel better by making your surroundings a little less pff-putting.
If you spend the work day surrounded by cubicle walls, cover them with reminders of the things and people you love. At least that way you’ll have something to look at when your boss is talking over your head. Photos, posters, postcards and ornaments are all fair game. If you’re always dreaming of your next vacation, pin postcards from your favourite destinations to your cubicle wall. A former colleague of mine worked for years basking in the gaze of a Shah Rukh Khan poster.
Listen to music at your desk
Those who work in open concept offices are no strangers to complaints that it’s incredibly distracting having to listen to the conversations of everyone around you. Even if you’re lucky enough to have your own room, you might not be free from noise pollution altogether—I once had my own office in a former job, but found that the voice of my next-door neighbour, who was constantly talking to clients and subordinates, was loud enough to travel into my room.
Listening to music at your desk not only allows you to block out noise pollution, it also makes you feel as if you’re in your own little world—which can be a huge relief if you’re feeling stressed out or need to focus. Prepare playlists for different types of tasks—classical music for you when you have to concentrate, something more upbeat for when you’re feeling bored and death metal when your boss is on a rampage.
How do you make the work day pass more enjoyably? Tell us in the comments!