200 Hours Not Wasted

The average person spends approximately 200 hours waking hours at work every month! Wouldn’t you say that this is a significant amount of time to dedicate to a particular thing? Given the value of time it’s important to question how valuable do we find our work. From my experience most of my clients would agree that doing mundane and meaningless work is unfulfilling and often dreadful! Seriously who wants to dedicate 200 hours towards an unfulfilling task? So ask yourself:

Am I engaged in the work that I do? Does it align with my core values and strengths? And how, if at all, does it bring meaning to my life? These questions are perhaps tough to explore but necessary towards making meaningful changes on the job.

The following ideas are research-driven ways in which you can create more engagement and meaningful experiences at work.

Connect work to your purpose and core strengths. Researcher Amy Wrzesniewki recommends “Job Crafting”, which is basically redesigning aspects of your job. For example, you might ask How can I tailor my responsibilities to leverage my strengths?
Shifting your perspective to see the learning opportunities presented to you. Take the initiative to learn something new and develop additional skill sets that can help your personal and/or professional growth journey. Further, take the time to honor your progress. Making and recognizing progress helps us to feel more motivated to continue our endeavors. You can build a “progress-practice” by tracking 1-3 things that went well at work either on a daily or weekly basis.
Connect with others at work. We are often more committed and engaged when we experience a sense of belonging to a community.
Prioritize positive emotional experiences at work. Researcher Barbara Fredrickson suggests that positive emotions broaden people’s mode of thinking and in turn builds their personal and social resources, which can be beneficial in managing work-related stress. This can also be seen as “job crafting” Craft the time and energy you spend at work forming and developing meaningful connections and reduce the time you spend engaged in unpleasant social interactions.

For Further Reflection

Recall a time or situation at work in which you felt unfulfilled (this may even be the situation today) Using the above mentioned sources of meaning can you explore some fresh ways you may approach this situation to bring about more meaning to the work that you do? Which strategy are you most willing to experiment with?