It may seem counter intuitive for a productivity expert to promote having more fun in the workplace but try to bear with me for a moment.
You see, I’ve mentioned before that the biggest threat to our productivity is ourselves and that, in order to build a good foundation for life-altering productivity, we need to get some control over our emotions. Procrastination, the largest time-suck of them all, is generally driven by fear and anxiety. Guess what helps reduce fear and anxiety?! Fun!
Not only will having more fun at work enable you to reduce fear and anxiety, it will also help you build teamwork (good for productivity) and more trusting relationships (good for communication and, thus, productivity).
But wait! How can I possibly have fun doing (insert crappy job here)? Well, let’s be honest, not every job is a joy to behold BUT, as an Accountant I can attest to the fact that there can be a fun environment in any situation. Having fun at work isn’t about what you are actually doing but more about the state of mind that you, and your coworkers, are in.
Once upon a time, in a Commercial Print Shop far, far away, I received a copy of the classic management book Fish! By Steven Lundin. It described, via a wonderful narrative, an actual workplace of fishmongers who had fun everyday on the job and were indisputably, incredibly productive. If I’m being honest, I didn’t think much of it at the time but now, years later, of all of the environments I’ve work in, that was the most fun.
Now I am aware that you can’t always change your environment and that fun-sucking managers, coworkers, and customers lurk around a lot of corners. But, people do tend to play follow-the-leader when it comes to our emotions. Sometimes (not always) you can lead the way by example and others will follow suit. If not, well at least you tried.
There are four key concepts of the Fish philosophy.
- You get to choose your attitude. It may be shocking to admit but, with few exceptions, we pretty much have complete control over how we react to things and how happy we are.
- Play! You can make a game out of almost any job (even Accounting) and a little humour can go a long way to having a great day. Some bosses may think you are goofing off so make sure you are still being productive!
- Be there. Being present and in the moment is a great way to relieve anxiety (Mindfulness meditation anyone?) and that feeling of being in the zone is enhanced when you are focused on the job you are doing or the person you are helping.
- Make their day. Throwing a healthy dose of generosity into the mix has a lot of positives. One of the greatest secrets to happiness is actually making other people happy. Seeing that smile on their face can boost your mood like nothing else.
Have a fun week!