CAREER TIPS - This One Easy Habit Will Make You Better (and Happier) at Work
A recent survey of over 2,000 American professionals across 26 industries found that employees experience more satisfaction at work when their jobs feel meaningful. The same survey found that raises and promotions are more common among employees who find their work meaningful; these workers also tend to be harder working and more productive.
These findings leave little room for doubt that actively finding purpose in our work every day is the single best thing we can do for our careers. But knowing this and actually applying it are two different things. That’s why we need to learn to exercise a little something I like to call the “meaningfulness habit.”
How to Embrace the Meaningfulness Habit at Work
It works like this: Any time you’re starting a new task, take a moment to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? What meaning can I give to this task?”
We take a moment at each transition throughout the day to ask ourselves why we’re doing something before we do it, we can inject more meaning into the task at hand and make ourselves more motivated to complete it.
Not every task needs to be connected to world peace—it just needs to give you some positive feeling, identifiable with perhaps a slight smile, a sense of satisfaction, or a heightened ability to focus.
Here are some other examples:
Why am I going to give this presentation? To help get more support for this project I believe in.
Why am I going to clean up my inbox? To reduce my stress levels and feel lighter before I go home.
Why am I going to fill out this spreadsheet? To keep track of our records so our team functions efficiently.
Why am going to attend this meeting? To support the people I work with and offer help where I can.
Even if we’re not tangibly building something - there can still be meaning behind it. It may be a stepping stone to something greater; it may be an opportunity to be an example to others; it may be a creative outlet; it may be a way to support our retirement. No reason is a bad one.
Ultimately, whatever we’re doing, there’s a reason why (otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it). Which is good news because that means there’s always meaning (and happiness) to be found.
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