What I Learned from Donald Miller About Having Fun at Work

I’ve worked a lot of jobs in my life—everything from food service to retail to barista to owning my own business. And the thing I’ve learned from working all those jobs is that there is no perfect job that will make your life feel complete.

Of course, some jobs are better than others—they fit your skill set or your life stage or your personality  better. But all jobs are full of things we love and don’t love.

The key to enjoying your job is not in the job itself, but your mindset.

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Photo Credit: Alan Turkis, Creative Commons

Still, as much as I understood that as a concept, it didn’t change the fact that I was still having a really hard time enjoying my work on a day-to-day basis. Some days, I felt like I was in heaven. Other days, it felt like hell. And I honestly didn’t feel like I had any control over which was which.

This was really distressing to me for obvious reasons, but the biggest one was that I have given up so much to do what I was doing—to be a writer. I had moved away from my hometown, sold all of my possessions, and given up the safety of a regular paycheck so I could do what I loved.

So how come some days I was still miserable?

I started using the Storyline Productivity Schedule a few months ago, and it was helpful for me in a few ways. It did make me more productive and efficient in my work.

But what felt most important for me was that it actually helped me enjoy my work day.

It was the craziest thing. The schedule has you make a few lists each morning, and although the lists were simple, what I found was that one of the lists was directly connected to how much fun I had while I was working. If I made this list in the morning, I enjoyed my work day. If I didn’t make the list, the day could go either way, like before.

The list was simply this: What are you looking forward to today?

My list of things I was looking forward to was often filled with simple, mundane things. They were things like “going for a run,” “making dinner,” or “a trip to the grocery store.” But the important shift here was that, before making this list, these exact activities would usually go on a different list.

They were on my “to-do” list.

So, instead of enjoying them, I simply had “to-do” them, and I felt like I was in a race against the clock to get them done. It was almost like I forgot to enjoy them, because they were on the wrong list.

It’s stupid, I know, but making that list each day has really helped me.

It helped me pace myself, remember to enjoy the things I actually love and to reward myself with healthy breaks along the way.

Your list will look different than mine, of course, but you get the gist. What would happen if you made a list of things you were looking forward to during your work day?

Maybe you wouldn’t forget to enjoy it.

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