6 ways to find joy at your job

If you’re like me, your job doesn’t excite you much. Long hours of monotonous tasks make you excited about only one thing. Leaving. Perhaps the job you’re in right now is just a stepping stone to something better. For most of us, we are working towards a career in something we’re passionate about, something we’ll enjoy doing every minute between eight and five. For others, the career choice they made is now being regretted and they want a change. But in the meantime, there is work to be done at our current jobs and there is s joy to be had in each one. Take a look at these tips to find out how you can have more satisfaction joy at work.

 Stay well rested

This may seem off topic but it’s actually very important. The job you have may not be great but your attitude toward it will help determine how much you enjoy it.  9 times out of 10 when I’m having a bad day at work, it is because I’m tired and I’d rather be sleeping. My energy often takes a downturn halfway through the day and with that also goes my attitude.

Nothing ruins motivation and mood like fatigue.

Have you ever gotten up in the middle of the night to work out? Imagine rolling out of bed, eyes still halfway shut, and doing pushups next to your bed. There would not be a single ounce of motivation inside of you to do it, and if you actually did get out of bed then you’d be questioning why that decision was made in the first place. Of course, you’ve probably never done this because sleep time and workout time are not meant to be intertwined.  They are separate for a reason and it’s the same with your job.

I used to work in the food industry. Every day at the end of my shift I felt like I got hit by a bus. I was so exhausted. But I would only hit that wall of exhaustion by the end of my shift, and it didn’t matter by that point because I was headed home to rest. At this time of my life, I was also in school. During finals week, I was up until 3 in the morning every night studying for my exams. I faced a harsh reality during this week — it was actually quite obvious but I’d just never considered it before. Two or three hours into my shifts, I would hit that wall of exhaustion. I wanted more than anything to sit down and take a break but obviously, I couldn’t do that. I still had two or three hours left on my shift.

This might have been the worst week I ever had working there. I’d go home and almost fall asleep immediately after plopping on the couch. In this specific situation, my discontent at work was caused by my lack energy which I’d already put towards studying for finals. But this wasn’t the only week I ever had like that. Other weeks, the shrinking threshold of my exhaustion window was self-inflicted, caused by staying out all night with friends or watching Netflix until I physically couldn’t stay awake. These times I could’ve easily avoided it and I certainly would’ve enjoyed my work more.

Don’t sacrifice sleep at night for a positive attitude during the workday.

Baby steps

For many people, their current job is merely an income until their dream career is attained. But a secure income stream from the wrong job is a danger to dreams. We can easily be overcome by complacency when working an everyday job– and although the work may be dissatisfying, a secure paycheck that satisfies the bills can be captivating.

If you have a dream job, do not stop working towards it until you reach it. Some days will be tougher than others; it may even seem completely out of reach sometimes. In those times, you must remember to take baby steps. Even just 10 minutes a day working towards your dream job is beneficial in the long run.

For example, say your ideal job is to be a software programmer for Google. All of your free time, saving family and recreation time should be applied towards learning more about that topic. Spend as much time as you can healthily spare — even if it’s just 10 minutes a day — learning different coding languages and mastering your skills. Not a lot of progress will be made in one week, but by week 30 your programming abilities will have developed considerably. Eventually, the skill you spent 10 minutes a day working on will become polished enough to land you a position at Google.

The time factor here is different in all situations. It could be 5 weeks or 5 years. It may be that your dream job is incredibly difficult to achieve and each step seems impossible, but remember — if you take a single step every day, eventually you will move a mile.

Be a leader

A common problem I see with those who are discontent with their work is a lack of involvement. They are disconnected with many facets, including the social aspect of their work environment. Being dedicated to a job means doing every task to the best of your ability and committing yourself to the wellbeing of the other employees. If you’ve worked with someone for months and you still don’t know them very well, there is a problem. You might think to become a leader entails more responsibilities, and maybe so. If the supervisor notices your effort they may decide to give you more daily tasks — which often comes with increased pay. Do not shy away from this, as more responsibility is always better than less in the long run. Refrain, to the best of your ability, from complaining about your job; speaking ill of your situation will only deteriorate your desire for work and cause further discontent.

Even if your work is very basic or entry level, investing in the job will undoubtedly spur your interest at least to the point where you can do your work with joy. Nobody likes a gloomy fellow employee or boss, so be the upbeat energy to the workplace that may be needed. Never pass up an opportunity to help a fellow worker in need because that will bring you the most joy.

Always give yourself something to look forward to

When working at a job where you often contemplate leaving, a great encouragement is being able to think about something you get to do when you’re off work. An incentive of some kind like seeing a movie with friends or going on a weekend trip will do wonders in raising your spirits. Some days, merely getting through the workday is an extreme task. Perhaps you would do well with daily incentives to get you through. I always found that a big weekly incentive helped provide me a better mood while I was working through a tough week.

Let me be clear, this incentive should not be the only thing that gives you any joy throughout the day — even if your job is scrubbing bathroom floors. This should simply be a motivation to get you through the toughest tasks, the lowest lows of the week.

Make yourself feel at home

If at all possible in your job, it’s a great idea to decorate your workspace with objects that reflect your personality. For example, if you love star wars, put a Darth Vader bobblehead on your desk. By personalizing your area, you create a space where you feel comfortable and can easily reflect on things you enjoy when you’re completing

a task you don’t enjoy. Always take some time out of your day, whether it’s at lunch or otherwise, to sit and think about those things surrounding your workspace. This approach isn’t necessarily about showing off your stuff to others, but rather giving yourself a sense of identity at a job that may seem to detract it.

Write it down

Throughout the workday, you may have times where you begin to feel stressed beyond your limit. Perhaps something happened that took away your joy and motivation for the day. On days like this, I encourage you to — upon getting home —  get a journal and write down everything. All of it. Just write it down and get it all out of your head. The more we dwell on negative things the more they eat away at us. Take some time — even just 10 minutes — and get it all out of your system. The anger, fear, sadness, and stress can all be expressed on a page. Writing it down gets it out of your brain’s compartment where it holds worries and stresses.

Maybe just write down something you are thankful for at work. It might be a co-worker that you enjoy being around or maybe a certain task you get to do. Find the good in your day and write it down. When you are having a tough time, go back and read what you wrote to help you lift your spirits.

Not every job will be able to apply every one of these, but try a few of them to gauge their effect on your workday. Overall, just remember to love and care for the people around you, and always count them as more significant than yourself.

Tell me in the comments about your work situation. What are you going to do about it?

5 tips to remember your dreams tonight

Dreams are such a mystery. They come and go, night after night, with little to no recollection of their contents or significance. Everyone dreams, but not everyone remembers what their dreams were about. What would happen if we started to remember the things we dream about? What experiences would we have? Would we learn more about ourselves, or would we simply open up another door to an exceedingly vast sphere of mystery? I guess you never know unless you try.

Here are 5 tips to remember your dreams more clearly tonight:

1. Sleep More

This may sound obvious, but there is research that backs it. On average, we dream 4-6 times each night. The y can be long or short, detailed or dull. The goal of dream recall is to remember more of the details to even the dull dreams.

 

After 8 hours of sleep, we often experience up to 45 minutes of dreaming. That’s why we often have long and detailed dreams right before we wake up. Our minds are most likely to have dreams when we enter REM(rapid eye movement sleep). In the last minutes before we wake up, our body has entered a very deep REM cycle that prompts some awesome dreams.

Most people don’t get 8 hours of sleep every night. I don’t either. But if you want to have more REM cycles, you need to sleep more. It’s that simple.

 

2. Wake up in the middle of the night

Set an alarm for 5 hours after you go to sleep. You’re first REM cycle typically starts 4.5 hours after you actually fall asleep — so you should have gotten a solid 30 minutes of quality dreaming in. When you wake up, immediately start recalling what you remember. Take note of images, colors, sounds — and especially dialogue. The more you intentionally recall your dream details, the better you train your brain to do it naturally. Researchers suggest it’s easier to remember a dream when we wake up directly from it. This means that more often than not, you’ll be waking up in the middle of the night.

I know what you’re thinking — that sounds achingly unattractive. Who wants to disrupt a good night sleep halfway through? I understand.

But if you are serious about digging into your subconscious and remembering your dreams, you’re going to have to get a little uncomfortable.

3. Write it down

I’m sure you’ve heard of a dream journal. Many people do it simply because they love journaling, and their dreams give them something to journal about. But the main purpose of writing down your dreams is so that you can refer back to it later. Referring back to past dreams could help produce some reoccurring ones. Dreams that replay over and over again — or have a recurring aspect — are easily identified by the dreamer, making them a key piece in recalling dreams.

Keep pen and paper next to your bed. When you wake up from a dream — either in the middle of the night or in the morning — write down everything you remember about that dream. And I mean EVERYTHING. Where were you? What were you doing? Who was there? Try to recall specifics and rebuild the dream again in your head and on paper.  You can even take it a step further and write down specific things from your dreams on your bathroom mirror, in your car, or on the ceiling above your bed.

If you want, you can work on your memory recalling skills by remembering things you did in the waking day. Write down what you ate for breakfast or what color your best friends lunchbox was. Recreate real-life situations on paper, and you will learn to do the same thing with your dreams.

 

4. Instruct your brain to remember your dreams

When you lie in bed at night, your brain is playing a slideshow of the day’s activities. It makes a note of everything you’ve gotten done during the day and puts more things on the to-do list. What you want to do is put ‘remember my dreams’ on the night’s to-do list.

It turns out that our subconscious minds are highly suggestive. While you are drifting off, repeat something like “I remember all my dreams” over and over again. Use the present tense — instead of saying something like “I recalled my dream yesterday” — because you’re trying to convince your mind to think a certain way.

What this does is send a command to your brain instructing it to remember the dreams you have. And while you won’t be consciously remembering, your subconscious will hear the command too and act accordingly. It sounds quite elementary, I know, but it works!

 

5. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine before sleep

As you can guess, these depressants — or stimulants — restrain your body from entering REM sleep, the type of sleep where dreams occur most frequently. Alcohol can also suppress your memory which will obviously affect your dream recall. If you can avoid coffee or alcohol for the entire day, that would be ideal. But if you can’t go without and still want to remember some dreams, just make sure it’s been 8 or so hours since the last sip. For more on how coffee affects your dreams, check out my other post: How does caffeine affect dreams?

Remembering your dreams isn’t an easy task. That’s probably why you looked up how.

Try using all of these tips collectively and watch the dreams start flooding in like the Mill River:)

Also, make sure to comment and tell me how they worked for you!