For some people, work is their reason for being, and finding meaning at work is not hard.
For most of us, however, that is simply not the case.
To the majority, work is a means to an end – a way to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads.
It can sometimes be hard to last the many hours the workplace eats out of our lives.
Sometimes we just want to throw up our hands, throw in the towel or throw ourselves in front of the closest passing bus.
How to find more meaning at work
The problem is that not being satisfied at work has a way of leaking into the rest of our lives.
For example, it might poison relations with loved ones, making it hard for us to enjoy those bits of time away from the grindstone.
When things get really bad, slip into our dreams and have us running around there before the day hasn’t even started.
Of course, because work isn’t the reason, that doesn’t mean it can’t have some kind of meaning.
It’s just a matter of finding, creating, or introducing it.
Here are five fantastic ways for you to do just that.
Find what gives you meaning at work and bring that in
Don’t wait for the job to give you meaning.
Instead, import the meaning.
What I mean by that is that you look to your own life, to what you find gives you meaning there, then try to find some way to bring that into your work.
So if you’re about helping people, then find out how your job gives you the possibility to help.
Or, if your life is about being creative, find ways to be more creative at your job.
One great way to do this is to actually sit down and consider what is important to you.
Then try to think of a few new ways to bring that into your job, even if it’s only in small ways.
So, for example, if your meaning is discovering the world, then sit down and find out what five things you can still discover at your place of work that you haven’t yet discovered.
Then, the next week, find five new things you can try to discover.
Work towards your strengths
We all have things that we’re good at.
Doing those things makes what we’re doing far more enjoyable and meaningful.
So, similarly to importing meaning, ensure you play towards your strengths.
This means that you first write down what you are particularly good at.
Then find new and interesting ways to bring that into your work.
What also helps greatly here is to get other people involved.
You can ask for help from other people with those tasks that you’re not particularly good at.
Similarly, you can work with somebody with a different skill set who has to do similar tasks.
You both divide the work so that you’re doing more of your skill set.
This will make both of your lives easier and more interesting.
Make friends to find meaning at work
We’re social creatures.
That’s why we’re at the top of the food chain.
That’s why we’ve reached beyond our little planet.
That’s possibly why we’re self-aware.
Many of us, however, spend our time at work trying to block off this aspect of ourselves.
No wonder we struggle to find meaning and enjoy our work!
Instead, take the time to be social and make friends.
You’ll feel better about yourself, enjoy going to work more, and be generally happier.
What’s more, it’s been demonstrated that when employees get along, they are more productive, take less time off work, and the company’s turnover rate is much reduced.
In other words, it’s also good for your employer (in case they start nagging you).
Be More Creative
Creativity is wonderful, and that’s true for artists and everybody.
Once you view the world more creatively, you can break the barriers that keep you from the rut that is most people’s lives and explore the little pleasures that are hidden all around you.
Creativity breaks the chains of mundanity.
So, become more creative in all aspects of your life (as creativity will not allow itself to be switched off).
Try to import a few into your workplace and enjoy finding the hidden pleasures that are certain to be there.
See things more holistically
We’ve all done it, get so narrow in our focus that we’re no longer aware of what’s happening outside our little bubble.
There is no better way to alienation and dissatisfaction than thinking of yourself as a meaningless cog in a pointless machine.
So instead, take the time to figure out how what you do matters to the company you work for and take a more overarching view of what’s happening.
Take ownership of what you’re doing and how what you’re contributing becomes part of that whole.
Pay attention to the processes around you, where a group can create things nobody can do independently.
Try to understand, explore, and then share your enthusiasm with others.
After all, you never know what good might come of you, demonstrating positivity and a deep understanding of what is happening around you.
Don’t get boxed in
When we don’t enjoy our job, we stop paying attention to what’s going on and what is possible.
We close ourselves off to possibilities and meaning.
And down that road, dissatisfaction lies.
Instead, since you’ll spend as much time as you do there anyway, why not explore the wonder?
Committing yourself to do so doesn’t cost anything, nor does it mean committing yourself to stay where you are forever.
It is simply a matter of trying to make your situation better and more meaningful.
Now, what could ever be wrong with that?
So don’t wait for the meaning to come to you.
Instead, embrace and bring meaning into your life and everybody else’s.
And yes, that might not be easy, but could you imagine a mission more worthwhile?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.