I have written before about my dog and as I write this now, he is lying on the floor next to me, fast asleep in the dappled October sunshine.
He doesn’t care that it was raining yesterday and that tomorrow I’ll have to put him on a lead when we walk near the wood with the pheasants. He just cares about the sun on his nose and the (dried, smelly) dog food in his belly. He is well and truly living for today, gently snoring by my feet.
Us human beings find this infinitely harder to do. Ok, we’re not all as simple as a dog but it is difficult to be completely engaged with our lives, especially our work lives. Without this engagement we may end up longing for the good old times or daydreaming of a different job in the future and not appreciating the present. Monster.com in a recent survey quoted that two out of three of us have these dreams on a daily basis.
How can we be more engaged? Ask yourself whether your current role plays to your strengths. We are far more likely to be engaged if we feel we’re doing a good job. If it doesn’t play to your strengths, look to see if you can change certain aspects of it and speak up to your manager. Which brings me to point number 2.
You will never feel fully engaged unless you speak up about the projects/tasks/relationships that are important to you. People may not know that you are interested in certain tasks and they certainly won’t unless you tell them.
In order to let your working life not just slide pass you into what you may see as a pool of monotony, you need to take some kind of action (occasionally of the hell bent for glory variety). This may be putting yourself forward for a new challenge or seeing the job(s) that you do as an opportunity. Your role, for example, may involve a repetitive process but could you re-engineer this process? Make the process the best that it can be which will free up your time to take on other more interesting things.
As individuals, we need to feel appreciated and needed by those around us. One great way to do this for others is to provide unsolicited positive feedback to someone’s line manager. This will also have the knock on effect of making us feel better as well. If you work for yourself or in a small company, do this feedback on your own recent performance for tasks that went well. Make a list of your recent achievements, what made them so good and how you went about doing it. This can be particularly powerful when you’re feeling demotivated about your own business as you are highlighting to yourself why you do it in the first place
Taking action may put you right outside your comfort zone but can you imagine what it would be like if you’re having the same day dream about a different job 1, 2 or even 5 years down the line?