When was the last time you were truly having fun (at work, outside of work, or both)? Like really, really had fun? Was it surprising? You may have thought, “Wow that was fun—I want to do that more!”
We often don’t think of fun as something we can cultivate, but it is. And it’s important that we do so. Because fun is a big part of greatness—if you’re not having fun, you’ll slowly but surely lose energy and motivation.
However, like any desire, you can’t just wish for it. You need to take proactive steps toward building what it is you want. You also need clarity for the nuances of what it is you want—what’s fun for one person might not be for another. These are two powerful ingredients to creating more fun in your work life:
- Awareness: What is your own definition of fun? What makes something fun for you? Write down as much detail as you can about the last super-fun event or moment you experienced. What were the key ingredients?
For example, I realized the reason I had so much fun hanging out with a new friend is because we were laughing non-stop. I was reminded how much I love laughing—especially the type of belly laughing that occurred with this friend. It just brings me so much joy. So, I made it a priority. In addition to committing to spending more time with this specific friend, I’ve also made a point of becoming more aware of the friends and coworkers who I laugh or don’t laugh with. As a result, I’ve been able to consciously bring more laughter (and thus fun) into my life.
- Intention: Once you’re clear on what fun means to you, take action. Be innovative and proactive about how you can create or seek out situations, people, or events that will be fun for you. Be strategic and make it a part of your work life.
For instance, over the past year, I started working with both cofounders of a company to help them operate at their peak both individually and together (in the same session). This service offering was born from noticing that I had a lot of fun in sessions with two people. It’s now one of my most powerful and valuable offerings.
You may feel that having fun is a nice-to-have, especially when it comes to work, but it’s actually essential to great performance. Having fun and being excited increases the brain activity of the neurons associated with pleasure, reward, motivation, learning, thinking, memory, and attention.
Bottom line: Fun is probably more important than many other things you’ve prioritized in your life. It’s not a luxury. It’s a critical component of great performance, and it’s good for your mental and physical health.
Curious to understand if you’re having enough fun at work? Take the quiz below to understand:
Are You Having Enough Fun at Work?
Answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions to get a clearer answer. When it comes to work, specifically…
- Have you laughed out loud at least three times in the past week?
- Do you often leave meetings feeling inspired and energized?
- Do you frequently wake up excited about the work day ahead of you?
- When you initiate or are assigned new projects, do you regularly feel engaged with the goals, process, and group of people you’re collaborating with?
- Do you find events (virtual or in-person) that your organization, manager, or team plans fun?
If you answered yes…
- 4-5 times: You’re having fun. Keep it up!
- 2-3 times: You’re having some fun at work, but you could use more.
- 0-1 times: You are struggling to experience fun at work. This is something to focus on and cultivate.
How to Have More Fun at Work
If your scores were on the lower end, here’s a three-step process you can leverage to have more fun:
- Make a list of work tasks you find fun and colleagues who you always have fun with and/or make you laugh hysterically.
- Rate each activity and person from 1-10, with 10 being the most fun, and write down why you think the task or person is fun.
- Review your insights. What surprises you? What did you learn? Then make time for the top three activities or people this week and next.
There you have it! Three simple steps to infusing more fun into your daily workday. I’d love to hear how this goes for you and if you have any more tips for having more fun at work.