I’m a firm believer that work should be fun. Hopefully lots of it.
However, we all know there are way to many tasks, even in a fun job, that simply are no fun to do. Anything you have to do routinely, for example, can be a drag. Checking and responding to e-mail, answering the phone, doing your accounting, etc. These things are, by simple nature, not a whole lot of fun. But that doesn’t have to be. Adding a little play into your day can make things quite a bit better.
h3. Some Simple Ways To Work and Play
* Have toys at your desk. They can be a handy distraction and a way to spark creativity. You might not want to go as far as I do (I’ve got toys everywhere) but one or two can give you a much needed diversion. Yo-yos are great.
* Do things backwards. For example, when I’m going through my e-mail, I’ll go bottom up. Sounds simple, but even a little change can be kind of fun.
* Get outside. When I used to do tech support for Microsoft (another life) hitting the basketball court at lunch was all that kept me sane.
* Wear a funny hat or outfit. Better yet, have a “funny hat day”.
* Reward with fun. Help your coworkers play by rewarding them in fun ways. Sometimes things like little toys and fun games can be even better than free food. Plus it’s better for you.
* Compete. I think the role of competition is important on the job, just don’t take it to seriously. It can be informal, like challenging a coworker to some kind of creative or output based competition. Or, it can be formal, like seeing who can get the most “stars” for being on-time to meetings.
* Laugh and joke. Get a joke of the day sent to your e-mail. Share it with your coworkers. I used to pass around my daily Dilbert calendar. Sharing a laugh can go a long way towards having more fun at work.
* Build friendships at work. This isn’t always easy. I’ve worked at several jobs where I didn’t connect on a personal level with my coworkers. It makes it much harder to come in every day. Try and get out to lunch, or for an afterwork beer, with you colleagues. It really, really helps.
* Play a practical joke on your coworkers. One of the best I’ve heard: hook a “clapper” on/off switch to a coworkers monitor. Watch office hilarity erupt. Just be sure and be respectful. Pick the right person and don’t let it go on forever.
* Make a mental game out of your tasks. Make rules for how you do something. Write on the whiteboard with your opposite hand during a meeting. Pretend your e-mail is a horde of space invaders. Whatever works. ;0)
* Choose an attitude towards work that promotes fun. I’ve found that if I spend a bit of my day having fun, I do much better when it comes to getting my job done well. Sometimes having fun is simple–you just choose to have fun.