Whether you’re sitting behind a desk all day or are toiling away at a more physically-demanding job, odds are, you find yourself stressed out by your work on a regular basis. In fact, work is one of the biggest stressors in the average American’s life, according to the American Psychological Association. And while quitting your job and going off the grid may sometimes seem like the ultimate fantasy, for most of us, doing so isn’t exactly realistic.
Luckily, that doesn’t mean we have to suffer through day after miserable day at work with no end in sight. Using these tips to make your workday more enjoyable can help you beat stress, get more productive, and might even have you looking forward to clocking in.
Start Your Day With a Pump-Up Playlist
Want to feel more motivated every day? Start your day with a playlist that gets you in the groove. In fact, research suggests that athletes who listened to motivational music took more risks, suggesting that a few inspiring tunes could help you think outside the box at work, too.
Create a Cuter Workspace
While there’s probably not much you can do about the fluorescent lighting or the beige walls of your cubicle, you can make every workday more fun by livening up your workspace. Get a few succulents to spruce up your space, add some framed photos of your friends and family, or put up a few fun decorations that make your workspace feel like somewhere you actually want to be.
Swap Out Your Desk Chair
Sitting all day is doing no favors for our waistlines, our cardiovascular health, or our productivity. If you want to make your workday a whole lot more enjoyable, try swapping out your usual seat for an exercise ball instead. In fact, research suggests that using an exercise ball instead of a typical chair increases productivity among students. And what’s more fun than bouncing through your day?
Actually Take Your Lunch Break
If you’re eager to make your workday pass a whole lot faster, try taking every last second of your lunch break, for a change. Not only will taking your lunch break make the day seem significantly shorter, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that taking breaks actually improves focus.
Spruce Up Your Office Wardrobe
Those same sad suits you’ve been wearing day after day probably aren’t your most confidence-inspiring clothes. The solution? Treat yourself to a few fun outfits that you feel great in and you’ll be happier, more confident, and more motivated to get the job done.
Engage in Some Friendly Workplace Competition
A little competition can go a long way when it comes to making your work more enjoyable. Ask your co-worker to see who can get their inbox empty fastest, see who can raise the most money for a charity, or make a friendly bet about who can get a project completed before it’s due—feeling like you’re up against your co-worker will make the day fly by.
Start a Charity Drive
Want to get your whole team inspired and make your workday more enjoyable? Try raising money for a charity together. Contributing to a charity with your co-workers is a great bonding activity and can help you stay motivated and on task as you work together to reach a common goal.
Track Your Tasks With a Productivity App
It can often feel like each day comes with an endless to-do list that you’re just barely chipping away at. But you can use a productivity app, like FocusList, Trello, or Evernote that can help you keep on task and give you a satisfying visual reward whenever you’ve checked off something from your to-do list.
Take Advantage of Work Outings
While those work outings your boss is always trying to get you to go on may seem corny, taking advantage of them may actually make your work life more enjoyable. Taking advantage of the things your boss offers you outside the office can help keep you motivated and eager to keep going back day after day.
Play a Harmless Prank
Work may not always be a thrill ride, but you can make it more fun by playing a few harmless pranks on your co-workers. Put up some funny photos in your co-worker’s cubicle (Nicolas Cage is always a winner), cover their desk in sticky notes, or simply rearrange their workspace in a non-disruptive way to make them giggle.
Grab a Midday Workout
Want to pass the time during that eight-hour grind? Try fitting in a midday workout. Not only will breaking up your day make it go by faster, the endorphin boost you’ll get from your workout will make you feel happier in the long run, too.
Hang Out With Your Co-Workers Outside the Office
You may feel like you want to escape the office as soon as the workday is done, but making time to hang out with your co-workers when work is through may help make work more fun in the long run. Grab a drink with your cubicle mates, train for a 5K with your co-workers, or just walk home together after work and you’ll be on track to building real friendships that can make every day at work more fun.
Get a Trash Can Basketball Hoop
The bad news: that cubicle is here to stay. The good news: you can make it more fun by buying yourself a basketball hoop for your trash can or recycling bin. Every time you’re done with a task and can toss the associated paperwork, you’ll feel like LeBron on the three-point line.
Compliment Your Co-Workers
If you want to improve office morale and make your workday speed by, try complimenting your co-workers from time to time. While compliments about your co-workers’ appearance can go wrong fast, letting them know you like the way they’ve decorated their office, that you thought their work on a recent project was great, or telling them how cute that photo of their kid is certainly won’t go unappreciated.
Give Yourself a Reward for Completed Tasks
Want to keep yourself motivated and keep work fun? Give yourself a reward every time you check a task off your to-do list. Give yourself a small snack, high five a co-worker, or take a lap around the office when you’ve knocked one item off your list.
Do Some Group Exercises
Get your whole office fitter, healthier, and happier by teaming up with your co-workers for some group exercises. Have a push-up contest in the break room, take a run around the block with your co-workers during a break, or simply hit the gym together during lunch—this kind of endorphin-pumping bonding activity will make the day fly by.
Play a Board Game During Your Lunch Hour
A little fun can go a long way at work. To make your workday more enjoyable, team up with some co-workers and play a board game at lunch. Having a regular board game date with your colleagues can give you something to look forward to, as well as helping you bond with the people you’re spending 40-plus hours a week with.
Switch Up Your Work Environment
Want to make your workday go by in a snap? Try changing your scenery once in a while. If your workplace offers you the option to work from home, take them up on it. Even if they don’t, taking your laptop and working in a communal space, on a couch, or switching cubicles with a co-worker can make the day feel a lot more fun.
Make Meditation Part of Your Day
Get into the zen zone and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your day flies by. Meditation apps like Headspace, Aura, MindFi, and Sway can help you be more mindful at work and keep those distractions taking your focus from the task at hand to a minimum.
Turn Casual Fridays Into Theme Days
While casual Friday may mean wearing jeans and sneakers to your co-workers, you can instantly make it more amusing by turning it into a theme day. Dress up like one another, like your favorite movie character, or choose a costume party theme and come to the office in costume. Better yet, put up a prize for best costume and let your co-workers vote for a winner.
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