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5 Ways to Have More Fun at Work

By Lindsey Pollak

It’s no secret that “all work and no play” is a bad idea. But what if you could actually play more at work? Wouldn’t that be the best of both worlds? According to guru Dale Carnegie, fun is not just pleasurable, it’s actually essential for career success: “People rarely succeed,” he once said, “unless they have fun in what they are doing.”

While every minute of every day can’t necessarily be a blast, I wholeheartedly agree with Carnegie. The more you genuinely enjoy your work, the more likely you are to thrive at it.

And there’s no better time to have more fun at work than the summer months, when daylight lasts longer, flowers are blooming everywhere and people are generally in a much better mood.

Here are some suggestions for kicking up your fun quotient:

  1. Do your most boring or unpleasant work first thing in the morning. This is a popular productivity tip and it really works. When you complete your most undesired tasks first, it leaves the rest of your day for the projects you enjoy more. Plus, you save yourself the hours of dreading the boring stuff, which puts you in a better mood. You will be more available for chatting with colleagues or other fun activities.
  1. Leave the office for lunch. According to a survey by the American Dietetic Association, 75 percent of office workers eat lunch at their desks as often as two or three times a week. Many companies offer free or subsidized lunch to encourage this practice even more. While I ‘m certainly guilty of forking salad into my mouth with one hand while typing out emails with the other, I know I feel better on days when I meet a friend for lunch. Even if I leave my office for 15 minutes just to get away from my desk, I notice a difference.

While getting out for lunch every day might be tough (and expensive), make a habit of meeting a friend for lunch at least once a week. Or, organize a lunch outing to a funky restaurant with some colleagues you enjoy spending time with. If you want to get really serious about having more fun at lunch, check out the national Take Back Your Lunch project.

  1. Volunteer to do something different. Another way to add fun to your workday is to get involved in a variety of different projects. Variation is a fantastic cure for boredom. Ask your boss if any new projects are coming up where you could lend a hand or volunteer to solve a problem that no one is working on (such as creating a better system for scheduling conference room usage). You’ll enjoy the challenge and get bonus points for being proactive.
  1. Participate in more “elective” events. Just as school was more fun when you had art class, chorus or woodshop to look forward to, work can be more fun when you participate in non-essential events. If you’re not someone who normally plays in office softball games, joins a big group community service project or participates in March Madness brackets, why not give these sorts of things a try? Besides being a way to network with your colleagues, participating in these activities lets you see another side of people you interact with every—a side you might really enjoy.
  1. Celebrate achievements large and small. While most offices have a little cake and a few balloons for birthdays, most don’t take time to celebrate work successes. Next time you’re working on a challenging project, planning a big event or working towards any goal, decide in advance on a fun way you’ll honor the “win.” This might involve ordering in a really good meal for everyone on the team, going out as a group to a mid-day movie, bringing in a massage therapist or doing pretty much anything that would feel exciting and special. You’ll not only enjoy the prize itself, you’ll also enjoy the anticipation leading up to it.

What other ways have you found to add more fun to your days? Please share!