Employee engagement is major news in the business journals. Is it up? Is it down? How do you get more of it?
Engaged employees are productive employees, so there is a good reason for organizations to focus on increasing their engagement.
But there’s an equally good reason for you to pay attention.
How much time do you spend at work? Thinking about work?
This is a major part of your life, and if you’re really going to thrive, you need to be happy there.
Here are 4 tips to feel more engaged in your work.
Think about how often you find yourself going over every mistake you have made. The silly thing you said 5 years ago, the $10 you shouldn’t have spent, the question you answered wrong.
Now, think about how often you find yourself going over all the things you did right – remembering to lock the door, to put money into your 401K every paycheck, and to show affection for your loved ones before bed.
Not often enough.
This is because you have a negativity bias. The human brain is primed to pay special attention to mistakes and dangers and to shrug off the more positive things in life.
The reason is simple: Don’t pay attention to a flower or a beautiful butterfly, you’re fine. Don’t notice a tiger or a snake, you’re dead.
Luckily, we can make a conscious effort to overcome this bias. By doing so, we feel more engaged and enlivened by what we’re doing. We do this by celebrating our successes.
Take the time to acknowledge things that go right at work. To make your triumph extra meaningful, ask others to join in your celebrations.
To feel engaged, we have to feel that we are acting with a purpose. What are your highest values? How do they relate to what you’re doing at work?
You may feel like you work for a paycheck. And that’s true to an extent. But the more you focus on that as your primary motivator, the less you will get out of work.
Finding purpose at work isn’t as hard as it may seem. What does your organization produce? Whom are you serving? Don’t think of a faceless crowd. Try to find stories about the meaningful impact you and your company create for individuals and their communities.
If you’re not sure where to start, ask Google. “Why I love working in…” Customer service, technology, landscaping, and marketing are full of people who find their jobs thrilling and meaningful.
Focus on Your Overall Well-Being
Blaming our problems on some outside force is convenient. Whether it’s our jobs, our parents, or society at large, we point to some external power and say, “It’s them.” We relinquish responsibility.
But that’s almost never the best way to handle your life.
Instead, you should take responsibility for yourself. Look at every arena of your life and ask yourself: Am I reaching my potential? Am I even doing the basics to be a happy person?
You may find it tough to admit that you aren’t sleeping right or you aren’t eating right. You may say you keep trying—and maybe you do, but that isn’t the point. You need to put systems in place to maintain and improve your overall well-being.
Want to be happier at work? Be a happier person? Turn off the screen at least 2 hours before bed. Don’t eat junk all day. Find a social group to connect with.
Share Your Skills
Getting validation from management is great. You want your boss and your co-workers to recognize the time and effort you put into doing your job.
But we can’t always have that.
What we can always have is our own validation. You know you’re doing a good job. Acknowledge your expertise and share it with others.
Are there mentorship opportunities you can volunteer for at work? Is there a project that you can join or initiate to show off your strengths? Are there speaking or writing opportunities where you can teach others in your field?
Teaching is meaningful. It allows you to learn something twice. It also validates—if someone else wants to spend their time and money to learn what I know, these skills must be useful.
These 4 tips are just to get you started. Remember that you are ultimately responsible for being engaged at work—and in every other part of your life. Nobody else can fix this – only you can.
Before you click out of this screen, download my guide below and write down at least one thing you will do to be more engaged at work tomorrow.