It isn’t possible to enjoy ourselves tomorrow or yesterday; it’s only possible to enjoy ourselves now. One of the most wonderful things about being mindful, about being truly alive, is that it places us in the present moment and therefore makes life enjoyable.
Work is like any other vital activity in our lives: it can be a great adventure or an ordeal, depending on how we see it and depending on our state of consciousness when we do it.
To remind ourselves that it’s natural to enjoy our work all we need to do is to forget our ideas that interfere with our working enjoyment, such as that we need to struggle to succeed.
Why Working Should Be Fun – No Matter What Your Job Is
Why do anything we don’t enjoy? Why live, why love, why work — why do anything that gets in the way of our natural state? Do children say, ‘Well, damn it all! I’d rather stay in bed but I suppose I’d better get up and play because that’s what’s expected of me …’?
We might think that reality is a lot grimmer than something that gives us a wonderful opportunity to do what we love, and to love what we do, but how grim our working life is depends more on our state of consciousness than on our external circumstances.
Ultimately, the state of our external circumstances depends on the state of our consciousness, so it’s vital we do the very best we can do to make it a working asset, rather than a liability, in whatever job we are doing.
Enjoyment is something that we tend to put off until something other than what’s happening right now happens, such as when we finish our current obnoxious task or get a promotion or a better job … or retire.
All of these procrastination are wasted opportunities because all we can ever enjoy is what’s happening right now. You might find it naive to think that our working lives are magnificent opportunities to enjoy ourselves, and you’re right — it is naive to think this — but it isn’t naive to experience it.
The 7 Step Mindfulness Formula for Having More Fun at Work
Try conducting a simple working life experiment now! Think of a working activity that you typically don’t like doing — that you don’t associate with enjoyment — that you would only do willingly if you were paid to do it in the form of money or prestige or promises of good things you will get in the future.
This working activity might be washing the dishes, washing the dog or mowing the lawn, filling out the tax return, typing up a report or giving a public talk about something you think you don’t like or understand (or that your audience won’t like or understand) or it might be anything at all.
Now try it while practicing some working mindfulness
1. Start by letting go of your ideas about the job — such as that you don’t like it or that it’s not worth doing or that you would only do it for a considerable reward.
2. Now start doing the job, whatever it is, without any expectations about what it’s going to be like doing it or what results you expect.
3. Once you’ve started the ‘job’, consciously avoid giving it any mental labels, such as it being a job — with certain qualities or flavors such as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ — or something someone else should do or excruciatingly miserable or boring or terrific or anything other than what it really is … the experience of doing it.
4. Give the job your complete attention. Whether you’re washing a dish or a dog or mowing a lawn or filling out a tax return or giving a public talk or whatever, don’t interfere with the reality of what’s actually happening here and now.
5. Consciously avoid comparing your current experiences with anything that happened in the past or that might happen in the future.
6. Consciously avoid giving your current task only some of your attention, while you give most of the rest of it (and most of the rest of your energy) to ideas about the task.
7. Really feel the working surface —the touch of the dish or dog or lawn mower handle or computer keys (or pen or quill) on your hand, or the sight of the people you’re talking to … and just fully experience what’s happening right now.
Stop working when you’re mindfully aware that the job feels like it’s fully completed. Reflect on the experience.
Was working mindfully, no matter what at, enjoyable?
Was working at something you thought you didn’t like enjoyable when you did it with your full attention and energy and opportunity for enjoyment directed at it?
If your mind tries to sabotage your attempts to consistently work mindfully, enjoyably and productively — by telling you that you don’t have time or that it’s silly or useless, or whatever — just keep taking mindful “working holidays” (experiments, test drives) and see what happens.
Mindfulness-at-Work- Dr Stephen McKenzie is has been writing, researching and teaching people about psychology for over 20 years. His books have received worldwide attention for their ability to make complex concepts simple and easy to apply to everyday life.
He is the co-author of the highly successful “Mindfulness for Life” and author of “Mindfulness at Work,” both available as eBook downloads from the Exisle Empowerment Shop.