• professional boy with a magnifying glassHopefully, you won’t get fired for this one. It’s all about improving your work environment and enhancing your joy for life. The average person spends anywhere from 8 to 12 hours a day, at work, approximately five days per week. This adds up to roughly one quarter of our lives spent at work. Every now and then I hear people talking about how “lucky a person is” that they found work that they enjoy. The word work itself, simply means being involved in a physical or mental activity directed toward achieving a goal. So where does all the negative connotations and ill feeling about work come from? They come from us! We tend to add different descriptors to the word and sometimes approach it with a dreadful, “I have to go to work” attitude instead of finding ways to make it fun. While work can sometimes be hard or strenuous, it also has the potential to be fun and fulfilling.

    All of us being together and working on a common goal was nice and led to some fun conversations.

    Now saying have a good time at work sounds good and dandy on paper, but what does it mean? Let me give you an example to help me explain. Last weekend, I was totally beat from a full weeks work and was looking forward to relaxing. I woke up at about 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning to a sunny Los Angeles day. Jealous yet? Well, don’t be. It was a breezy 80 degrees as I stumbled to the sink to brush my teeth. I was mulling over various ideas of where to go with the family for the day. “Should we mingle with the characters at Venice Beach or go hiking up by Malibu Creek?” Tough choices! Just then my wife came in the room and asked, “What were you planning on doing today?”  “Not much,” I responded. Just hearing the question posed in the past tense made me realize, “There goes my day.” There was a short pause as she cleared her throat and asked, “Good because remember, you promised to paint the dining room this weekend.”
    My heart sunk and my lazy side tried to scramble for an out.  Usually, I’d manage to get out of it but this time I just froze and responded, “I can’t wait. I’ll get right on it.” She smiled and replied, “I can hear the sarcasm but I’ll help so it’ll go faster. Oh, and the kids can help too,” She added. “Great now this is going to take me ten times longer,” I thought to myself and replied, “Great idea, let’s get going.” You can probably tell by now that I’ve been married for a while and know when to keep my thoughts to myself.

    After breakfast, we were off to the hardware store to pick up supplies. The kids were very intrigued with all the equipment lined up against the isles. They were firing off questions faster than I could respond. But it was fun being the resident expert/hero in their eyes and trying to explain all the functions of the equipment. Everybody helped carry things out to the car, and with four kids at hand varying in age from ten down to three, I had a posse of “little helpers.”

    After doing some of the prep work of moving the furniture around and getting the children all dressed up in their smocks and hats, we started to work. All of us being together and working on a common goal was nice and led to some fun conversations. The kids seemed to enjoy the change of pace and dueled with biting jokes. My ten year-old then suggested we turn on the music. Pretty soon we were singing along and timing our brush strokes to the beat.

    The day flew by in no time and the work got done. It made me think though, “Maybe I can turn on the music on at my regular day-to-day work?” Of course this is metaphorical but I thought to myself, “How can I make work more fun?” While sometimes co-workers and a boss can adversely influence your work environment. That’s nothing we have control over, other than searching for employment elsewhere. What I’m referring to is improving things that you have control over. Namely yourself, your demeanor, and the way you interact with others. The alternative is to burn out going head-to-head with others trying to get them to change. The better choice would be to do something about it! You’re better off demonstrating the environment in which you want to work. A good sense of humor, sincerity, a good work ethic, and sometimes changing the scenery up a little bit can go a long way and becomes contagious. Conversely, the opposite is true with negative behaviors. The bottom line is that we all have to paint or do tasks we’re not too excited about at some point. The questions is do we sit there and complain the entire time we are working or can we create some way of having fun with it? You have to choose, which environment you want to be in, and make it happen.