January 12, 2022
Life Lessons
 min read

Work Should Be Enjoyable

You can’t compete with someone who is having fun” - Tiago Forte

We’re in control, so we should enjoy the things that we’re doing. This is a new mindset shift I’ve adopted over the years. It’s radically different from what I originally thought it meant to be productive.

I used to subscribe to the “grind it out” mindset. Work through the discomfort. Nose to the grindstone.

But I’ve realized that habits, goals, and tasks can be enjoyable if we make our enjoyment a priority. If it’s not, then we’re setting ourselves up for burnout, not to mention the health complications that come from constant stress.

A good example of making habits enjoyable was when I began running three miles a day. It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time. I was finally inspired to start when I noticed a bit of weight gain over the lockdown.

At first, the experience was terrible. I would put on my running shoes, blast rock music, and huff and puff until I made it home.

I didn’t bother with gradually working my way up to three miles either. I forced myself to run them. I hated the process.

One day, I decided I would replace the rock music with a podcast (I think it might have been The Joe Rogan Experience). I caught myself slowing down my pace so I could listen to the interesting conversation. And I even laughed a few times from the absurdity of the dialogue.

When I came home, I realized that even though the run took me a bit longer, I was more relaxed. For the first time, I actually enjoyed it.

I made more adjustments to my workout. If I wasn’t up for it (or if I was particularly interested in what I was listening to), I would walk for a bit. And if I wanted to mid-workout, I would sit at a bench overlooking a lake for a few minutes and journal.

Eventually, I started looking forward to my evening runs. I appreciated the conversations and insights from my books and podcasts. I craved those quiet moments sitting at the bench overlooking the lake. I enjoyed editing my journal entries the following morning. And I enjoyed publishing them on my blog when I felt they were ready.

I lost fifteen pounds this way. I’ve run up to 7 miles without stopping this way. I work out every day this way.

Is it perfect? I don’t know. But I’ve gotten results, and I’m happy.

Seeing my progress, I’ve realized that getting things done should be enjoyable, and we can make most tasks enjoyable. This could mean writing with your favorite movie soundtrack in the background, lighting incense in your office before you start working on a presentation, ordering yourself a good meal because you finished a project, listening to a novel while cleaning the house—anything to make you a little happier doing the thing you feel you should be doing.

Once your task becomes enjoyable, it becomes fun. Then your work never feels like work.

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