25 Surefire Ways to Get More from Work

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Make work more fun

Whether you want be more successful, more productive or just happier at work, these 25 powerful suggestions will help put some sparkle into your day.  Click here to get regular ideas on career success from Less Ordinary Living.

  1. Start something new – variety is the spice of life.  Start a new project and bring one of your ideas to life
  2. Really listen to everyone you meet – it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own world at work.  Concentrate on listening properly to everyone you meet today.
  3. Take someone for coffee – build a relationship at work by taking someone out for coffee (your boss, your peer, your team member, your client, your customer).  You might even make a new friend.
  4. Take a real lunchbreak – get out of the office, take a walk, get some fresh air and re-energize yourself.   It’s called a lunch break for a reason.
  5. Delegate something – learning to delegate will make you more effective and help others to develop.  Take something off your plate and give someone else a chance.
  6. Read DilbertScott Adam’s cartoon dog puts work into perspective.  Learn to beat the pointy-haired boss.
  7. Re-evaluate your to-do list – take 15 minutes to prioritize.  Focus on what is most important rather than urgent and to those things first.
  8. Do something that will make your workplace better– think ahead about what can make your job better and more enjoyable in the longer term.  Start making that happen today.
  9. Say no – learning to say no to things that don’t fit with your goals and values can be tough – but it is invaluable.  Say no to something today.
  10. Thank an unsung hero – every workplace has it’s share of silent champions who keep everything going.  Take a minute to say thank you and recognize their contribution.
  11. Be brave – if something is not working well in your team, have the courage to raise the issue.  It will never get resolved unless someone takes the initiative.
  12. Offer to help – is someone looking out of their depth.? Get involved and help them learn to be great.  One day you might be the one needing help.
  13. Leave on time – set yourself some clear targets and if you hit them, give yourself permission to leave on time (or even early if you can) and go enjoy the rest of the day.  Because you’re worth it.
  14. Create a power hour – a great way to be super productive – click here to find out how.
  15. Cancel a pointless meeting – sometimes work cultures create an endless stream of pointless meetings that suck up time.  If you have one today, cancel it or excuse yourself.   Use the time for something constructive.
  16. Change your attitude – how are you approaching work?  If you’re seeing it as a negative, feeling disengaged and not enjoying it, you’ve lost before you even begin.  Try changing your attitude for one day and see what happens.
  17. Apologize – if you have a feud or some simmering resentment with a colleague, isn’t it time to bury the hatchet (not in their head).  Be the bigger person and find a way to apologize sincerely.
  18. Learn a new skill – what skill would you love to develop?  Put together an action plan for how to do that.  Here’s a guide for how to ask your boss for training.
  19. Start a tradition – what new ritual can you start to make your workplace better?  A tea-round?  Birthday cakes?  Happy hour on Friday?
  20. Set your visionpurpose is so important to satisfaction at work.  Take 15 minutes to think about why you are work and what you’d like to get from your career.
  21. Drink more water – most offices and workplaces are drier than the Sahara, so stay hydrated to keep sharp.
  22. Listen to your biorhythms – plan your day to take advantage of your natural daily energy cycles – click here to find out more.
  23. Give something back – find out if your company has a community involvement or volunteer program.  Get involved or if it doesn’t exist, start one.
  24. Play to your strengths – we are at our best at work when we use our natural attributes.  Take the VIA strengths test here to find yours.
  25. Write your CV – a great way to feel in control of your career and not feel stuck in a rut.  Dig out that dusty relic and give it a polish.  Writing your CV helps you to feel more confident about your experience and skills.

Over to you

  • What things do you do to enjoy work more?
  • How do you make the most of your working life?
  • Which of these ideas did you try, and what happened?

Photo credit: RubensLP (From Flickr Creative Commons)

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  1. Phil
    June 30, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    What do you do to get the most from work? How do you put more sparkle in your day? What helps you be successful?

    Please leave a comment and share with others.

  2. June 30, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Phil, telepathy is in the works – As I am reading this, I saw your comment come through prolific living….!
    Hmmm. What can I add here/ All very very good. I am a full-time telecommuter now (always working form home) but I had my office cubicle days for years…..I think learning to take it easy when grouchy and unhappy people either make jokes, pick on you (yes I know, I was an easy target!) or just dump their unhappiness on you. Walk away politely. Refuse to be the sympathizer for the eternally jaded people. Learn to not let anyone bring your spirits and energy down. If you have your own reasons to doubt what you do, that’s different but others had better not impact your beautiful energy! There, that’s my advice :) !

  3. June 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Great post Phil! I have to say, a rule of mine (and I know this might sound a little unorthodox) is to give a hug to a co-worker, client, etc. There’s just something about allowing true connection to happen in your work like that puts a smile on everyone’s face. Not everyone loves a good hug, but for those that do, its priceless and can turn a whole day (or week) around for both of you!
    .-= Carly´s last blog ..Shedding Layers of the False Self =-.

  4. June 30, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Hi Phil, great ideas here today. I work in a small office with four other FT people so I make a point of chit-chatting with each of them especially when I notice my energy level lagging. I also attend cocktail parties, dinners, talks, lectures (preferring those starting after my son’s safely tucked in bed) where I meet great people and learn from speakers who are experts in their field. These things and the ones you listed can really elevate a job into something so much more than just an income-generator.

  5. June 30, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    These are all great, Phil. Being one who does not work in an office I can attest to the power of being able to take a break. Trying to do work in a sour mood and pushy attitude is simply not productive. Mood is everything… I take a break and go for a walk so I can meditate and recalibrate my thinking.

  6. June 30, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    What a fine list, Phil. I recently advised someone close to me (OK, he’s my husband) to offer an apology to someone at work, and the results were dramatic. Such a powerful thing to do, as are all the rest on the list. I think asking for help is good, too. This same person who is close to me decided to include his boss on a personal project – getting a new job somewhere else! Now this may go against conventional wisdom, and I know it doesn’t work in every situation. But don’t count out how much people will want to help. And if you expect the best from them, they will often give it. She actually has been grateful to be in the loop, and when the time comes for her to give a recommendation (which, knock on wood, may be just around the corner) then all should go swimmingly.
    .-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last blog ..Meaning Mondays- A Simple Philosophy Emerges =-.

  7. June 30, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Phil, I really like #1, 2, 23, 24!
    what a great post! I like how you break-it-down and make it fun!
    your site is very nice! have a great week!

  8. July 1, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink


    You are the king of lists! Where were you when I was climbing my cubicle walls? Folks could use you NOW in the cubicle trenches. I can see you in a big company getting frantic calls from people like, “I can’t make it to 5. What can I do?” or “My boss wants me to work on a project over my skill head. How can I pull it off?”

    Giulietta, disobedient princess
    .-= Giulietta the Muse´s last blog ..Wretched mortal- do you open your eyes =-.

  9. Phil
    July 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Farnoosh – great ideas there. I agree that it never serves to be a moaner, bitcher, back-biter or general nay-sayer. That negative energy pervades the work place and more importantly brings you down into the picture. Better to be honest, pragmatic and positive.

    Carly – who doesn’t love hugs? Well ok, I’m British so maybe me… Physical contact is a tricky one in the office but it can make a big difference when used appropriately. You have lucky clients!

    Belinda – I used to love spending time with my colleagues chewing the fat – there are so many hidden benefits. I found the increased familiarity meant that we could pull together when it came to the crunch time and also make better and more compassionate decisions.

    Rob – taking a break – not allowed! Seriously, this is one of the most underrated of all ideas. We are not machines and can only perform at a high level for a certain amount of time before concentration lags. Whether it is a walk, coffee, chat or meditate, we need to recalibrate.

    Patty – wow that takes some chutzpah and big kudos to your mystery man for doing that. Ultimately it comes back to the idea that we are human beings not workers and colleagues. If we go to work and remember that it all gets a lot nicer and some of the office insanity evaporates.

    Jenn – thanks and welcome to the site. We try to keep it fun here at Less Ordinary Living – although sometimes that is tricky. Work should be fun too – that is when it feels worthwhile.

    Giulietta – yes I’m loving my lists! I love helping people Escape from the Cubicle Nation (now that is a great blog by Pam Slim) and find something better to do with their precious talents. Stay disobedient!

  10. July 2, 2010 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I recently gave some advice to a friend about being less aggressive at work and being more pleasant to his boss. It was not very easy for him to implement the advice but he did it anyway. In the end, he received an unexpected but overwhelmingly great response.

  11. July 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Well I definitely concur with you Phil on all of those points however my situation has now drastically changed so I’m looking at things from a new angle. In fact..now I’ve said that I may put my situation out to people and invite their thoughts.

  12. July 3, 2010 at 3:21 am | Permalink

    All great suggestions but how about applying them beyond the office walls and into everyday living with everyone you know and meet…

  13. July 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Phil: Great list you put together here and very helpful. I think it is so important to find a way to continually approach work in the best way and allow ourselves to put our passion and energy behind what we are doing. It really is all about perspective and approaching things from the best angle. Thanks again for the list … it is definitely coming to me at the perfect time because I am coming off a very long vacation. It is time to get energized again about work. I am off to re-read the list :)

  14. Phil
    July 7, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    @Evelyn – there is a big difference between being assertive and aggressive. It sounds like you gave some excellent advice – aggressive rarely works as it looks for win / lose solutions which don’t create sustainable benefit.

    @Amit – I know you are going through some big changes right now in your work situation. Please let me know what I can do to help you out. yOu have a lot to give to the world and I’d love to help you find the right medium to do that.

    @Finally – couldn’t agree more. Most of these ideas apply in life as well as at work – for example forgiveness. Definitely a great suggestion.

    @Sibyl – Glad you enjoyed it. Passion and energy can make all the difference at work – bringing out the best in us and making every day seem worthwhile and fun. Good luck.

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