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Prioritise your wellbeing at work to achieve better results.
Prioritise your wellbeing at work to achieve better results.

The joy of business: How to get more pleasure from your work

With a quarter of business owners unhappy at work, David Brown provides advice on reducing stress, improving well-being and increasing productivity.

The average is person estimated to spend almost around 90,000 hours – or 30 per cent – of their life engaged in paid employment.

That’s a lot of time to spend on something that doesn’t provide pleasure and yet statistics show a significant proportion of employees and business owners don’t enjoy what they do.

Data from Small Business Trends – an online hub for entrepreneurs, business owners and experts – shows that around 25 per cent of business owners, or one in four, don’t love what they do.

That’s a worrying statistic where performance is so closely related to enjoyment and motivation.

Often the source of our unhappiness is related to our expectations of the job, as much as the job itself.

If you are one of the unfortunate business owners who takes no joy in the job, there are
several things that you can do that will make the experience more pleasurable and lead to greater satisfaction.

Learn to accept imperfections – We can be our own worst taskmasters at times and one of the biggest causes of frustration is to expect perfection from ourselves and from others.

No matter how hard you try, things will never be done exactly the way you want them every single time – even when you’re doing the task yourself!

• Roll with the punches – Leading on from the expectation of perfection is another lesson: when things go wrong, sometimes it pays to simply accept it.

“Performance is so closely related to enjoyment and motivation. Often the source of our unhappiness is related to our expectations of the job, as much as the job itself.”

Many of us are familiar with the Serenity Prayer, which was first composed during the Great Depression. It reads, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Too frequently, we focus on the things that go wrong in a day instead of taking the time to be grateful for the things that go right.

• Keep things in perspective – Small problems, particularly when we are stressed, can be blown out of proportion in our minds.

It’s all easy to lose perspective when a sudden ‘emergency’ appears, but most of today’s problems won’t exist in a week’s time – and won’t even be remembered three months later!

When a ‘major disaster’ breaks out, ask yourself, “Will this still be an issue next week?”

If the answer is no, then don’t give it more ‘emotional bandwidth’ than it deserves.

• Start the day positively – Increasing your enjoyment of your job can be as simple as having a positive mind-set. Our frame of mind dictates how we respond to challenges.

Many people find it helps to begin each morning with a walk, meditation or reading from an inspiring book.

• Set clear objectives – A large source of frustration for business owners is failing to achieve daily objectives or complete tasks, but an even greater source of aggravation can come from not having any objectives in the first place.

Therefore, it’s important to clarify what you expect from each day.

Have at least one thing that absolutely must be done on each day’s agenda so that no matter what happens, you can feel a sense of achievement.

• Take a break – Productivity is lost the longer you go on without pausing to recharge the batteries. This is not only true during the day, when several breaks are necessary, but longer term when it comes to taking holidays.

Many business owners feel their business can’t survive without them, but too often this is a misconception and results in exhaustion and lower levels of job satisfaction.

An absence of balance between work and relaxation can also lead to full-scale burnout, which will force you to be absent from your business anyway!

In order to escape your business from time to time, you need to ensure your staff are equipped to cope without you.

• Delegate, delegate, delegate – I have spoken to many business owners over the years who won’t leave their business for more than a day at a time for fear there will be nothing left when they return.

This says more about them than their employees or the business itself!

Effective empowerment and delegation frees up the owner to focus on the big- picture tasks and strategy, as well as giving them time to ‘smell the roses’ and truly enjoy what they do.

Ultimately, the happier you are at work, the more productive you will be. Even implementing a few of the above strategies is likely to improve your mind- set, reduce stress, and assist you in achieving your potential.



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David Brown

Contributor • Retail Edge Consultants

David Brown is co-founder and business mentor with Retail Edge Consultants. Learn more:

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