Why Meaningful Work Will Make You Happier

People who are purposeful take action on their goals on a consistent basis. Such people are likely to get a lot done and are likely to appear successful.

I’m not sure though that ‘getting things done’ is really what it’s all about. What’s the point in relentlessly completing task after task if what you do lacks meaning?

Meaning comes from doing things that positively affect other people. 

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When you spend your time and energy on changing things for the better for other people — you are doing work that is meaningful.

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I think busy people are like canoeists hurtling down the rapids. They’re making progress, although it can sometimes get rough. Such people rarely have time to stop and take in the beauty that’s all around them. They’re hooked on the thrill of it all, the buzz that comes from shooting through and plunging out the other end.

If the sum total of your weekly efforts is that you ‘got things done’ it might be time to paddle over to a pool on the side of the river.

Here are three questions to ask yourself as you pause a moment and allow the river to run by.

  1. When was the last time you did something with the clear intention of making someone’s day a little better? It doesn’t have to be something big — small thoughtful gestures are just as important.
  2. What specifically will you do today that will impact in a good way on someone else? Work out what you can do before this day ends to bring a little happiness to a work colleague, friend or family member.
  3. Do you understand how the many busy things you do each week are contributing to your happiness?

If you’re not sure about this last question, here are four actions you could take to increase the level of your daily happiness.

  1. Start each day by reflecting on three specific reasons to be grateful.
  2. Find moments throughout the day when you can pause and dwell on the experience of being present and alive with all your senses.
  3. Link your daily work practices, tasks and routines to your most important personal goals.
  4. Infuse meaning into the things you do. Do this by reminding yourself that what you do or how you do it, can have a positive effect on those around you.
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