There are days when our work feels exciting and full of meaning and purpose. And then there are the other days — when we feel like we’re just going through the motions. Fortunately, we have more power than we realize to reconnect to our purpose and joy when our day starts to feel draining or monotonous.

Here are some Microsteps to help you get started:

After finishing a task, write down one new thing you learned

When we focus only on the parts of our work that don’t feel fulfilling, we miss those small but important things we learn along the way. When we take a moment to pause after a project and write down one thing that challenged us or taught us something we didn’t know, we can shift our perspective from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. And once we realize how much we can learn in a single task, we can start to see more value in work that might feel tedious.

Once a day, check in with a colleague 

Make an effort to check in with a team member every day, whether it’s to say good morning, ask what they’re working on, or see how they’re feeling. By carving out time on your to-do list to connect with a colleague, you can deepen your connections and feel a sense of purpose in the relationships you’ve cultivated at your job. A small check-in can be a significant reminder that there’s meaning in our work, and it starts with appreciating the people around us.

Plan a fun activity for after the workday ends

If you’re working on a project that doesn’t allow you to express your creativity in a fulfilling way, find a way to channel your creative self after your working hours by planning an activity to look forward to. While it’s important to feel that our work has a sense of purpose, it’s also OK to acknowledge that we’re not always going to feel enthusiastic about every task. Try planning a fun activity to do after work, like visiting a museum you’ve never been to, trying a new restaurant, or going on a walk with a friend.

Think of one person who benefits from your work

If you’re struggling to find meaning in the work you’re doing, think about someone else who benefits from your work. Whether it’s a client you’re working with, your company’s customers, or even your family who gets to benefit from your hard work, taking a moment to reflect on the value you create during the workday can help you reset.

This article was updated on 06/27/2022

Author(s)

  • Rebecca Muller

    Senior Editor and Community Manager

    Thrive

    Rebecca Muller Feintuch is the Senior Editor and Community Manager at Thrive. Her previous work experience includes roles in editorial and digital journalism. Rebecca is passionate about storytelling, creating meaningful connections, and prioritizing mental health and self-care. She is a graduate of New York University, where she studied Media, Culture and Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. For her undergraduate thesis, she researched the relationship between women and fitness media consumerism.