Protect the joy in work while growing a successful business

Protect the joy in work while growing a successful business

I used to be the lead singer of a rock and blues band. People often ask me if I wanted to have a career in music, to which I always reply no. The reason is simple; I didn’t want to lose the joy in something I loved by turning it into a job.

This is also one of the reasons I chose to keep my business as a side hustle for so long. When it wasn’t my “main job”, I believed I could try more new things, take risks and make mistakes without jeopardising my financial well-being.

I love to take on new challenges, so Better Workday was the perfect playground for three years. I discovered the different ways I liked, and didn’t like, to help others. All while knowing that if I messed it up, I had a monthly paycheck coming from the day job.

But there comes a time in every hobby or side hustle when you must decide if you want to move to the next level. If you want to progress and grow a successful business, you must have clear goals to work towards. You need a structure and processes to support you, and ways to measure if you are moving in the right direction.

All of this is necessary. But it doesn’t seem like much fun, does it?

Protecting the joy in work as you grow a successful business

So how do you keep the fun and joy as you level up in your business? This was something which took me a lot of trial and error to find an answer to.

Here are three things I do that help me have a better workday while I work to help others with their performance and well-being.

1.     Dedicate time to exploring and trying new things.

I usually work a 4-day week, which varies between 20 and 32 hours depending on the number of workshops I deliver. This is intentional while my children are young, but I am still focused on growing the business within these short working weeks.

The first mistake I made in Better Workday was filling all of that time with planned work. It left no room to discover something new, to find inspiration by following a breadcrumb trail of blogs or videos, or to play with the idea of a new product or service.

It wasn’t long before I was bored doing the job I had created for myself. By shifting my view of success from hours worked to outcomes, I made room for much-needed exploration and play at work.

I now spend 10% of my workweek being curious and looking for new ideas. I browse the internet, flip through books that I haven’t read in a while and download new apps and tools to play with. It’s time to feed my mind and find inspiration. And I love it.

I spend another 10% of my time nurturing what I discover and feeding it into longer-term projects. That could be the next book, online course or workshop programme. Working on early-stage projects allows me to get creative and explore different options without worrying too much about an upcoming deadline. Some projects move to the next stage, and some don’t. And that is ok.

This time to discover and play may seem frivolous, considering the limited amount of time I have available. But it is essential to my well-being and the long-term success of the business.

2.     Create space for spontaneity

If you are a creative person, this will resonate with you. When I first started writing blogs and creating content for social media, I absolutely loved it. I believe that everyone should have access to tools and information that will help them work better. And sharing content online was the perfect way for me to support that need.

Blog ideas and social post captions flowed easily for months. Until I put a process in place.

Let me say, that I am a big believer in processes as a mechanism for growth. They allow businesses to scale efficiently without compromising on the service or product they deliver to the customer.

But I found it very hard to be creative when it required following a schedule, specific formats and other things that are considered best practices in content creation. And, honestly, I battled with writing things that would increase Better Workday’s visibility and the stuff I know that some people really need to hear.

So I split the content in two. Most blogs and social posts follow a schedule and fit into a bigger plan. But now and again, I write something spontaneous.

Like this blog.

This makes my creative side very happy. And I know that some of you reading this will be happy I wrote it as well.

3.     Celebrate the little wins

If you work towards quarterly or yearly goals, you know it can sometimes feel like you are making very slow progress. Celebrating little wins is the best way for me to keep the joy in daily work.

I celebrate every time I get positive feedback from a workshop or webinar attendee, an online course student, or a member of an audience that heard me speak.

Of course, I don’t throw a party every time. But I do take a moment to acknowledge and accept that I made a positive impact in someone else’s life. And that’s what keeps me going even when the goals I am working towards seem distant.

These are just some of the ways I intentionally balance my needs with that of a growing business. The result is that I continue to be excited about Better Workday and the change it can create in the workplace.

Is this the blog that you needed to read today? If you want to rediscover to the joy in your work, I urge you to start now. Close this browser tab and pull out a notebook. Write down three things you can do to increase the meaning and satisfaction of your job. And then get going!

Stay well – and have fun


About Niamh

Niamh is committed to making the information and tools to improve productivity available to every professional who is striving to improve how they work and live.

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