Are you part of the 85% of people who hate their job? You don’t have to be.
A staggering 85% of people are unhappy in their jobs.
Yes, you read that right. Only 15% of people are actually engaged at work.
These statistics were brought to light through a global poll conducted by Gallup and prove that most employees out there simply do not enjoy their job. For many, it can be put down to the lack of work-life balance — in other words, too much work and not enough time. This concept is best referred to as Time Famine — “the universal feeling of having too much to do but not enough time to deal with those demands”.
In our roles, we tend to wait for our boss to change what we should be doing, whether it be via a promotion or additional responsibility. But why should we have to wait?
Borrowing from the Design Thinking philosophy of questioning why things are the way they are, follow these six steps and you will hopefully get closer to liking (or even loving) your job.
Step One — List Your Tasks
When someone is comfortable in their role, they are less likely to experiment and do things differently. As a first step, consider all the key tasks that you complete as part of your role — try and list out at least 15 tasks. Tasks could include meetings, reports, proposals or even stakeholder management.
Step one is all about taking a step back (pardon the pun).
Step Two — The Repetitive Test
From the list that you have created, identify the tasks that are repetitive. These are tasks that generally follow the same process each time they are completed, whether it be on a daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.
Below are some examples of repetitive tasks that you may be doing as part of your role:
- Performance Reviews
- Team meetings
- Checking emails
- Status reports
Step Three —The Six Month Test
Next up, it is time to identify the tasks that have been completed the same way for over six months. Some tasks can become like clockwork after a while.
- Why has this task not changed?
- Is this task as relevant today as it was six months ago?
Just because a task has been completed a specific way for a period of time, does not mean that it is being completed the best way possible.
Step Four —The Effort Test
Look at your tasks and highlight the ones that are taking longer than they should take to complete. Use your judgement on this one.
We all fall into the trap of spending too much time to complete a task that can and should be done quicker. Consider the outputs of the task and the time taken — if a task is taking you hours and there is little benefit to your company then this task should be questioned.
Step Five —The Purpose Test
Everything we do at work needs to have a purpose — identify the tasks on your list that don’t have a clear objective. For instance, you could be developing a report for your manager every single week (just because) but your boss doesn't actually look at this report. All your tasks should have a solid outcome that supports the overall vision of your team or organisation.
Step Six — Delegate, Automate, Outsource, Refine Or Drop
The final step! Review the tasks you have selected based on the last four steps and decide on an action for each one. For each of the selected tasks, consider delegating, automating, outsourcing, refining or dropping the task altogether. Each task should fall into one of these categories.
Prioritise the quick wins and set yourself a deadline for changes to be implemented.
WHY — This three-letter word does not get asked in organisations anywhere near enough. Many large organisations don’t encourage their employees to ask ‘why’ because this may create additional work for all involved. These are the same people that fail to realise that asking ‘why’ may actually decrease the amount of effort required.
We often get stuck in the daily grind (aka rat race) and rarely take the opportunity to reassess our roles. We spend so much of our lives at work and should be looking to make that time as enjoyable as possible.
“People spend too much time doing and not enough time thinking about what they should be doing.”
Naval Ravikant (AngelList Co-Founder)