Skip to main contentA logo with &quat;the muse&quat; in dark blue text.
Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

The Secret to Being Excited About Work After a Break

When you had to head back to work after vacation, you might be dragging your feet a little bit. After all, who wants to be back to the grindstone after remembering what it's like to sleep in, spending your days doing whatever your heart desires, and generally not having a care in the world?

I'll tell you who—people who have found enjoyment in their work. In an article on his blog Sideways Thoughts, Chad Renando walks us through the conditions that must be present in order for us to find flow in our work—meaning we'll really feel fulfilled by it (and want to come back). He lays out the following questions to ask yourself as you consider the work you have ahead of you:

Can you introduce appropriate challenge or develop additional skill in what you do to keep it interesting? If not, can you seek out new activities that meet your criteria? Can you find an acceptable degree of suffering while managing your anxiety levels?

Can you become proficient so as to merge your thought and action?

Do you have clear goals, and is there sufficient feedback to determine if you are closer to achieving those goals? Can you accept the feedback as simply a measure of how well you are achieving your goal?

Are you able to quiet the noise of life and concentrate on the task at hand?

Do you feel you have control, while also having appropriate levels of risk?

Can you take your eyes off yourself and lose your self-consciousness in favour of the activity?

When you perform the activity, does time melt away?

If you've been dreading coming back to work, use these questions to examine why. Can you figure out where your work falls short and seek out ways to fix it? Maybe the problem is that you don't have clear goals in your position, and a long conversation with your manager could help. Is there one aspect of your job that you really love? Think about how you can morph your job a little to focus more on that. Or, perhaps, it's time for a new job entirely.

Whatever the case may be, it's worth spending the time to create work that you really enjoy. By next January, you'll be itching to come back after the break.

Photo of happy woman courtesy of Shutterstock.