How To Enjoy Work: 50 Simple Things To Do To Get The Most From Your 9-5

man typing on a laptop at work

At the start of the year, I loved reading an article published to The Guardian called ‘100 ways to slightly improve your life without really trying’. Without setting any drastic New Year’s resolutions or falling victim to the same old “New Year, New Me” tips that get circulated at this time of year, it got me thinking about the little things I can do in my day-to-day life to get the most out of it.

Then, it got me thinking even further. For most of us, the majority of the time that we spend awake Monday-Friday is time spent working, usually in a 9-5 job. So, it’s important to know how we can get the most from our 9-5 given that work is one of the major aspects of life. However, when looking online, any guides around this topic usually only cover how to improve your productivity whilst at work. I want to go further than this.

In this blog, I’ve put together a list of 50 simple things that we can all do to get the most from our 9-5, and enjoy our work that little bit more. Ultimately, I think it’s all about striking a balance between having that passion and drive for what you do, whilst also knowing when to switch off and unwind – that, to me, is the recipe for career happiness. It’s proven that a balanced life can make us more productive, more fulfilled, and it can help us to enjoy life more. That’s exactly what I hope this list will help you to do!

50 Simple Things To Do To Get The Most From Your 9-5

  1. Find a place to work that has a great company culture.
  2. Find an employer that truly values its employees.
  3. Set goals regularly, both individually and as a team.
  4. Evaluate your goals regularly – are you on track? If you failed, why? What can you do differently next time?
  5. Never underestimate the power of a work-life balance.
  6. Be curious, especially about new developments in your industry. It’s what keeps you ahead but, on a personal level, it’s what keeps the spark alive.
  7. Celebrate and share your wins, no matter how big or small they might seem.
  8. If mistakes happen – accept them, take responsibility, and learn from them. This attitude adjustment can really help you to grow and overcome weaknesses.
  9. If you’re out of the office, stop checking your emails and enjoy your downtime!
  10. If you’re flagging, try using a method to improve your productivity, like the Pomodoro technique.
  11. Completely remove yourself from your working environment during your lunch hour.
  12. Use your lunch break – yes, the full 60 minutes! That means completely switching off during that time.
  13. Focus on one thing at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  14. Be open and honest if you think you need extra support – whether that’s at work, or because of something happening in your personal life.
  15. Be honest about failures and things that you need to work on, and then put things in place to improve.
  16. Accept that everyone has days where they’re less productive or don’t quite feel their usual, enthusiastic selves. Wipe the slate clean after each working day and remember, tomorrow is a new day!
  17. Do something every morning to increase your motivation – it could be a full workout before you log on, or something as simple as listening to a song that gets you feeling motivated during your commute.
  18. Stay organised when it comes to your workspace and your files (both virtual and physical). If you aren’t organised, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
  19. Always look for how you can go above and beyond for clients and colleagues alike.
  20. Remember to step away from your desk every now and then – regular breaks can increase productivity, and help us to digest and retain information.
  21. Remember to keep drinking plenty of water!
  22. Set aside a dedicated time slot each day for admin tasks.
  23. Consider your efforts just as much as, if not more than, your accomplishments.
  24. Make sure you get a good amount of sleep.
  25. Make the most of every weekend – they come to an end just as quickly as they arrive. It doesn’t have to be anything significant, just as long as you make time for something you enjoy.
  26. Take advantage of the company perks that are on offer. Our perks include fresh fruit in the office, your birthday off, and 50% off your gym membership!
  27. Make use of your full holiday allowance, especially if your holidays can’t be carried over into the next year.
  28. If you’ve got your heart set on a promotion or a new role within the company, put a plan in place to make it happen – develop your skills wherever needed, talk to the right people, and find out more about the role you’re aiming for.
  29. Observe and learn from those around you in the workplace – what do they do that you could adopt or take inspiration from?
  30. Never be afraid to ask questions. In my opinion, it’s the best way to learn.
  31. Want to brush up on your skills or learn something new? Ask for training! If you don’t ask, you don’t always get.
  32. If you aren’t happy, get to the root cause of it. Is it because your productivity is lacking? Are you ready for a new challenge? Is it a lack of career progression? When you know what the problem is, you can put steps in place to solve it.
  33. Keep an eye out for burnout – this “hustle culture” we’re bombarded with online doesn’t work for everyone. Take care of yourself, and don’t succumb to unrealistic expectations.
  34. Never forget your purpose.
  35. Take pride in what you do.
  36. Make the effort to show up early, or at least on time. Take care not to be late – it sets the day off to a stressful start.
  37. Be a mentor – take the newer employees under your wing and show them the ropes. It’s extremely rewarding, and they’ll be grateful to have a friendly and supportive colleague.
  38. Avoid negativity, especially talking negatively. Having a positive attitude can help you to feel better, and it might just rub off on those around you too.
  39. Always ask for, and accept, feedback.
  40. Don’t overpromise – always strive to do your best and go above and beyond, but be realistic and manage expectations too. There are only so many hours in the day.
  41. Put yourself forward for new responsibilities/duties when you can, no matter how small they might seem – it could give you some great experience, or new ideas.
  42. Always look for new ways to improve the service that you offer both individually, within your team, and as a company.
  43. Get involved with collaborative projects and remember that your ideas ought to be valued.
  44. Get to know your colleagues. It sounds straightforward but sometimes we get so caught up in the 9-5 we forget that our colleagues have lives beyond work too. Get to know them on a personal level. After all, If you work full-time, you spend the majority of your time with them!
  45. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  46. Be aware of how your work and your efforts have a broader impact and contribute to the wider, common good.
  47. Improve your commute – listen to a podcast, new music, or if you take public transport, read something.
  48. Keep up-to-date with company-wide changes and updates.
  49. Identify gaps in your knowledge and skills, then fill them.
  50. Read materials and books – such as self-help books – outside of work that will also help you in work.

If you made it to the end, I hope you’re feeling positive and inspired to take some of these tips on board and implement them! With just a few little tweaks and changes to our approach and the way that we think about our work, we can set ourselves up to have a much more positive outlook.

I’m incredibly lucky that I love working at Embryo, and I love the team that we have here. They make it extremely easy to get up and feel positive about work every day. If you’re looking for a new challenge this year and want to work with a supportive, forward-thinking and talented team, then check out the vacancies advertised on our website and get in touch!