There was something that initially drew you to your line of work. It might have been the basic nature of your personality, or possibly your goals and dreams for the future. There is an aspect of your job that once, and hopefully still does, bring you joy.
For me, I went into finance because I love to do analysis. My brain is always analyzing things. It’s a bit of a curse, in that it’s very hard for me to calm my brain, but I’m also really good at it. So what attracted me to finance as a career was being able to analyze the profitability of a division, product line, large capital project, recent acquisition, etc. I completely immersed myself in it and truly loved it. Others of you are lawyers, carpenters, nurses, teachers, graphic designers, or whatever, and, like me, there is a basic, fundamental aspect of your work that you love.
There is a seminal book by a Russian author with an impossible-to-pronounce last name, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (!), titled “Flow,” which is fascinating and addresses this concept. Mihaly posits that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow—a state of complete concentration in an activity or situation. He explains that flow is characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill, during which temporal concerns (e.g., time, ego, self) are typically ignored. It is a state of total immersion and lack of self-consciousness, and pure joy.
You might say to me that whatever initially drew you to your career, and which allows you to achieve a state of flow, is also sadly not how you spend much of your work day. Paperwork, meetings, administrative tasks, supervising others, etc. demand much of your attention and are a required part of the job. All I can say is that you are an adult, so you can’t simply ignore these more mundane and less satisfying responsibilities.
However, you can still occasionally revel in the aspect of your job that truly makes your heart sing and gives you the blissful feeling of flow, just as you did when you first began your career. Spend at least a portion of your day working on and fully appreciating the aspect of your job that led you to your life’s work. It will remind you of why you were put here on earth, and give you the well-deserved and rare gift of joyful living.