tired-dogThere are few worse feelings at work than that of the life being sucked out of you by a terrible piece of work you have been given. This is even worse if said project is one which you are going to deal with day in and day out for the foreseeable future.

The answer is either to get really depressed or to fight back and try to stop your work getting you down. I know which approach I would prefer to take.

See the Bright Side

Even the kind of project which makes you almost weep with frustration and which turns the daily commute to work into a form of torture can have a bright side. It is now up to you to find it and to work out how it can help you. For example, could it be that you could make life better for yourself by focusing more on the parts of the project you enjoy most? I am not talking about just dumping the horrible stuff onto other people. Instead, this is about working out what is going to keep you happy and finding out how to make it happen. This might be easy or it might be extremely tough but if you get it right then it will be a huge relief to you.

Rely on Your Professional Pride

You aren’t going to be so unprofessional that you mope about with a long face on during your project, are you? Your professional pride should tell you that you can’t do this and that you need to find a way of looking happier and more relaxed with the piece of work. Even if your technical skills are great you aren’t going to impress anyone if you look miserable all the time.

Think of Your Future Career

If you plan to make a long term career out of project management then you will want to enjoy it and to let other people see that you are enjoying it too. This will mean that you feel comfortable about moving forward in the role and you will let your bosses see that you are happy doing it. When I am feeling a bit down because a job isn’t going well or isn’t what I want to do then I like to try and remind myself that this is the career I want to be involved in and that I will fight to make it work. Sometimes it is simply about toughing it out when a job is sucking the life out of you and trying your best to get through to the next project, when hopefully you will get given something more interesting to work on.

Make It Fun

The best example I can give of the importance of having fun at work comes from a non project job I did once. I was in a customer facing position and all day I would have people coming in to ask me (usually very simple) questions. After a while in this role I came to the conclusion that the amount I enjoyed my day depended largely upon how much fun I put into it. If I greeted all of my customers with a long face they usually responded likewise, while the days in which I had a smile on my face and a cheery quip for everyone were usually far more enjoyable. Although this wasn’t in a project management role it is easy to find a few situations in which you can use this same principle to make your projects work better.

Get It Off Your Chest

Another way of stopping a bad project from sucking the life out of you is to get the problems off your chest more often. I like the curative power of a good moan now and then while others might want to rant, rave or even whinge. Whichever way you choose to free yourself from your tension is alright, as long you as choose the time and place wisely. For example, in the staff restaurant with your closest colleague is fine but in a project meeting with all of the stakeholders isn’t. There are many benefits to getting something off your chest and the simplest one is that you will feel a whole lot better after doing this. You might even realize once you have finished ranting, raving or whinging that the reason you got so upset wasn’t really all that big a deal in the first place.