How to have fun (and be productive!) at work

Can work and fun coexist? End the eternal debate, and have fun while still being professional and productive! They work in harmony better than you may think.

In this video, Dr. Melissa Gratias will show you how to turn work day drudgery into productive fun.

Don’t want to watch the video?  The transcript is below.


Hi, this is Dr. Melissa Gratias, and the purpose of this video is to help you have more fun at work, because when work is fun it’s easier to be productive. In the type of environment where you enjoy your work, your colleagues, and what you’re doing, things are more productive and fun.


So, here are a few tips for you…


Three specific ones to help you inject more fun into your work.


First tip. Every project, especially one that is going to go on your calendar, needs a name. Your project needs a good name, even more so when you’re pulling in bunches of people to work together, don’t name your project “Project Floosy WhatsitsTo Confirm and Configure the ABC Convector”, that’s boring. Name your projects after military operations. Go online and Google “military operation name generator.” There are a lot of them, and it’s really fun. The good ones will take you through a few questions. For example, is this a land, sea, or air operation? Then it gives you a randomly generated military name. Isn’t it much more fun to have Operation Red Phoenix or Project Silver Sword on a calendar rather than “let’s configure the ABC convector”? Name your projects after military operations to have a little bit more fun at work.


Second thing is to compliment at least one person every day on a specific aspect of their work. Compliment one person with whom you work every day on something that they’ve done. Something they do regularly or did one time. Find something nice to say about a person’s work. Here’s what that does. It’s twofold. Number one, it forces you to look for the good things in your colleagues, and in your work environment. It also makes other people feel really good. When you say thanks to someone there’s an acronym that I recommend using: BET– Behavior Effect Thanks.


When you’re thanking someone or complimenting the good things that they’ve done:

  1. Tell them what behavior was so great
  2. The positive effect of that behavior on someone else, the workplace, or the project
  3. Say thanks


Instead of just saying thanks, tell them what behavior was good and the effect it had. So, compliment or thank one person at work every single day. It helps you and makes everyone feel amazing.


Have fun at work by, first, naming your project after military operations, and, second, complimenting or thanking one person every day.


The third thing is to have fun at work by doing things like having a dry erase board hung up somewhere central where you can write funny or clever things that people say. Every time you look at them they become inside jokes. You’re creating your own culture of camaraderie witha quote board. It’s for funny things people say. It is for nice quotes though, not to say bad things about the powers-that-be or whatnot, but a quote board is a really fun way to build a team. You can be in a meeting and say “Yeah. That’s going on the quote board,” and it lightens the entire meeting. Think about using a quote board to build team camaraderie.


Having fun at work does not mean you’re unprofessional. Do things appropriately, read your environment, and have some fun, because it will improve your productivity and that of other people.


This is Dr. Melissa Gratias. You can get these and many other tips on my website There are lots of productivity tips, and a contact form you can fill out if you’d like to have a no-cost-to-you conversation with me about what it would look like to receive coaching from me on your productivity and effectiveness at work. Again, this is Dr. Melissa Gratias. Have a wonderful and productive day!


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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.

1 Comment

  1. Sarah C Westcott

    2+ decades ago, I worked at an amazing technology consulting company (Cambridge Technology Partners). Because we often worked very long hours, and often on the road for months at a time, fun was built into the culture of our teams. In fact, we often referred to our culture as “the Cambridge Magic.” One of my favorite project teams had a big magnetic white board, on which we drew a sliding curve we called the “Happy Chart.” Armed with magnets with funny pictures of ourselves, we used the scale as a daily barometer of our general moods. From “where’s the ledge, I’m ready to jump” at the bottom to “so happy I could pee my pants” at the top, we all participated in moving our magnets (and sometimes our teammates’!) along the happy chart scale. The purpose was to help communicate to each other how we were feeling, without words, but also to impart ownership to the entire team to engage in encouragement through the challenges and celebration in the successes. I look back and think about how hokey that was, but in the end, how valuable it was to building team connectedness and mutual support. Here’s to making work fun again!


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