You may not be working at your dream job right now, but given that you spend a huge percentage of your waking hours at work, it’s important to find happiness where you can during the working day. From someone who has made the move from the corporate world to working for myself, I have discovered some cool things you can do everyday to be happier at work.
Take control of your diary not the other way round
This may sound obvious but taking control of your diary so that it works for you not against you, is a great first step in being happier at work. And I’m not just talking about your work diary but your personal one too. You know those those difficult days, the ones which you’re always dreading, make sure you build in enough preparation time so that you nail those challenging meetings and presentations etc. And to make those days a bit better, plan something in there that makes you smile whether it’s a meal with a friend or seeing that film you’ve been wanting to see, squeeze a treat in there somewhere. On other days, build in comfort breaks throughout the day and make time for lunch – give yourself space to clear your head, it’ll make you more productive. Do that trick that time management courses teach you, where you check your email at set times only rather than every time a new one pings into your in tray. Be the boss of your diary and be the boss of you, you’ll be so much happier.
Easy to say, not quite so easy to do. Over the last few years, since running my own business, I have been the Queen of Worry so I signed up to an Overcoming Worry course which I’ve recently finished. The most important thing I learned is that if you are worrying over something you have no control over, it’s a big, fat waste of time and energy. You become less productive and less motivated. Give yourself permission to stop – this sounds like a small thing but it’s actually very helpful. Then shift your focus on to something else entirely. Keep repeating these steps until you stop worrying about it.
If you are worrying about something you do have control over, then set aside some time each day (week or month depending on how big a worry it is) and figure out how you’re going to get on top of this thing. Only worry at those set times, the rest of the time give yourself permission not to worry until the allocated time. During your worry time, focus on creating a solution to the issue that’s causing the worry and then plan how and when you’re going to take action. It really works, give it a go.
Have a plan
If you’re not totally happy at work, then create a plan that you can work on that is taking you closer to what you really want to be doing. Once you have an idea about what this plan is going to be, get it down on paper. It doesn’t have to be a long, complicated document, it can just be a side of A4, but the act of writing it down, makes it real. Even better, break the plan down into goals and steps that can be taken to achieve those goals. Set aside a specific period of time each day to work on your plan – it may be as little as 10 minutes or as much as 45 minutes. But be realistic and stick to it 5 days a week. As someone who moved from the corporate world to working for myself, having a plan really helped me move things forward. It was only once I formalised my plan in writing and figured out the steps I needed to take to get the ball rolling, that I started to move forwards. Just knowing I had a plan under my belt kept me excited, motivated and happy.
Connect with uplifting people
Identify who the cool people in the office are. Who are the people who are uplifting, happy and positive? Find them and befriend them. Avoid the moaners. They just bitch about the work, the people, the culture etc but don’t do anything about it. Don’t become one of their gang, they’ll drag you down. If you really believe in what the moaners are saying about your work environment, then you need to move on and do so urgently. Get cracking on that plan (see above). When you’re bored or frustrated or unhappy at work, it’s easy to join the moaners but it’ll lead to misery and non-action.
Move your body
If your job is sedentary and involves sitting at your desk all day, make sure you build in time to head outdoors. For your own sanity, this is crucial. Fresh air and a complete break will help you think things through and will make you more productive when you come back to your desk so even your boss should be onside with this. If you’re remotely sporty, a run will sort you out but if that’s not your thing, go for a fast walk. Getting active gives you energy and makes you happier. Commit to doing something energetic for at least 20 minutes a day and watch your happiness levels head up. I work from home so I get up every few hours and have a bit of a dance.
Do more of what you love
Figure out the elements of your job that you really love and figure out how you might do more of that during your working day or week. Think creatively about how you might use those skills in different ways. Talk to your boss and team about how you might use more of your skills and passions to benefit the wider team.
Do more of what you love in your spare time too. If you’re happier in your personal life, you’ll more likely be happier at work too. Reconnect with the fun you. Experience new things, meet new people, go to new places and do more of the things that you know you love and enjoy. Promise yourself to do something you love each day however small it maybe.