How to be Happier at Work
Dreading going to work in the morning doesn't necessarily mean you hate your job. It could simply mean that you're spending too much time sitting at your desk, feeling isolated, or worrying about your loooong to do list. There are many things we can do throughout the day to boost our spirit and improve our longterm happiness. Here are some the things that work for me:
Sitting at a desk all day can be very uncomfortable and even painful. Take a 3-5 minute break every hour to fit in some deskercise. Follow these stretches to reduce neck and shoulder pain. You'll feel ten times better, I promise.
Take a break from your desk
Staring at your computer for 8 hours straight is not healthy — you need a break. If you're feeling uncomfortable, overwhelmed or stressed, take a break from the desk. Go for a walk, grab a coffee, go out for lunch, go to the gym. If you don't have a flexible work schedule, try to fit something in on your lunch break.
Practicing mindfulness is all about focusing on the present moment and not worrying about the past or the future. Focusing your energy and thoughts on the present moment will reduce your stress about things you cannot change or control. A lot of us have the mindset that “If I work harder, I’ll be more successful and then I’ll be happier.” This formula is flawed — you will never achieve happiness because you'll always be chasing bigger and better things. Stop pushing off happiness and focus on right now — read this article to get started.
Prioritize your to do list and make a schedule
Feeling overwhelmed is a huge source of stress in the workplace. Make a list of your tasks then prioritize and schedule them. If you have more on your plate than you can handle, ask for help and learn to say no to accepting new tasks. Not only will you burn out, but you won't be doing your best work when you rush. I use Google Calendar to schedule my work day — it even reminds you when you're supposed to be doing something!
If my desk is a mess, my brain is a mess. It can be hard to find time to organize but the 15 minutes of cleaning will be worth it. You'll be more relaxed and focused that the rest of your day will be more productive.
Setting realistic and specific goals will motivate you to complete tasks. Completing goals will make you feel accomplished and boost your mood. Acknowledge your progress and your coworkers' progress to boost morale in your workplace.
Make a habit of setting aside time to focus on what you are thankful for. This can just be the few minutes in your car while you're commuting to and from work. Showing gratitude makes us happier and healthier — science says so.
Maintain a work-life balance
Even if you love your job, you don't want to work (or worry about work) 24/7. If you find yourself checking your email 5 times every night, it might be time to set up some boundaries for yourself. Many of us are not expected to be on call 24/7 but for some reason we are always worrying about what's in our inbox and what we are facing the next day. Force yourself to put down the computer or the phone for the entire evening and focus on spending time with your friends and family. You will be happier and recharged for the next day. Work is not the only important thing in your life.
Find meaning at work
If you're a nurse, a teacher, a police officer, or a fire fighter, it's probably easy to find meaning in your work, but it's important for everybody else too. Feeling like you are contributing to something positive can be a huge morale boost. When I worked at a charity it was easy; even when I was cleaning out the closet I still felt like I was making a huge contribution to other people's lives. At other jobs you have to dig a little deeper. Maybe you're working at a local company and contributing to the small business landscape, or maybe you're working at a bigger company with a great sense of corporate social responsibility. There is meaning in every job, you just have to find it.