Even if you tap dance all the way to your office building, we can all stand to have a few tips in our back pockets on how to be happier at work. And even more so if you're one of the ones that count their hours till Friday. But whether you can't wait till the hour strikes five or if you get excited flinging off the covers in the morning, slumps and rough patches happen to us all. During moments like those it's helpful to know how to keep the happy momentum going to push you through.
While decorating your desk with peonies or family photos might do the trick, or having a secret stash of chocolate in your bottom drawer acts like a life saver, the real trick has to do with renewing your sense of purpose. No one likes to feel like they're in a dead-end job or what they're doing isn't worthy a huge chunk of their day — that's when the real unhappiness starts to set in. Instead you have to focus your day around your goals and your contributions, with little extra perks sprinkled throughout. Don't worry, it's actually a lot easier than it might sound. Below are seven tips on how to be happier at work. Just wait, before long you'll find yourself whistling on your way to work.
1. See How The Projects You're Working On Fit Into Your Goals
Not everyone is in their dream job, and because of it it can feel like you're wasting time and talents. But everything you do gets you closer to your goals — and sometimes you have to remind yourself that. If you start feeling down on your position, write out how each of your projects or responsibilities are bringing you closer to where you want to be.
Entrepreneur writer and Huffington Post contributor Geoffrey James wrote, "You'll make better decisions and be more satisfied with your results if you know that most of what you're doing in your work at this time still fits into your long-term plans and goals. That's only possible if you keep those plans and goals in the forefront."
Make a list of your plans, and then see how your responsibilities are helping you get there. Whether it's something as simple as learning how to negotiate or something as specific as learning tricks of the trade, it all helps. You'll see that all your hard work isn't for naught.
2. Stop Multi-Tasking
While it might sound impressive doing three tasks at once, it doesn't actually do anything other than slow you down, makes you lose focus, and tire you out. When you have so many balls in the air, you can only start to feel frazzled and over worked. Clifford Nass, a psychology professor at Stanford University claimed that multitasking "wastes more time than it saves," and it's no wonder when you can't give something your full efforts.
Feel less stressed and more productive at work by taking it one task at a time. You'll get it all done, and you won't feel as burnt out at the end.
3. Track Your Efforts, Not Accomplishments
Success isn't only measured by wins, it's also measured by your tries. Even if you don't succeed in something, it'll make you happier knowing you tried to do something that would further your career and your goals.
Catherine Jessen, career contributor at career-development site The Muse, offered, "Try making a habit of focusing on quality over quantity. It’s so easy to get caught up in how many followers, dollars, and hours you rack up per month, but the size of that number doesn’t always translate into the amount of happiness you feel. Keep track of what you’ve done, focus on the tiny wins, and know that the larger accomplishments will soon follow."
At the end of every month, write down a list of all the efforts you made that would move you up in your one year plan. Knowing that you're keeping pace will make you so much more happier.
4. Listen Or Read Things That'll Inspire You
Whether if it's on the train in or at your desk while working, fill up the white noise with something inspiring. Put on TED talks that will motivate you to stay a go-getter or listen to podcasts that have to do with your area of interest — hearing motivating information come through will keep you inspired and eager to work.
James suggested, "Rather than distract yourself with news or "entertainment" that only adds to your stress, fill your quieter moments with music, books and TED-like talks that are uplifting and help you aspire to be your best." If you're surrounded by motivating information, you'll be hard-pressed to feel in the slumps while on the clock.
5. Break The Busy Work
Sometimes busy work can't be helped, but if you're bogged down by it make sure you carve out some time to do something that'll make you feel productive or inspired. James offered, "Hopefully your day-to-day work is a worthwhile endeavor, but if you're stuck in a holding pattern of busywork (it happens to all of us), make the extra effort to find something to do that makes a difference and improves the world."
Whether that's taking half an hour to read an industry article, to make connections on social media with people that can teach or inspire you, or brainstorm a new project to pitch, taking those productive breaks will help to perk you back up.
6. Switch Up Your Routine
Sometimes all it takes is a break in routine to make you a little more happier.
Jessen highlighted, "Sometimes it’s just the fact that your days seem to pass by similarly that has you feeling stuck in a rut. So, find a way to switch it up! Walk or bike to work instead of your usual commute to give your mornings a fresh perspective. Ask a friend to lunch instead of grabbing a quite bite at your usual deli. See if you can spend a few hours in the afternoon working from a coffee shop instead of your cubicle." Whether it's trying out that new bakery you passed on the way to work or making plans for fancy, fizzy cocktails for happy hour, shaking things up could go a long way to make you happier.
7. Reward Yourself
You can't just work and work and not bask in the glow of it. At the end of each week, look back and see what you accomplished and congratulate yourself on it. Whether if it's with a mental high five or with one of those expensive cupcakes you love, you'll feel so much more happier (and motivated) if only you acknowledge all the efforts you've been making.
Rampton suggested, "Whether it's by going out to dinner with your significant other, purchasing a new gadget, enjoying a piece of candy, or giving yourself a pat on the back, (the politician applause), find the time to reward yourself after you've completed a project or had a fruitful day."
Acknowledge your excellent work and you'll stay chipper. You deserve to be proud of yourself, and, more importantly, you deserve to be happy.