10 Tips To Help Find YOUR Happiness At Work
Updated: Jan 3
Are you happy at work? Would you go to your current job if you didn't get paid? How you answer that question may reveal important insights into how your job affects your long-term happiness.
Over a lifetime, workers spend an average of 90,000 hours on the job, according to data from Happiness at Work (link is external). For that reason, author Jessica Pryce-Jones suggested to Forbes.com that we should make careful choices about the employment we choose. Coming back from a recession where millions of jobs were lost, remaining workers are doing more work with fewer resources and a heavy helping of distrust in management. That said: Is it possible to find happiness at work these days? Some experts say: Yes.
Try out these 10 tips to help find YOUR happiness at work.
Throw Out Labels We spend most of our lives instantly judging things that happen to us. It’s raining: Bad. No bonus this year: Very bad. The boss is out of town: Very good. Author of Happiness At Work, Srikumar Rao, Ph.D., says you can boost your sense of calm by turning off the mental labels. If you decide something is bad, it most likely will be, he says.
Let It Go When something throws you off, being able to let it go quickly will exponentially increase your happiness at work. The ability to move on–resilience–enables you to handle work challenges with composure and strength. Instead of focusing on how bad a situation is, focus on how to fix it or the next step.
Write a To-Do List It’s hard to feel resilient when you also feel like you have no power over your work day. You can take some of that control back by writing a to-do list and completing tasks in that order. Also, limiting distractions by scheduling times to check e-mail or social networking sites will help keep you on task and feeling productive.
Focus And Engage “The current workforce is like the cast of the Night of The Living Dead, says Rao. Disengaged worker-zombies do nothing for the company or for individual morale. If you are able to get excited about your work and focus on it with full attention, time will go by faster and the experience will be much more pleasant.
Quiet Mental Chatter A constant stream of negative thoughts sends many workers into a downward spiral of unhappiness. Quiet the chaos by redirecting your thoughts. Think of a positive memory and create a mental image of it. The next time you have an idle moment, instead of surfing the Web, draw up this mental screensaver. Replay this in order to reset your mind and scale back the negative
Find Restorative Time Workplaces are stressful and you need to cope. But “alcohol and TV won’t help,” says happiness author Jessica Pryce-Jones. Instead, set aside some time each day to recharge. Taking a peaceful walk at lunch rather than mindlessly eating at your desk will restore calm. Maybe a warm bath in the evening or fun book for the commute are your fix-its. Experiment and find what works for you.
Connect To Your Values People who feel more connected to the company’s mission and feel like their work is valuable or meaningful are more likely to be happy on the job. If you begin to feel like your work is meaningless, look at the big picture: Work for a pharmaceuticals company? Think of the lives being saved. Or, consider how showing up each day aligns with your personal values. The money you earn supports your life outside of work, and whether that’s your family or a hobby, it’s a good reason to keep coming in with a smile.
We’re the Same It’s easy to put people–colleagues, bosses, and clients–into categories. People I don’t like; people I do like. Me vs. them. A simple way to make work relationships more pleasant is by finding common ground. Consider what makes you similar to your co-workers rather than different and the dynamics of the relationship will change. Social interaction play a huge part in your happiness on the job, so it should prove a good investment of your time and energy.
Feel Compassion for a Toxic Boss The No. 1 reason employees leave a company is because of a bad boss, says Rao. They’re everywhere, and you’re likely working with one. See a boss for who he or she really is, he advises, and feel compassion for them: “You have to put up with her a couple hours a week, and she has to put up with herself her whole life.” Rao suggests picturing a toxic boss as a child having a temper tantrum. When you remember the negativity is all about them, not you, you’ll be better able to shrug it off.
Know When to Leave You can do everything right and still be dissatisfied with your job. If you’ve tried everything in your power to make a situation work and you’re still unhappy, that’s when it’s time to leave. Situations can be salvageable, and it’s in your best interest to admit it and move on. Since we mentioned before workers spend an average of 90,000 hours at work in their lifetimes. You owe it to yourself–and your health–to discover happiness on and off the clock.