How to Improve Your Happiness at Work

Happiness thumbs up business suit ready to work

How to Improve Your Happiness at Work

The truth is that for many Americans work is simply not something that they enjoy. In fact, in a recent survey it was found that more than 80% of American workers were unhappy at their job. It’s not that people don’t like to work (we all get some satisfaction by working hard). However, it’s often all of the things that come along with work such as the environment, the commute, and the culture that can make our jobs unpleasant.

Certainly, unhappiness can come from a variety of sources. However, the truth is that happiness is within all of us. In other words, we all have a choice in whether or not we want to be happy. We can choose to focus on the negative or on the positive and that is to say that happiness is really up to each and every one of us.

Moreover, the word “happiness” is related to the word “happenings” which suggests that your happiness has something to do with what’s going on in the world around you.  Obviously, this conclusion is false because if your happiness is tied to “happenings” then you will undoubtedly be unhappy (have you read the news lately?).

True happiness comes from within. Seek inner joy rather than outer happiness and you will be rewarded with better health, improved emotions, and more satisfaction in life. Finding joy in a broken world is challenging. Moreover, some of us still need some inspiration or simple tips to help cope with their working environment. Therefore, this article will discuss several simple ideas to help improve your happiness at work. After all, most of us have to work for a living so why not make the most of that time!

Develop a Morning Routine

Sometimes I hear people say that they hate the act of getting ready and going to work more than anything else. But once they’re at work they tend to do okay. This is probably because getting up in the morning and getting ready for work is hectic and stressful. So it follows then that if you could reduce your morning stress it would also improve your happiness when it comes to going to work. You can reduce your stress in a number of ways. First, you should develop a routine that suits you well. A morning routine will make it easier to get things done quickly and efficiently. It also can become an automatic task over time. Anything that you can do to reduce your stress is going to be helpful. Even taking some time in the morning to relax and drink a cup of coffee or tea can do wonders for your health and your mood.

Drinking Coffee or tea in the morning before workAnother benefit of a consistent morning routine, especially one that includes exercise, is that it “sets the stage” for the day. Furthermore, a good morning will very often result in a good day.  On the other hand, if you have a bad morning and “wake up on the wrong side of the bed,” it’s likely that your entire day will suffer.  In addition, it also helps to get an ample amount of sleep the night before so that you will wake up in the morning feeling refreshed.  If you need some tips on how to sleep better at night, check out this article which offers several tips to improve your sleep: How I Eliminated My Insomnia and Finally Learned to Sleep Better.

Maintain Work-Life Balance

The idea of maintaining a work-life balance is something that encompasses a large variety of tips and tactics designed to improve work performance, family life, and overall happiness. Much has be written on the subject. Indeed, maintaining a good work-life balance will go a long way promoting happiness at work.

Some simple tips to keep in mind would be to leave work at work and home at home. When you are at work you should be working. Stay focused, work hard, and avoid distractions and time wasting tasks. Of course, this is easier said than done. Follow these 7 tips to increase your productivity and you’ll be able to get more work done than everyone else.  The benefit here is that when you leave for the day, you will have much more motivation and incentive to actually shut down your work.

When you are at home, resist the temptation to respond to emails. Leave work at work and enjoy your time away. Turn off your phone after hours and be sure to communicate to your colleagues that you won’t be responding to emails or text messages at home. You may have to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your boss, however, I’m sure he/she will understand the importance of maintaining a balance. Without a balance you will likely develop higher stress levels and eventually burn out at work.

Focus on the Positive

This almost goes without saying, however, try your best to focus on the positive aspects of every day. This very tip alone is so important it’s no wonder I’ve written about in several other articles on this site. I know it’s tough to resist dwelling on all of the stuff that you don’t like.  It can be tempting to focus on everything that went wrong or the stuff that just “grinds your gears.”  It’s likely that you’ll also need to avoid the crowd mentality to be able to transcend the negativity.  Learn to be the positive light in your workplace and I promise that your emotions will be contagious. By focusing on the Cool Smiling Dude at Workpositive you will eventually become happier and healthier and everyone around you will benefit as well.

If you need some help staying positive trying reading inspirational books and stories.  Stories of people overcoming adversity or going to great lengths to help others can help you see the good in the world.  Another good tip is to smile as often as you can.  By forcing a smile, even when you aren’t feeling happy, you’ll start to feel better. Your co-workers will notice as well.

Let the Little Stuff Go

Just like focusing on the positive, you need to develop a way to start letting things go. Don’t let the little things get to you and tear you apart. In my personal life I’ve developed an attitude that allows me to overlook the many things that used to frustrate me. When I realized that most of the things that tended to bother me were out of my control, I decided to not let it bring me down. If there isn’t anything I can do something about or if I couldn’t control or influence it, then there is no sense in worrying about it. Make the best of what you have and forgive people if they make you angry or frustrate you.

Celebrate Progress and Results

Another way you can be happier at work is to find ways to celebrate the progress and results that you and your team have attained. If you have set a long-term goal, for example, it might be wise to celebrate the accomplishments of milestones that you have completed. When your team succeeds on a project or task then a celebration is warranted. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss if you can do an office party or go out for lunch as a way to reward yourself and your team for your hard work. Celebrating results is something that most bosses can get behind.

Dart on Target

Learn New skills

When you learn new skills in the workplace your job may become easier and you may be more respected. Learning new skills also helps to set you up to do more tasks that you may enjoy or even get you ready for a promotion. In addition, learning and growing is often associated and happiness. Learning new things will cut through the monotony of the day and make work exciting. Sometimes attending training classes or acquiring a new skill is all you need to promote your own  happiness.

If you’re having a hard time learning new things at your job, it’s probably time to ask your supervisor if you can do something new or take some training instead. Personally, I enjoy going to training classes and conferences because it allows me to expand my horizons and come back with new knowledge for my team.  My team can grow with me as well, leading to more success and happiness.

Do More of What You Enjoy

This one probably goes without saying. If you’re able to do more of the things that you enjoy at work then it’s likely you will be happier on the job. Ask to take on tasks that you enjoy while also looking to delegate those things that you don’t enjoy to someone else who may be willing to do it. When you enjoy your work you’ll get better at it and eventually you may even become an expert in your field. In large organizations it’s possible for teams to reorganize so that everyone can do what they are best at.  You’ll also be more productive and get better results if you enjoy the work.

If re-allocating work within your team is not an option then you can look into transferring to another position within your organization.  Where I work, lateral transfers occur a few times a year. The executive team takes input from everyone and makes adjustments to utilize people to the best of their ability. This improves efficiency, morale, and makes for a better working environment.

Vacation and Relaxing after work.

Take a Vacation

And finally, the last tip I have is simply to take a vacation. Another sad truth about the working class in America is that most people don’t go on enough vacations. In fact one survey I read about said that Americans left 662 million vacation days unused in 2016 (Source). This means that a lot of people aren’t taking vacations for whatever reason, even when they had the time available to do so.

Taking a vacation from a high pressure or a high-workload job can be challenging but by discussing your upcoming time off with your team and your boss it can help to make it a reality. Be sure to spend ample time planning your time away and clear your calendar so you’re free to go when the time comes.

When I take vacations I start talking to my boss and my employees weeks in advance. I make sure to allocate specific tasks to team members to cover any projects that I am working on. In addition, I will often do whatever else is necessary, such as working extra hours in the time leading up to my vacation, so that I can truly shut off when I’m gone. For some tips on how to maximize your vacation time check out this article: How to Recharge Your Life by Taking Breaks and Enjoying Vacations.

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