Friday afternoon! Yay!
How has your #WeekofHappinessatWork been?
That makes it sound as though that’s it, no more happiness at work. Obviously, that is so not the intention of this week. We want every week to be a week of happiness at work. This may seem unattainable to some, but there are things you can do.
And in all honesty, even at the happiest of workplaces, there are bound to be days where things don’t go your way. So what then? How do you deal with that?
It’s all about resilience, dealing with your emotions, emotional intelligence.
This week started very badly for me. I started tired, got up late on Monday, and a personal disappointment that day put me in a bad mood. A very early start on Tuesday made me even more tired and my exercise regime suffered. Alright, I did none on Monday or Tuesday. Healthy eating went out of the window. And work productivity slowed right down. Just goes to show how much being tired screws things up.
But I rescued my week. Want to know how? Here’s my top five tips on how to get out of this kind of funk. Using one or more of these at work can help you to feel happier in a very short time.
On Monday I missed my walk. On Tuesday I missed the gym, although I did manage about 5k steps getting to a meeting and back. By Wednesday I was thoroughly fed up. So I made myself go to the gym. I did half an hour of weights and then some intervals on the rower. Big tick for feeling happier.
If you’re not a regular exerciser, just take a 10 – 15 minute walk, after lunch is good. In a park or green area is helpful, but even if you’re in a busy street, the movement will lift your mood.
Reading is my favourite thing when I need to recharge, but relaxation – sitting in a park if the weather is kind, meditation, get a manicure in your lunch break….
Eat your favourite healthy meal. Or sometimes, your favourite treat. Cake, chocolate, bread, cheese, whatever it is. (Not alcohol, not in the workday anyway). If you go for the healthy option, feel the virtue of this. If you go for something else, be mindful as you eat it. Don’t stuff it down. For Friends fans, like Phoebe’s psychiatrist boyfriend Roger said to Monica about the cookies, ‘Remember, they’re just food, they’re not love.’ Sit down, make an occasion of it. Enjoy every mouthful.
Take a short break from what you’re doing and have some social interaction with someone whose company you like.
Sometimes, giving yourself permission to slow down means you get more done.
By Wednesday, I‘d decided that getting to the gym was enough for that day. But if I look back over this week, I’ve
Another friend did the same – decided she was going to stop and take the afternoon off. And in doing so had a new idea for a business project, which she made a start on. Sometimes the space to slow down leaves room for other great things.
How about you? What’s your favourite thing to do to lift your mood at work when it’s not going well?
Who loves being told what to do? Not many of us, I’m willing to bet. I was talking to my daughter earlier, and she mentioned she’d been looking for new glasses with a friend. The friend said her husband has the last word on her new glasses – he would say if she could have them or not. My daughter was horrified – and said if her husband tolde her she couldn’t have them, those are the ones she’d buy, even if she didn’t like them herself. Just to make the point he couldn’t tell her what to do. (He doesn’t, just to be clear. Which is possibly one reason she was horrified that someone else’s husband would.)
It’s one thing for husbands and wives, but does your boss have the power to tell you what to do? Certainly some bosses act as though they do, and I guess if you push it, there is an expectation that they can. I remember years ago a colleague recounting a conversation with one of her team members
Jane: Are you telling me to do it?
Sue: No, I’m asking you
Jane: If I say no?
Sue: Then I’m telling you
Daniel Pink says that autonomy is one of our most important drivers, so what do you do if your boss is always telling you what to do? It's a key aspect of happiness at work.
It can feel stifling if we feel powerless at work, and certainly some work environments drain the life out of people because of this. But there is always something you can do. Job crafting means thinking about the purpose of your work, what is important to you, what you enjoy, and crafting more of those things into your work every day.
Even if you have the most micromanaging manager of all time (I’ve met one or two of them) you can take control of how you feel about your work. As Viktor Frankl said in Man's Search for Meaning,
'...the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.'
Both books are an inspiring read, and you can watch my reviews of them here.
I've written more on this subject here
What will you do to take control and gain a little autonomy for yourself? Taking even the smallest of steps will help you to feel happier at work. Let me know in the comments below what change you will make to be happier at work.
Maybe I should have written this on Monday, because I have an irresistable urge to continue..tell me why....I don't like Mondays. It's kind of relevant, because this is all about purpose at work, why do you do what you do? And what has that got to do with the #WeekofHappinessatWork?
From Simon Sinek’s Start with Why, via Daniel Pink’s Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us, to Kevin Murray’s People with purpose, authors and researchers are showing us how purpose makes a difference with our motivation and productivity at work. According to Murray, your job as a leader is to give everyone in your team or organisation a greater sense of purpose. It delivers better performance and faster growth. Employees live longer, have fewer illnesses (less sickness absence) happier lives and feel fulfilled
I wrote that in February last year. The problem often is, what if your manager isn’t delivering on his job of creating a sense of purpose in the team? The solution is to take control yourself. This article in Forbes said
'People often attribute their sense of purpose to three elements: feeling connected to something bigger than themselves, knowing their work matters and, perhaps most importantly, understanding how their work affects other people—not just the organization's bottom line.'
If you’re finding it difficult to be happy at work, maybe reconnecting with why you’re doing the job you’re doing will improve your mood. Think further than ‘because I need the money.’ Take a notebook and make some notes on what it is about your work that is bigger than you. Who does your work matter to? And how does it affect other people? Whether that’s the people in your life, or the people you’re serving with your work.
I'd love to see what you discovered, let me know in the comments below.
For more thoughts on purpose you can also watch my review of How to be Happy at Work by Annie McKee here
One of the key indicators of a good workplace is whether you have friendships at work. And one thing that can foster friendships is shared activities. The simplest and most obvious one in the workplace, especially if you work a roughly 9-5 work day, is lunch. What happens at lunchtime? Do you work through and eat a sandwich at your desk? I hope not, because there are so many benefits to taking a break.
If you have a dedicated space in your workplace to get away from your desk and eat lunch, make a point of doing that for the rest of this week. If you don’t have a dedicated space, suggest to a co worker or three that you get out of the office and go somewhere for lunch. Use it as an opportunity to get to know someone a little better.
Let me know what you’re doing for lunch for the rest of this week.
If you want more ideas for how to be happy at work, start here.
Today marks the beginning of the International Week of Happiness at Work. Hmm, if you need this, I guess you’re in trouble. My view is that every week should be happy at work. But too many people don’t feel like that about it.
To mark the week, I’m going to post a new article every day looking at the issues. If you want to join the conversation, you can find me on twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Instagram, You Tube and my website.
What are your initial thoughts about a week of happiness at work? Post in the comments below, or on any of the social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook and Linked In links are below in About the Author.
Instagram is new ish, but I can be found here
If you want to make a start, get my seven things you can do today to be happier at work