Research shows that having a job is critical to an individual’s happiness – regardless of how much we might complain about them! And people who are happy with their jobs are happier in general.
Work can provide us with a real sense of self; an opportunity for creativity, an outlet for aggression and a sense of accomplishment or success when we complete a project or assignment. Just consider how lucky our family is when we can “attack” a project or a problem at work, and come home with that aggression relieved!
But let’s admit, it is not always easy to be happy about our jobs. We encounter difficult, complex situations that seem impossible to overcome -- like that report that will take three people six weeks to compile, and you and your assistant have to get it done by Monday. You have to deal with vendors whose priorities do not mesh smoothly with yours, and clients who want it all by 2 p.m. And then there are those difficult coworkers whose annoying habits and time-sucking behaviors never fail to eat up precious work time.
It all makes you ask, “How can anyone possibly be happy in a place like this?”
Well, happiness is largely a choice. (I can hear your groans.) But really, you are in control of how you feel, and with a few simple adjustments you can improve your general sense of contentment.
There are lots of ways to accomplish that. Here are five things that help me feel the happiness of work.
Smile. Even when you don’t feel it, smile. It will cause people to react to you more positively and before long you will actually feel happier. Try it next time you are out shopping. Smiling at fellow shoppers and at people who are working will not only cause them to smile back at you, you will feel happier. Fake it ‘til you feel it!
Avoid negative people. It is true that being around negativity brings about negativity. Don’t participate.
Work with your inner clock. Plan your work around your peak times. If you are sharpest first thing in the morning, tackle your biggest project then. If you peak later in the day, plan accordingly.
Take a break. Merely walking down the hall and back can help you look at the issue you are dealing with in a whole new light. Not only clearing your head, the latest medical research shows that getting up and moving is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Forget multitasking. Studies conducted by Stanford University professor Clifford Nass suggest that multitasking “wastes more time than it saves.” His study also suggests that it negatively impacts creativity and concentration. Stick to completing one task at a time. A simple “To Do” list helps accomplish this as well as providing a real sense of accomplishment by marking another item off the list!
So put a smile on your face and know that it is up to you to focus on those things that you enjoy, avoid the negativity and gossip and find coworkers you like and enjoy. Your choices will lead to a happier mind set. You can choose to be happy at work.