Work doesn’t have to suck. Be happy and productive in the office with these 10 ways to have a good day at work.
Start Your Day Strong: Preparation
“Give me 6 hours to chop a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
- Get Your Stuff Ready the Night Before.
It takes longer to get ready in the morning (i.e., when you’re still half-asleep) than it does to prepare the night before (i.e., when you might be sleepy but haven’t yet reached Zombie mode).
Does it take you a bit to decide what to wear? If so, get the next day’s outfit ready as part of your bedtime ritual.
Going to the gym before you go to work? Go ahead and pack your gym bag before you go to bed (you could even lay your gym shoes and socks next to your bed if you want to make your life super easy).
Want to make positive eating decisions at lunch? Pack a lunch including fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats for lasting energy that will carry you through your day. If you’d like to include some healthy foods that make you smarter, click here to optimize your brain power.
- Wake up 15-30 Minutes Early.
If you followed the first step, you should find yourself with an extra 15-30 minutes every morning, but let’s go ahead and double that. How you start the morning can make or break your day, so let’s give yourself plenty of time for a positive start.
- Start Your Day With Sunshine and Deep Breathing.
Feeling groggy? That won’t last long. No matter how cold it might be, march yourself outside to soak in some sunshine. The sun’s rays will boost your mood, increase your alertness, strengthen your immunity from sickness, and help you sleep better at night. While you’re out there, take 10 deep breaths in and out to start your day calm and cool.
- Seek Positive Input.
Inspiration is a wonderful (but fleeting) thing. Because you can’t expect to become inspired and stay that way indefinitely, take about 10 or 15 minutes to read a book, watch a video, or listen to a podcast that moves you. It will be a lot easier to have a good day if you fill your head with positive thoughts before you go to work.
- Get Psyched During Your Commute.
Don’t be one of the many people who throws away the valuable asset of the drive (or ride) to work. If you listen to the news (dreadful thing where they never have anything positive to say), expect to find yourself in a bad mood that you can’t shake. Instead, listen to music that makes you happy and excited (if it makes you belt out a tune or shake your butt, this is a good sign). Don’t depend on the radio, unless you like listening to the same thing over and over and over again. Make your own ‘Get Psyched’ play-list, save it to your iPod or burn it to a disc, and update it every month or two to keep things interesting.
Have a Good Day at Work: Execution
“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison
- Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes.
I know, I know: your job would be great if it wasn’t for the %&@^ing customers.
While some customer behavior is nothing short of annoying (as evidenced above), be understanding to all customers. Think about your expectations if you’re eating out, shopping, or calling a customer service hotline for help. Now point that mirror at yourself; are you meeting your customers’ expectations? If not, it’s time to shape up. Just because you’re tired or grumpy doesn’t mean a loyal, paying customer should receive subpar service.
- Do the Important Thing First.
Choose from the below options and do one of these tasks first thing:
The task with the most urgent deadline (if its importance trumps all else, act accordingly)
The task that is the largest source of stress (if you’re going to be dreading it all day so get it over with)
The task that will take the most time and energy (because then the rest will seem easy in comparison)
Avoid the temptation to check your email any more than every few hours. If they really need you, they will call. Starting and stopping a task adds up in a lot of wasted time and an overwhelmed feeling, so get the important things done without distraction.
- Remind Yourself of Your “Why.”
No matter how much preparation you do, there’s no escaping the fact that all work can be super stressful sometimes. If you find yourself so stressed you want to pull your hair out and run out the door screaming:
Get away (preferably outside but anywhere you can be alone in a quiet place works)
Close your eyes
Massage your forehead (because I bet it’s super tense)
5 deep inhales and exhales
After all of that’s done, remind yourself why you go to work. How does your job fit into the Big Picture of your life? Whether you’re working to support your family, help your customers, get experience, or whatever; remind yourself why you’re there and realize that the stress of this day is a temporary setback that you’ll forget about before you know it.
- Focus on the Positive.
If you spend your workday spreading gossip and thinking negative thoughts, it’s no wonder you feel stressed out and unhappy. I know it’s awfully easy for negativity to sneak in, so give yourself this goal: for every negative thought/feeling/saying, there should be 3 positive thoughts/feelings/sayings.
It’ll make you feel better (even if you fake it!). Speaking of smiles, click here to check out 9 surprising benefits of laughter you need to know.