5 Ways To Boost Happiness at Work and Increase Your Productivity
Did you know that the happier you become, the more your productivity increases? That’s science-backed and good employers knows that happy employees are also more efficient. But how can you bring more happiness into the workplace?
Many people go to work accepting that the day ahead is going to be dull. No matter what you do, your perspective matters. If you believe the day will be boring, chances are you’ll be right. With the right mindset anything—yes, even work—can be fun.
Bringing joy into your day does more than lift your mood. It actually saves time, improves your performance, and increases your productivity. Here are some great ways to bring joy to your work-life to help you get more done.
TRACK YOUR TIME
You might be thinking that watching the clock only makes the day move slower. And you’re right. But tracking your time doesn’t mean watching the second hand tick around in endless circles. It means paying attention to which tasks you spend the most time on throughout your day.
There are numerous benefits to tracking your time. You’ll find where you spend time being the most productive and you’ll also identify where you’re wasting time that could be better spent on other tasks. If you have any bad time habits, those will also quickly become apparent.
The problem with not being aware of how certain tasks are eating up your time, is that they’re also eating up your brain power. Multi-tasking, answering every email or message that pops up, or interrupting tasks to Google other unrelated items all drain your focus and attention. By the end of the day, you feel pressure to complete the tasks you have to get done, spiking your stress and leaving you more exhausted by the end of the day.
When you see the big picture of how you’re spending your time at work, you can begin to make changes that save time and will start to notice that you’re getting more done throughout your day. This in turn reduces your daily stress, giving you more energy and boosting your confidence and motivation.
There are plenty of free time tracking apps you can use to see how well you’re performing. They track how frequently you use apps or websites on your computer or phone, and can help you identify areas you can improve. Using methods like the Pomodoro technique, where you turn off notifications and only allow yourself to focus on one task for a predetermined amount of time helps you stretch your focus muscles and chunks your day into manageable pieces.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR LUNCH BREAK
When we talk about productivity, it might seem counterintuitive to emphasize the importance of a lunch break spent away from work. You might feel like you’re getting more done by working through your lunch or eating at your desk, but you’re draining your energy and blending your day into one long work session.
Chunking your day into sections allows your brain to recognize time moving forward. But it also gives your brain a chance to rest and recover from the demanding cognitive tasks you’ve done all morning. When you’re tired, it isn’t only your focus and productivity that suffers. You’re overall executive functionality including decision-making and problem-solving also decline. This can increase your mistakes and potentially hurt your overall performance or strain relationships with your co-workers and supervisors.
You want to be sure to eat a brain-healthy lunch. Your brain needs fuel to function properly, and eating a healthy lunch can ensure you go back energized and rejuvenated rather than fighting an afternoon slump. You can use that time to listen to your favorite podcast or catch up on the latest bestseller you’ve been dying to read. If you spend time with co-workers or friends, be sure to avoid talk about work and instead focus on topics that bring joy and happiness to the table.
Not all lunch breaks need to be down time. Running errands can help reduce stress by knocking things off your endless to-do list. Just be sure that sitting in traffic doesn’t add more stress than the errand itself removes. If you have limited time and don’t want to leave the office, you can spend that time planning a vacation, meditating, reading, or taking a brisk walk around the building. And don’t forget to hydrate.
Your brain needs downtime, especially when you need it to perform cognitive heavy tasks. You’ll come back refreshed with an increase in your focus, creativity, and overall ability to think clearly and effectively.
PERSONALIZE YOUR WORKSPACE
Your environment is directly related to your productivity and happiness levels. If you find your workspace bleak and uninspiring, you aren’t going to enjoy being there, and as a result, won’t do your best work. On the other hand, if you don’t have a designated workspace, you’ll also struggle to focus and maintain productivity.
There are some simple and effective solutions to making a workspace a place that brings out your best performance. If you work in an office environment, there are likely rules establishing what types of personal effects you can bring into your workspace. Be sure to check that anything you bring in isn’t going to be considered distracting or a violation of their rules.
The first thing to keep in mind is to start small and think minimal. Too much clutter on a desk can actually distract your brain and result in less focus. Small picture frames filled with people, places, or animals you love are a simple but effective way to bring a smile to your face and remind you why you’re working hard to reach your goals. Small trinkets or mementos might do the same.
Studies show having plants or other greenery actually reduces stress levels and increases concentration. Plants can remove toxins from the air and raise oxygen levels, both of which are beneficial in boosting brain power. If you can convince your office manager to add more plants around the office, the entire space can enjoy the benefits.
Adding small touches of personalization might spark conversations with co-workers and help you connect with people outside of work. You might look forward to sharing hobbies or stories that occur outside of work, and that will make the hours spent in the office that much more enjoyable.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE
Communicating with people on a daily basis is good for the brain. Humans need to socialize and your time in an office or other work environment doesn’t change that basic human need. But the people you spend your time with largely dictate who you become.
There are always going to be people unhappy at your work place. And while you might empathize with them, if you constantly listen or engage in nothing but negative perspectives and complaints, eventually, that’s all you’re going to see. While there may be valid issues that need to be addressed, being around negative people might make things seem worse than they are. Or even more damaging—that you’re helpless to change them.
Negativity drains your energy, increases your stress, and has devastating impact on your overall mental health. It’s not good for your well-being and it isn’t good for your productivity. When you’re constantly in a state of agitated fight-or-flight, your decision-making and problem-solving skills suffer. That’s not to say if you’re unhappy ignore the problem. But when you surround yourself with positive people you’ll find yourself capable of taking action in healthy and productive ways.
Being part of a like-minded community is good for your health, and finding these people at work is just as valuable. You’ll feel listened to and supported. They’ll help you through difficult days and celebrate your wins. You’ll be more motivated to get to work knowing you’ll be surrounded by friendly faces. And networking is a valuable resource to better your career.
Once you start spending your free time with even one positive person, you’ll notice positive changes in yourself and your mindset. You might feel encouraged to try new things, share more in meetings, and volunteer for challenging projects. You’ll start to communicate clearer and feel more satisfied in your day-to-day interactions. These in turn will boost your motivation and confidence, decrease your stress, improve your focus and clarity, and find yourself managing your time more efficiently allowing you to get more done.
HAVE A ROUTINE TO START THE DAY WITH GRATITUDE & INTENTION
Technically, this tip starts before your workday. But how you start your day influences every aspect of how your day unfolds. If you wake up late and in a rush, your day is starting on a note of stress and panic, and that state of mind will impact every decision and interaction from that moment forward.
Instead, wake up earlier and have a morning ritual that reinforces positive habits and activities. You might want to meditate to clear your mind and focus on visualizing what you want the day to bring. Writing in a journal to express gratitude can clarify what’s important to you and change your perspective. But most importantly, make time to sit and plan your day. What are your goals? Your must-do tasks. Having these narrowed down at the start of your day highlights their priority in your brain and helps you focus on what’s actually important rather than getting distracted by the noise that can take you off task.
If possible, take the time to exercise to get your heart pumping and blood moving. Exercise raises your oxygen levels, increasing your cognitive capabilities, but it also elevates your happy hormones and lowers your stress. Make sure you eat a breakfast full of nutrient rich brain foods so that you can start your day with energy and vitality.
And don’t stop your morning routine once you get to the office. Prepare a playlist with songs that pump you up. Listen to it on your way to work, and have another playlist for different tasks throughout your day. This will help keep you energized, but also works as a signal of progress as you move through your various daytime routines.
How you do anything is how you do everything. For many people, work is not optional. But that doesn’t mean it has to be miserable. By finding ways to boost your mood and energy, you can find meaning and enjoyment in even the smallest of tasks. Your productivity will increase, but so will your happiness, and that will extend to every facet of your life.