Having a good day at work is easier said than done.
As a species, we tend to dwell on negative experiences. In some scenarios, negativity bias helps us to survive, but it can also get in the way. Especially when it comes to your job.
You deserve to have a great day at work — we have simple life hacks, routines, and reminders to help you thrive.
Below are five tips to help you have a good day at work, every day.
1. Check Yourself
Personal attitude checks throughout the workday can help prevent you from getting too deep into a bad mood without realizing it,
Having a “good attitude” when approaching a project doesn’t mean you are all sunshine and rainbows. But it does mean approaching projects with openness, curiosity, and a desire to do your best work.
When dread or negative feelings start to creep in around a task, step back and take a deep breath. Think of the things you enjoy doing. Do you have a coworker who always makes you laugh? Ask them to go on a quick walk or hop on a call to chat. Have a YouTube channel you love? Treat yourself to a five minute break to watch a funny video. Giving yourself permission to do something you enjoy when you're struggling can help you break out of the negative headspace you find yourself in.
2. Rest Regularly
Disengaging from work for rest throughout the day is important for your brain, body, and quality of work. There is even some evidence that resting can increase your productivity.
If you don’t make time to rest throughout the day, not only will you be less productive in the long run, you’ll be setting yourself up for burnout. Remember that rest is radical self-advocacy.
If you struggle to take breaks, consider trying the Pomodoro Technique. This time management technique … (just add a sentence summarizing the 25 minute approach). (and then one sentence about the benefits of not splitting your attention — work when you’re working and rest when you’re resting).
3. Go Outside
When was the last time that you explored the outdoors?
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce everyday stress AND improve your health more generally.
4. Make Time to Move
While you’re enjoying the great outdoors, consider taking a walk. Many experts agree, stepping outside for a quick walk, while intentionally disconnecting from tech each day, can have clear mental and physical health advantages.
Taking a bit of time to move, stretch, or get fresh air can help to ease stress and keep a better attitude towards the workplace.
Consider looking into a standing desk, or set a reminder to stretch intermittently throughout the day. Taking breaks to reset your body could be exactly what you need to break up the monotony of your routine.
5. Find Purpose
Whether you come to work strictly for the paycheck or because you were/are in love with the company’s mission, it never hurts to try and find meaning in your day.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Help a coworker with a task or reach out to someone you don’t normally talk to — Even if you’re not super aligned with your company’s mission, you can often find meaning in what you do by focusing less on yourself and more on the positive impact you can have on others.
- Think of what your job enables you to do outside of work — Are you using the money from this job to support yourself? your family? How does it make you feel when you’re able to do those things? Try and remember that sense of pride and carry it with you at work when you’re feeling down.
- Connect your role to the big picture — It might not be immediately apparent how the work you do impacts your company’s bottom line, or its overall mission, and even if it is, you may still not feel particularly inspired by it… but all jobs have impact in one way or another, and it’s important to identify the impact of yours and remind yourself of it when you’re feeling cynical. (In fact, understanding your company’s mission and vision has actually been associated with improved performance!)
Recognize When to Seek Help
The five tips above will help you find more joy at work each day, but if you’re consistently feeling unmotivated and distracted at work, you may want to consider the root cause(s) of these feelings:
- Are you struggling to find joy outside of work as well? You may want to reach out to a friend, physician, and/or therapist to identify ways to improve your mental health and well-being.
- Are you happy outside of work but struggling each time you come into the (literal or virtual) office? It might be time to talk to a trusted colleague, mentor, or supervisor who can help you to determine next steps. In the meantime, you can ask yourself these questions to determine whether you’re suffering from burnout or take our quiz to figure out if it might be time for a new role!