Since the average worker spends approximately 90,000 hours at work over the course of their lifetime, it only makes sense to try and enhance your time there, in terms of productivity as well as personal wellbeing.
Here are six things you can do today to improve your work life, help you live with more happiness, and increase your chances for success:
Speak the truth
If you want to live like work is a choice that you’ve made rather than a necessary evil that you have no control over, you need to stop swallowing your own voice and start speaking the truth.
When you are asked a question at work, instead of giving the pat answer you’ve been using for years, pause and think about what your honest response would be. When you honor your opinions and knowledge by speaking the truth, you’re taking your power back and living by choice. Even if you’re not the boss, you can still make a positive difference at your place of employment.
Manage your work life in a way that helps you become more productive, enjoy a higher level of satisfaction, and feel better about yourself as an employee. Why wait for a manager to tell you something when you can improve your own work life by being proactive?
You can do this by:
- Being prompt
- Avoiding multitasking (if possible)
- Not being afraid to say no to protect your valuable time
- Prioritizing your work
- Avoiding office gossip, pointless meetings, and personal phone calls) that will disrupt your flow.
Feed your creativity
It’s a scientifically proven fact that those who practice creative thinking at work are more productive, make better decisions, and form stronger relationships with their co-workers. Sometimes referred to as divergent thinking, creative problem solving is extremely prevalent in young children, but is not as common in the average American workplace, although it is an extremely valuable and sought-after skill.
Humor has also been proven to help people think more broadly and creatively, so keeping your sense of humor in the midst of a pressure-packed atmosphere can boost morale as well as productivity.
Forgive and forget
Holding a grudge or plotting revenge on a co-worker can not only make you a bitter person, but can also harm your enjoyment and perception of work. Recent research has shown that practicing forgiveness in the workplace can lead to increased productivity, less absenteeism, as well as better physical and mental health.
When workers hold onto negative feelings after a conflict in the office, they are more likely to disengage, be unwilling to collaborate, and even become openly hostile when faced with future struggles. However, the link between forgiveness and improved occupational outcomes is strong, according to the study. So consider letting some little (or even big) things go.
Learn from others
No matter how long you’ve been in the industry or how familiar you are with legal processes, there will always be people in your workplace who you can learn from. Try seeking them out.
When doing so, don’t just focus on colleagues who have many years of experience on the job, but also younger employees – reverse mentors – who can bring insight into areas that may be unfamiliar to you, such as new technology and trends. New employees typically view the world and the workplace differently and have a skillset that can help give seasoned (and maybe slightly cynical) workers a fresh, new perspective.
Unlike the 6.1 million American workers who were unemployed in May 2018, you have a job, and that alone is something to be grateful for. To show your gratitude, make a list of several of your colleagues for whom you are grateful. Include in your list some important contributions they made, or other work they performed that made a positive impact on others.
To take it one step further, send an email, text, note, or call them to express how their influence has impacted your work life. According to Shawn Achor, the New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage, if you do this for 21 days straight, you will train your brain to scan for positives instead of negatives. Think how big an impact that could have on how you see the world.
Do you know of other things that can be done immediately to improve a person’s work life? Tell us about them in the comments!