Do you feel like you are trapped in a job that you hate because you need the money and job security? It would be nice to tell you that it’s not true and you can just quit your job to pursue a dream but that isn’t very realistic for most people. What is realistic is making changes for yourself so that you can be happier at work even if it’s not your dream job.
Here are 10 things that you can do to be happier at work:
- Identify the root cause of your unhappiness. You may feel like you hate everything about your job but the truth is there is probably a root cause. Do you struggle to get along with coworkers? Do you feel undervalued? Do you wish you had more time at home with your kids? Until you know the real reason that your job makes you unhappy you can’t do anything about it. Once you know, you can start looking for solutions.
- Focus on what does make you happy. There must be something that you like at your job. It might only be those five minutes when you have a great chat with the mailman every day but that’s something. Start improving your outlook on your job by celebrating the small things about it that you do enjoy.
- Do something you love on your lunch break. Eat a quick, nutritious lunch in the first ten minutes and then spend the rest of your lunch hour doing something that you really enjoy. Take a book to the park at the corner or find a museum in the area to explore or sit at your desk and draw. Doing something you love for a short time each day will provide you with something to look forward to during your workday and will naturally boost the positive feelings that you have about your job.
- Improve your workspace. The Happiness Project has quite a few great tips for how to do this.
- Organize your tasks into times of day. For example, maybe you only check email once in the morning and once right after lunch. Having organized times for everything helps break up the day and make it more manageable.
- Be nice to yourself. Don’t let your inner critic beat you up about the job that you’re doing.
- Refuse to take on other people’s stress. You have enough work responsibilities of your own. Let everyone else own theirs. Don’t get in their business.
- Stop griping. The more negativity you exude, the more negative you are going to feel. Make a concentrated effort to stop complaining about your job. Make a special effort not to engage in gripe sessions with your co-workers. If you have a valid complaint then take it to the person who can help fix it. If you’re just whining then do yourself a favor and stop. You really will feel better if you do!
- Leave your work at work. Turn off your cell phone and ignore your business email when you aren’t at work. Not everyone has the luxury of doing this every day but you can schedule specific days or times that are completely off limits for contacting you. That downtime is important for your mental health.
- Set goals outside of work. Figure out what you want to achieve in your personal life. Set some goals. This will boost your confidence and provide the kind of life-work balance that makes you feel happier all around.