There is no dream job. The novelty and
excitement of that once-perfect opportunity tends to wear off after the first year, as we become focused on a few less-than-optimal aspects of our co-workers, boss, tasks, and soon.
However, there are some simple things
you can do to change this mindset and have a more positive outlook at work this summer:
1. Make Time to Exercise:
You’ve probably heard that exercise can
reduce stress, improve your mood and
increase your mental focus. Physical activity helps your body pump out more of those feel-good neurotransmitters, known as endorphins. Yet with today’s busy schedule, getting to the gym often slips further down the to-do list. No matter how hectic your schedule gets this summer, make time for your favorite kind of exercise. Treat a trip to
the gym (or pick-up basketball game, bike
ride, swim, etc.) just like you would an
important meeting for work. Schedule it into your smart phone and stay committed.
2. Take Control of Your Time:
Time management isn’t necessarily about
downloading the latest calendar app. For
most of us, good time management is more an issue with prioritization than
organization. It’s hard to feel happy and
satisfied at work when you’re constantly
pulled in too many directions. Start each
week and each day with your own set of
goals for what should be accomplished, and then avoid letting busy work (such as
instantly responding to a non-critical email) distract you from these priorities.
There will always be more tasks than
available time, so the key is to fill your work hours with the important things, and you’ll naturally have less time for the busy work.
In some cases, this means setting clear
expectations for you and your team. Saying “no” may not come naturally to everyone, but you’ll be happier and healthier if you manage your time on your own terms.
3. Appreciate Others
Numerous studies demonstrate the effects of gratitude on mood and overall well-being. For example, one study divided college students into groups where each group was asked to either write down experiences for which they were grateful or annoyed. The “grateful” group reported significantly greater life satisfaction and greater optimism for the upcoming week.
When you feel particularly stressed or over- extended, try to remember the hard work of a colleague, team member or employee. Praise someone else (in a casual way — for example, “you had a great idea in the project meeting”) and you’ll most likely both get a small boost in mood and motivation.
4. Challenge Yourself
Boredom is one of the biggest obstacles to
job satisfaction. After a year or so of coming in to work and doing the same thing, we get stuck in a rut. Get some of that “new job” enthusiasm back by doing things differently, challenging yourself and making an effort to learn something new this summer. We tend to be happiest when we’re working right at the limits of our abilities.
5. Start Something Outside of Work:
An interesting post explains that the route toward happiness at work is to create something outside of work, such as a new company or side project. While that might seem counter-intuitive, it actually makes a lot of sense. The enthusiasm for your outside project will carry over into the workday.
You’ll find that the inevitable workplace
annoyances won’t seem as significant. Any progress in the side project will fuel you with a greater sense of accomplishment and confidence.
In addition, a side venture can sometimes
help you lower your overall tax obligations and you just might be starting an important path toward a brand new business and career.
6. When All Else Fails, Smile
A nice big smile can actually trick your
brain’s neurotransmitters into thinking
you’re happy. When things are particularly grueling, try smiling for 10 seconds and your negative thoughts should dissipate.