It's Thursday. Meaning: Only two more days between you and the weekend. But, there are probably a thousand meetings, deadlines, and co-worker spats between here and there. Awful, we know. But, it doesn't have to be that way. In an alternate universe, you could be happy at work — even on the days when your boss is being unreasonable and you're stuck in the office absurdly late.
We hit up Nataly Kogan, cofounder and CEO of Happier (a wellness company that's all about helping people get happier and healthier in every part of their lives), for a no-BS guide that could legitimately change the way you see your job. Because, here's the thing: It's all about perspective, and finding a smarter way to deal with the mundane stuff.
Sure, if you're truly miserable, you should find a new gig. And, if you're medium-unhappy, maybe you should still be looking. But, until you find that next job, you're most likely stuck with this one. Even if you love your job (like we clearly do — after all, we have balloon hats at our company meetings), some days are harder than others. Which is where our handy-dandy guide comes in.
The 10 simple tips to upgrade your daily grind, right this way.
Take a 60-Second Getaway
"Pick a time in the middle of the day and set an alarm on your phone," says Kogan. "When the alarm goes off, step away from your desk, your computer, and your phone, and just chill. Take a few deep breaths, go for a walk around your office, close your eyes, Zen out, and maybe savor a piece of your favorite chocolate or sip some awesome tea. Then, come back to what you were doing. You'll feel refreshed, calm, and more in control of even the most chaotic of days."
Before You Check Email, Get Something Done
"Emails will suck you in, but if you start the day by doing something productive, you’ll feel more pumped for whatever comes next," says Kogan. "Work on your article, PowerPoint deck, Excel model, or just organizing your to-do list — but, do something that makes you feel like you've made progress toward a goal."
At the End of the Day, Write Down One Good Thing You Appreciate
Maybe this sounds a little cheesy, but it works. As Kogan points out, "the 11,000 studies that show the benefits of expressing gratitude for what you already have aren't wrong. Give it a shot for a week, and do it on even the days that really didn't go your way. Ending on a positive note will help you enjoy your after-work time more and set you up for a better next day."
Make Your Space Less Boring
"Plant bursts of color all around you. Favorite notebooks and pens are always fun, even in our digitally minded world." Kogan's advice certainly resonates at R29 HQ, where every nook and cranny is perfectly art-directed — and it makes a huge difference. She says, "Keep a favorite photo of something or someone that makes you smile close by. Make your space one where you feel energized."
Do Something Nice For a Coworker, Every Day
According to Kogan, "science shows that when you do kind things for others, you may be the one getting the greatest positive mood boost. Grab a colleague's favorite snack and leave it on their desk as a surprise. Invite someone out for a coffee break and treat them. Pay a genuine compliment (doesn't matter if [it's] something as small as 'I love your outfit today'). Or, leave a sticky note that says 'You’re awesome.'"
Have a Walking Meeting
Getting "20 minutes of fresh air a day helps you feel happier, and it's a great way to incorporate some exercise into your workday as well," says Kogan. "Instead of sitting in a conference room, have a walking-and-talking meeting outside. Walking helps you focus your mind and think creatively — both of which could make your meetings even more productive."
Completely cutting procrastination from your life would be a pipe dream. And, we're not trying to set you up to fail here. But, Kogan says you should "avoid spending endless hours on social networks or just aimlessly browsing online. Instead, set a goal to learn something new — check out new recipes, new websites, or read something from a section of your fave website that you rarely visit. Learning new things makes you happier, and will help you avoid the 'ugh' feeling of wasted time."
Schedule a Single-Tasking Hour
"When you multitask, you are 25% less efficient — and you feel more frazzled. It's hard to fully cut it out, but you should schedule a single-tasking hour every day," says Kogan. "During that time, do just one thing and that thing only. If you need to hide your phone to avoid distraction, or turn off your Internet connection, do it. Because, it's worth it."
Sit Up Straight—Or Stand!
"When you slouch, you feel less energized than if you sit up straight with your shoulders back (not hovering over your computer)." Even better? Get up and move around a bit. Kogan says, "if you can, spend some time standing up. Make a rule that when you’re drinking something — water, coffee, tea — you stand up to do it." Or, do like we plan to, and get a standing desk (nudge, nudge, HR!).
Have Your Power Song on Hand, Always
Kogan says: "'8 Mile' by Eminem is my fight song. I play it before big meetings, stressful presentations, or just when I need a serious dose of energy. Find yours and play it whenever you need a boost of awesome."