It’s the perfect day to generate more happiness, more creativity, more productivity, and more of everything good—at work, and everywhere you go. For if any of us truly want to have a good day at work on a regular basis, we must learn to bring the joy and light with us.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward
Happiness at work is just as important as being happy anywhere else. In the spirit of creating the life you want, here are seventeen small ways to spark positive change at work today.
Happiness can be evoked in nearly any situation, if we’re conscious enough, devoted enough, and forgiving enough.
17 Ways to Have a Good Day at Work
1. Start your day slow.
Prepare for your day the night before. Wake up early enough so that you aren’t rushing through the house and out the door. Take your time. Eat breakfast. Leave the house early. Drive with more care.
The beginning of your day carries over into the rest of your day. Read these tips for living happier at home, which in turn will help you wake up, work, and come home happier.
2. Repeat today’s mantra.
Whatever you choose to make this day about, make it a good one.
3. Make the most of your commute.
Listen to upbeat music that makes you feel good (and maybe even dance a little in your seat, safely, of course).
Listen to an audio book, play an educational or inspirational CD, and learn something new.
Use this time to practice patience, a character trait that’s tied to happiness.
4. Prioritize your tasks.
You won’t conquer the world today, but you can conquer your world today.
Without prioritizing the day ahead, it’s likely you will stay busy all day but you won’t get the important stuff done. Where’s the glory in that?
Choose one of the following three tasks to tackle first thing in the morning before you do anything else:
- The task with the most urgent deadline,
- The most stressful task, or
- The most tedious and energy-consuming task
5. Check emails at scheduled times only.
Checking emails constantly throughout the day causes distraction, de-motivation, feelings of overwhelm, and a loss of productivity. Section off two or three time blocks during the day for sending and replying to emails. Refrain from opening your inbox outside of these time blocks.
6. Make healthier food choices.
The Harvard Business Review links healthier lunch and snack choices to increased workplace performance. The more fruits and vegetables you eat, the happier, more engaged, and more creative you will be on the job.
Need some ideas? Here are 15 healthy foods for stress relief.
7. Breathe and stretch.
Yes, I’m talking about yoga. Chair-based yoga can calm you down and help you feel better. These five office yoga poses can help you move through your workday with more ease. Hold each pose for three to six full breaths. By combining the stretches with deep breathing, you’re inviting more calm into your day.
8. Get up.
Humans are not meant to sit in a chair for long periods of time. For those of us with desk jobs, it’s vital that we incorporate movement into our day. You can try a standing desk and, if at all possible, switch between standing and sitting.
I replaced my desk chair with a balance ball a long time ago and haven’t looked back since.
If you can, take a stroll during your breaks or use this time to stretch (see above) and get some fresh air (see below).
9. Include nature.
Preferably, we should all be going outside during our workdays to breathe in the fresh air. The change of scenery can do wonders for our creativity and productivity. If this isn’t possible, do not lose hope.
Can you change your desktop background to nature scenes? Can you place a pebble from the beach on your desk? Can you look at a framed picture of a beautiful day? Can you play relaxing music inspired by nature in your headphones?
10. Express positivity.
Kindness is free, so sprinkle it all over the workplace.
Hand out compliments, and include yourself. Tell your coworker exactly why you think they’re doing a great job. Program your brain for success by responding to the question, “How are you?” with a resounding “I’m great!” Smile your way through the day (even if you’re faking it) and you’re on your way to a happier workday.
If you want positive feedback, vow to first give positive feedback. Repeat this affirmation for attracting positive energy.
11. Identify and dispute negativity.
When negativity enters, recognize it for what it is and then let it keep moving. Letting negative thoughts go unattended causes them to linger.
For each negative thought that crosses your mind, come up with three positive thoughts. Make it simple. For example, “This job is so stressful” can be diffused by saying, “I am learning how to handle stress. This situation and feeling will not last forever. I am becoming stronger and more resilient every day.”
12. Identify your energy.
If you’re holding onto unexpressed emotions, your workday will feel long and grueling. Identify and acknowledge your emotion. Release that energy in a safe place, such as in your car or the bathroom. You may need to cry out the sadness, stomp out the anger, or shake out the anxiety (literally).
Give yourself permission to let it move through you and away from you. Direct this energy toward inanimate objects in a non-destructive way; don’t direct negative energy toward other people.
13. Have a healthy stress-relief plan.
Rather than responding to the whims of other people and outer circumstances, consider how you would handle potentially stressful moments before they happen.
14. Take a gratitude break.
This is important no matter where we are in our day. During one of your breaks, take a few minutes to stop, close your eyes, and think about all the things you are thankful for that day. Write at least three things down on paper. Look at the words. Read them. Feel the gratitude. Then move forward with your day from a place of gratitude.
15. Help a coworker.
Helping others helps us get out of our own heads, which is where we tend to stay if we’re having a bad day. When you reach out to someone else in need, the good deed reaches back to you. Give and you shall receive.
Try implementing any of these 7 random acts of kindness today.
16. Know when to leave.
I’ve been there: the work never ends, there is always something more to do, and it just keeps adding up. It can wait! The work will be there tomorrow, and that is OKAY.
If you are doing your best, it may be time for your boss (or you, if you’re the boss) to consider hiring more help or brainstorm solutions that don’t involve you working late every day.
There is always a solution around the corner; trust the process and believe good things are in the works.
17. Stop working.
We all need time to pause and unwind. In order to have a good day at work, you’ll need to learn to take a break from it and become fully present and engaged in your non-work activities.
Practice mindfulness in each activity inside of work and outside of work. Wherever you are, be all there. This ensures your mind and body receive the rest they need to create another energetically present day tomorrow.
- How do you have happier work days? Would you add anything to this list?
- Do you have your own methods of relieving stress, increasing productivity, and strengthening relationships?
- What’s one small shift you’d like to make today in order to feel the way you want to feel?
Please share your thoughts, personal practices that help you stress less and love more, helpful lessons you’ve learned in enjoying the process, and any inspiring stories with me in the comments.
Share this post with someone who may appreciate it.
Have a good day at work!
Free tropical watercolor clip art by Angie Makes; lettering by Aim Happy.