8 Simple Ways To Get Happier At Work

Eye strain, iPhones, desk lamps, stomach cramps: Maximizing and minimizing these elements of your workday will help you get work done. But don't just take it from us. Listen to Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin, who clearly knows from mirth.

Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin recently shared a bevy of tiny happiness tips--let's take a few of hers and add our own. Coffee dates, awesome desks, and other smile boosters below.

1) Take a walking meeting

Sitting all the time is killing us (and it saps your energy, too). So we'd do well to bring more activity into our days, like with walking meetings. Whether it's a phone call or a face-to-face, the walking meeting can turn a chore into a delight--especially if you head to the park.

2) Make your desk more awesome

"Think about how your space could be more pleasant," Rubin intones. "Could you invest in some desk accessories to help stay organized? Could you replace that hideous lamp?"

While making your optimal workspace is an individual thing, there are some patterns of the most productivity-enhancing desks.

3) Notice--and address--your poor eye strain

If you're reading this in the afternoon, you probably already have eye strain. Find out for sure.

4) Take a coffee date

To paraphrase Emerson, it's one of the great compensations in life that you cannot sincerely try to help another without helping yourself--and the American philosopher's wisdom rings true in our striving land of careers. One way to instantiate that is by taking a coffee with someone aspiring to do work like you do--you get boosted by their starry-eyed aspirations, they get grounded by your hard-won experience. In so doing, you can make someone's career happen.

5) Get up insanely early

If you don't have enough peace in your life, get up an hour or two earlier and sculpt it into your day.

6) Structure your breaks

Our bodies and brains have a natural cycle of energized and not-so-energized, a rhythm that resets about every 90 minutes. Which suggests that we should have matching breaks throughout the day.

7) Avoid hunger-anger, or "hanger"

Your brain is a hungry hippo, only constituting 2% of your body's weight, but it uses up 25% of its total glucose production. So if you don't keep it well fed, you could quickly get famished, grumpy, and otherwise unproductive.

8) Deal with your damn phone

"This may be the hardest," Rubin cautions, "control the cubicle in your pocket, so you don’t feel distracted and hunted."

That pocket cubicle may go by the name of Android or iPhone, but by any name it's just as distracting. When our phones are constantly buzzing, they don't let us monotask on the complex problems we have to deal with--undoing any creativity before it gets done. So put that thing into airplane mode--then you can really fly.

Hat tip: LinkedIn

[Image: Flickr user Jenny Downing]

Add New Comment

1 Comments

  • Tim Ryan

    Great tips   I'd like to add three more: 

    1) Recognize a co-worker for helping you on a project or for just being cool
    2) Take a 1-minute stretch break (e.g. do a quick downward dog or stretch your shoulders)
    3) Get a little vitamin D in your diet by stepping outside for a couple of minutes

    Tim Ryan 
    @YouEarnedIt:twitter