A recent survey ranked the happiest nations in the world. The U.S. was nowhere near the top. Why? I think that we too often get caught up on the small detail and stress over those things that are beyond our control. This along with not having a better perspective of the things we’re doing and where we’re going in life contributes to our inability to truly live life to its fullest.
In the survey, certain questions were asked that we should be asking ourselves each day. It’s crutial to our ability to feel happy and fulfilled at work each day.
Did you enjoy something you did yesterday?
Were you proud of something you did yesterday?
Did you learn something yesterday?
Was my work effort worthy of respect yesterday?
Plan each day and work each day so that you can answer yes to each of these questions. Being able to answer yes to these questions will help us feel fulfilled in our careers and will contribute to allowing us to become even more successful, efficient, and productive.
In our efforts to be able to answer “yes” to these questions, here are seven things to remember, according to a recent article in Harvard Business:
1. Smile. Turns out, smiling is directly linked to happiness. It may have started as a correlation but, over time, the brain linked the two. Don’t believe me? Try this: smile (a nice big smile) and attempt to think of something negative.
2. Stop worrying. Worrying happens to be one of humanity’s best traits. It is the underlying emotion behind foresight, planning, and forecasting. We worry because some future event is uncertain and that feeling is a cue for us to start thinking about how to address it. The problem is, we worry too much about things that are out of our control (like the economy, stupid). Stop sweating the small stuff.
3. Take a break. The US is one of the most overworked industrialized nations. But this is counterproductive for a nation of “knowledge workers.” Overworking people to exhaustion is a horrible way to extract knowledge from people. Taking a break provides an opportunity to reflect and often it is during such times when the best ideas, our deepest insights, emerge.
4. Do things differently. Part of the problem at work for many people is boredom. Get your enthusiasm back by doing things differently. Make every effort to learn, to grow, and to challenge yourself. Take on more responsibility or attempt something you never thought you were capable of doing.
5. Start leading. If you’re in management, you need to find ways to motivate and stimulate your employees. How? Stretch their minds. Empower your team by giving them more responsibility, more decision-making power, more autonomy.
6. Delegate. One of the most destructive and counterproductive byproducts of the downsizing era is fear — many managers are scared to let go of control for fear that doing so will make them obsolete. The best leaders always look for people better, smarter, and more capable than themselves.
7. Have fun. Here is some tough advice: If you don’t like what you are doing, stop doing it. Life is too short to not have fun. I love what I do and when I stop loving it, I do something else. Even in this economy, you will be in high demand if you are good at what you do — and can do it with a smile on your face.
Next Monday, when you awake and would normally begin dreading the day to come, think of the seven keys to being happier at work. Focusing on these, along with arranging your day so that you can positively answer the questions, will ensure that your day will be a little better than yesterday.