1. Create a morning ritual
Creating a morning ritualmeans starting your day on a positive note—one that will continue to reverberate throughout the day. It need not take a lot of time. A consistent activity that is meaningful to you creates a force field of calm that can help you tackle stressors of any shape and size as they pop up at work. I, for one, begin every workday by creating a list of the day’s to-do’s in my Moleskine notebook, interspersed by random catchy lines and aphorisms that come to my mind, some of which I tweet. Even before I take the first call or have the first meeting, I have found my voice.
2. Set a goal with a visual cue
If you set career goals for yourself at the start of the year, the everyday chaos of work can intrude on the time you’ve designated to chip away at them. But when you surround yourself with a visual cue, you have a tangible reminder to take a daily step toward your goal. The important thing to remember here is that steps add up to strides, and strides become a distance at which you’ll marvel when you realize how far you’ve come. And what happens when you finally reach a goal? You feel good.
3. Socialize with your co-workers
Most employees don’t typically rate their jobs as their most favorite activity. In fact, it’s down there with being sick at home with the flu. But a surefire way to boost your happiness at work is to make the time to interact with co-workers. Most businesses recognize that when it comes to the customer experience, the power of casual micro-interactions, like small talk here, a fleeting smile there, can make a big difference. It’s an important principle to apply at work. Intentional interaction with fellow employees might be an imposition on your productivity for the day, but only if you don’t plan for it. And when you invest the time to cultivate a support network on the job, it will pay dividends during those times when you need to lean on it to get through a rough patch.
4. Embrace effortless action
A positive outcome on the job is most often the result of a lot of hard work and effort. But in that process, there is something to be said for “letting go” in order to be open to a lighting strike of insight. The Chinese concept of “wu wei” is similar to the concept of flow—that period of heightened productivity during which you are so enthralled by the task at hand that time seems to stands still. Don’t skip that coffee break.
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