4 Things You Did Not Know Would Make You Happier At Work
Is putting work and happy in the same sentence an oxymoron? Yes? Let’s challenge that thinking and reconsider four things at work that can actually make you happier.
Conventional thinking says that routines are boring. How can something boring actually make you happier? Well, it is not the routine tasks that actually make you happier, it is the time you gain when you routinize your tasks. Neuroscience has shown that developing routines for tasks you do the most frequently embeds them in your brain creating a pattern. As a result, you actually spend less time and attention on that task. Now, think about what you can do with that extra time in your day? Doesn’t that make you smile?
The project that seems overwhelming, the promotion that would require you learn an entire new division within your company or the opportunity to transfer to your firm’s London office could all be considered challenging or stretch assignments fraught with anxiety, not elation and happiness. However, it is in these challenging or stretch assignments that we most often experience flow. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi described flow as the optimal state between too much stress and boredom. Dr. Martin Seligman, a psychologist, asserts that the flow state is one of the three main drivers of human happiness. When it gets too easy or too comfortable often times you are not in the flow. Go with the flow to find your happiness.
Constant interruptions, “emergencies”, always on and working on someone else’s agenda are not the ingredients for happiness at work. Turn off your email notification alarm, the notification that alerts you to a new message by pinging, moving your cursor or popping a message up on your screen. When you turn off this incessant interruption two things happen. You take back control of your time, and control has been shown to be important for happiness, and you can focus your attention on your priorities. You’ve got mail does not equal happiness.
Traditionally, we are told to be happier we need to say no more often. While I agree with this, I actually think that to be happier at work we need to say yes more often. However, there is a caveat. When you say yes, you say yes with your full heart and mind. You know in saying yes what you are saying no to and you also know how this yes will make you happier. Say yes today and really mean it and see if you don’t smile.