19th January 2021

4 Surprising Things That Will Make You Happier at Work

By Carson Tate on January 11, 2021

Do you suffer from the “Sunday night scaries” and dread Monday mornings? Or hit snooze on your alarm so many times you lose count because you don’t want to get out of bed and go to work? Or do you count down the days until the weekend or your next vacation?

You are not alone. Sixty-six percent of the United States workforce is disengaged according to Gallup’s 2018 State of the American workplace report.

In our executive coaching practice we routinely coach people who are part of the disengaged sixty-six percent. And, we show them the path to be happier, engaged and more fulfilled at work.

So, before you give up on your own engagement and happiness at work, let’s explore the four things that will make you happier at work.

The 4 Things That Will Make You Happier at Work

There are four things that you can do that will make you happier at work:

  1. Routinize tasks.
  2. Embrace challenging or stretch assignments that leverage your strengths.
  3. Turn off your new email notification alarms.
  4. Say yes.

Let’s explore each of these four things so you can find your happiness and engagement at work.

  1. Routinize Tasks

Conventional thinking says that routines are boring. So, how can something boring make you happier?  Well, it’s not the routine tasks that make you happier, it is the time you gain when you routinize your tasks. Time you can spend on professional projects that energize and excite you. Time you can spend with family and friends. Time you can spend on your personal interests.

When you develop routines for the tasks you do the most frequently, they embed in your brain and create a pattern. As a result, you spend less time and attention on those tasks.

Consider routinizing the following tasks:

  • Email correspondence
    • Check email on a schedule. For example, morning, mid-morning, after lunch, afternoon and the end of the day.
    • Many of the messages you send and respond to each day are the same or very similar. Use templates and signatures to routinize and standardize your responses.
  • Electronic and physical filing
    • Set a routine to file on the same day each week, month or quarter.
  • Wardrobe and meal choices
    • For example, when Barack Obama was President, he limited his wardrobe options and had pre-set menu options. This enabled him to use his time and energy on higher-value decisions.

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  1. Embrace challenging or stretch assignments that leverage your strengths.

That overwhelming project, the promotion that would require you to learn a new market segment or the opportunity to transfer to your firm’s London office could all be considered challenging or stretch assignments. And, each of these is can be fraught anxiety, not happiness.

However, it is in these challenging or stretch assignments that we most often experience flow. Flow is 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, you’re probably not in the flow.

So, what aspects of your work are too easy? Where have you become too comfortable in your role? How can you challenge yourself and create an opportunity to learn and grow? Go with the flow to find your happiness.

  1. Turn off your new email notification alarm.

Incessant interruptions, 24/7 accessibility and constantly reacting to someone else’s agenda does not lead to happiness at work. Turn off your new email notification alarm. It’s the notification that alerts you to a new email message with a sound, cursor movement on your screen, and/or a pop-up preview of the email message.

When you turn off your new email notification alarm two things happen. First, you take back control. Research has shown that autonomy and control over what you work on and how you complete your work contributes to happiness. Second, you focus your attention on your priorities. Your inbox is nothing more than everyone else’s to do list for you. It might or might not be aligned to your goals and priorities.

Turn off your new email notification alarm and reclaim your happiness.

  1. Say yes.

How often have you been told that to be happier, you need more boundaries or to say no more often? The opposite it true. To be happier at work you need to say yes more often.

However, there is a caveat. When you say yes, say yes with your full heart and mind. For me, I think of this type of yes as a “HELL YES!” This is a yes that energizes and excites you. It is a passionate, expansive yes.

When you say yes, you know what you’re saying no to. You embrace the power of choice. You own your ability to choose the direction of your day and life. You are a victor in your life.

Say yes today and embrace the power of choice. See if that doesn’t make you smile.

Routinize your tasks and save hours each week. Embrace a challenging or stretch assignment and stay in the flow. Turn off the new email notification alarm and eliminate distractions that don’t align with your goals and priorities. Say yes and embrace your ability to choose the direction of your day and life.

You don’t have to dread Monday mornings, nor live for your weekends. You can be happier and more engaged at work.


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Carson Tate is the founder and managing partner of Working Simply, Inc., a business consulting firm that partners with organizations, business leaders and employees to enhance workplace productivity, foster employee engagement, and build personal and professional legacies.

She is the author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style, and just releasedOwn It. Love It. Make It Work.: How To Make Any Job Your Dream JobOrder your copy HERE! For more information, please visit www.carsontate.com.


Soucek, R., & Moser, K. (2010). Coping with information overload in email communication: Evaluation of a training intervention. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(6).