We’ve all been there – the day that home is a mess (emotional or physical), or the sun is shining outside inviting you to call in sick and take an unauthorized mental health day. Beyond doubt, you’ve also had the days when the day you had yesterday makes you want to run and hide instead of going to work.
Here are some easy life hacks to make your day at the office better, and maybe even enjoyable.
Practice smiling on your way to work
Even if those first smiles are more like grimaces, or if they wobble a bit and you have to wipe tears away while you are doing it, the act of smiling will help you feel better. The physical act of smiling releases neuropeptides that fight stress. Dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when you smile – no prescription required. Furthermore, a smile is contagious. It doesn’t need to be a manic grin, just a pleasant little smile – sort of like Mona Lisa. Some people will even smile back, and that sets up a positive feedback loop.
Whether you are a clean desktop worker, or you need to see everything you are working on, develop a method that will allow you to find the things you need when you need them. Begin with that top desk drawer – the one where you’ve been hiding everything when the boss walks by.
Use the E.D.I.T. method:
- Empty the drawer – toss out all the old gum wrappers, dead pens and box up any personal items to take home – or put them in your locker.
- Dump everything that remains into a box and take the items out as you need them throughout the day.
- Inventory the remaining items and either store them in another drawer, give them away or move them to that shared closet down the hall.
- Test your new system. Is it working? What needs to be changed?
Repeat this routine as needed. In fact, apply it to other places besides your top drawer.
Eliminate paper clutter
You can do this by scanning and saving it, then either file the paper or throw it away. Better yet, use a digital notepad or word processing sheet to take notes and cut down on the paper copies you are generating. Some forest somewhere will thank you.
Categorize the things you save to your computer
Better yet, save your business documents to a cloud system such as Folderit that will not only let you organize your documents but also share them in a meaningful, productive way.
Improve communication and productivity
This can be done by using an automated workflow approval system that will put an end to tying up the time of one person as he or she physically delivers documents, waits for them, and then moves to the next person on the list or to those frantic searches for a document or material that has gotten lost in transit.
Don’t panic if it isn’t perfect
Not every day at work is going to go smoothly. There will be days when your smile will slip, or when no matter how hard you try to practice smiling, the smile just doesn’t happen. Try to find a few minutes to slip away, let the situation flow over you, and then see what you can do to make things better or to accept the things that you can’t change.
Plan for Monday on Friday
Take a few minutes to assess where you are on projects, make note of anything you might forget, and refresh your “to do” list, marking off items that are complete. If possible, leave yourself a little treat – a bright saying, a wise book that will help with your research, just something cheery that will improve your Monday.
Remember that each new day is a learning process. Everyone is a work in progress. Keep in mind that your co-workers have their share of troubles, too, and try to make their day run a little bit more smoothly.
Give them a smile, listen to their needs, and lend some help if you can. You never know when you might need a helping hand from one of them.