You’ve probably noticed over the course of your career that some of your co-workers breeze through their workdays, seemingly enjoying their jobs, while others slog through each day as though being at the office is one step shy of a prison sentence. Those in the first group don’t wake up dreading going to work and they don’t leave the office at the end of the day grumpy and exhausted. Those in the second group do both, and tend to be pretty unpleasant to work with in large part because of their attitude toward work.
If you’re in the second group and would rather be in the first, consider the choices you make each day that influence how much or how little you enjoy your job. Even if going to work each day is not exactly a choice, how you approach each day is. Here are seven habits you can choose to develop that can help you be among those who enjoy their workdays.
- Practice self-care. This means getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. By engaging in these most basic practices you’ll be more resilient, feel better both physically and emotionally, and bring your best self to the office each day.
- Start the day on a positive note. Whether your commute to work is ten minutes or an hour or more, take advantage of that time to put yourself into a positive frame of mind. Instead of tuning in to the news headlines on the way to the office, enjoy upbeat music or listen to an inspirational or motivational audio book.
- Pitch in to help others. Instead of adopting a “that’s not my job” stance, pitch in to help co-workers whenever possible. This could be something as simple as offering to deliver a message from the front desk to the back office staff when you’re headed in that direction anyway. When you find yourself temporarily caught up with your own work, ask if anyone needs assistance. Being willing to help others makes the day go by quickly, improves productivity and efficiency, and promotes harmony within the office.
- Be curious. Be on the lookout for something new to observe or learn about around the office. If you’ve mastered billing and collections to the point that you can perform your duties more or less on autopilot, ask to spend some time in the front or back office so that you can experience what goes on in those areas.
- Avoid office gossip and politics. Getting caught up in the latest “who did what to whom” conversations at work is not only unproductive, it’s unprofessional. Stay above the fray by refusing to participate in pettiness and look for opportunities to praise and speak well of your co-workers instead.
- Get outside. When you have a break during the day, instead of lounging over a magazine and another cup of coffee in the break room, go outside for a quick walk. Even if it’s just up the street and back or around a couple of blocks, a quick change of scenery and a few breaths of fresh air can help make your day (and you!) more pleasant.
- Maintain a sense of humor. A little levity goes a long way toward workday enjoyment. This doesn’t mean becoming a master joke-teller or keeping everyone in stitches with funny anecdotes. Instead, it means being willing to see the lighter side of even the most challenging situations and, most importantly, being able to laugh at yourself.