Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to be happier at work


CBS News Moneywatch
By Laura Vanderkam

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(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY Happiness is much in the news this week with the release of Gretchen Rubin's Happier at Home, her sequel to the book-turned-cultural phenomenon known as The Happiness Project. …

…And so, the book got me thinking: Are there ways to do a happiness project in the office as well?

… Happiness is ultimately a choice. Here are a few ways to choose it on the job:

1. Put something on your desk that makes you smile. Sure, the photos of your kids are great, but I'm guessing you start looking past them after they're there long enough. Switch them up every few months, and think outside the photo album. What about a bright orange flower? A print? …

PBS @ SXSW 2010 / Gretchen Rubin
PBS @ SXSW 2010 / Gretchen Rubin (Photo credit: PBS PressRoom)
2. Schedule something to savor during every workday. Maybe it's lunch at a new place, 15 minutes reading a good book on your break, or a phone call to an old colleague to catch up. Plan it in, so you can enjoy the anticipation as well.

3. Choose your projects carefully. … When you're excited about a project, you're naturally more focused and cheery. Aim to be in that state most of the time. …

4. Challenge yourself. We are happiest when working right at the limits of our abilities, attempting things that are difficult but doable.

Instead of Saying
Instead of Saying (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)
5. Get a grip on your time. Time wasters (random web surfing, instantly responding to email) are fun in the moment, but weigh you down like eating too much fast food. Fill your work hours with important things, and you'll naturally devote less time to things that don't matter.

6. Make friends. Try to grab coffee with someone new each week. Social ties are a strong component of happiness, and knowing people personally makes work less chilly.

7. Take the long view. You can perceive ambiguous comments as slights, and ruminate on them all day. Or you can remind yourself that you will have absolutely no memory of this incident two years from now. …

Portrait of Samuel Johnson commissioned for He...
Portrait of Samuel Johnson commissioned for Henry Thrale's Streatham Park gallery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
8. Choose the bigger life. … Rubin quotes Samuel Johnson, "Life is barren enough surely with all her trappings... let us therefore be cautious how we strip her." We often like to keep things simple. We like to avoid rocking the boat. … You can hold your fire, but what are you saving your energy for? Spend out -- and you may just buy happiness.

© 2012 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.
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