If you're like most people, you spend the majority of your day at work. And if you're like most people, you'd probably like to feel as happy as possible while you're there. Happy, engaged employees are productive employees. An engaged employee can outperform a disengaged employee by 202 percent, according to Dale Carnegie Training, so you owe it to yourself to be passionate about your job.
Whether you work from home or in an office, tips from the pros can help you unlock your professional potential.
Do Your Least Favorite Work Tasks First
Test the “fun factor” rule and your day will feel a lot more productive.
Dr. Carol Kryder, Ph.D., and mental health expert told Woman’s Day that prioritizing from worst-to-best tasks helps most people feel more accomplished and self-disciplined. After all, it isn’t fair to eat dessert first.
Measure What Matters
Charts, lists, and measurements work. Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy, wrote in his “16 Rules for Success in Business and Life in General” that measured metrics get results.
If you feel like you’ll never be able to get through everything on your agenda, you’re not measuring and prioritizing right. Sit down, make a chart, check it off and you’ll be surprised how accomplished you’ll feel.
Force A Sense of Purpose at Work
If your job is your calling, you’re very lucky. If not, there are ways you can help it align better with your core values.
Elizabeth Lombardo, author of “A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness” suggests you focus on the good you promote within your job. If you work for a medical billing company, you’re contributing to healing. If you work in a restaurant, you’re helping nourish people. The secret isn’t finding the perfect job, it’s making the best of what you have.
Check Your Ego
An ego can be great for staying motivated, but if you’re too busy thinking about yourself, it could hurt your professional performance. Women's Day suggests that instead of thinking about what you can get out of a situation, think about how you can help others. Not only will they appreciate the gesture more, but it should also make you feel better to put their needs ahead of yours.
In fact, research from DePaul University found that people who put themselves last at work reported higher levels of happiness and job satisfaction than those who were self-centered.
Speed Up To Slow Down
Pace yourself throughout your day so that when it comes time to focus on something important there isn’t a backlog of distractions.
“Take regular breaks to recharge,” suggests Kryder. “People get more done in less time when they pace themselves because they conserve their energy and avoid burnout.”
For some people, checking social media during work hours can feel productive, but it isn't. Instead of looking at Facebook every 20 minutes thinking you're making progress on your goals – you aren't. By the time you read one post, all of your friends are posting again. It's a waste of time that could be better spent learning something new or tackling your least favorite task. At the end of the day, if you don't have anything nice to say about what happened during any given day, review why that may be by asking yourself these questions:
– Did I neglect my daily responsibilities?
– Did I commit to too many things and become overwhelmed as a result?
– Have I spent too much time on activities that didn't produce tangible results?
If your answer is yes, you're not alone – but there's always time to be proactive about making an improvement tomorrow. Remember, “Every day is a gift,” said Kryder. “Don't wait for grandiose expectations or motivation to get started. Just start somewhere and take it one step at a time.”
We know that the workday can often seem like an endless series of tasks. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try these expert tips for wellness at work to help boost your mood and productivity throughout the day. Your company will thank you!
In some ways I’m lucky. Working in ER it’s easy to see your purpose and hard to find fault with it. Prioritizing also pretty much takes care of itself. But as a writer not eating dessert first is a very important rule. Or in my case write first and do social media later!
You def have purpose in the ER and the overall goal is easily seen. So many people procrastinate when it comes with writing though. It’s just so easy to say I’ll do it later or get distracted with something else. That’s why I like hard deadlines. Keep me on the ball!
Back when I was still working, I would try to get all of the tasks that I disliked done before lunchtime. Not only did that keep me busy, but when I came back from lunch I didn’t dread the work I still had left to do. Afternoons seemed to fly by that way…
That’s a great tip! People love when work flies by and anything that helps is a plus.
I’m really bad about doing tasks I like before the ones that “must” get done. I’ve been working on listing my top three big tasks for the day. Only once I’ve crossed them off, am I allowing myself to work on the lesser tasks. It’s easier said than done, but it takes time to develop habits.
That’s a good idea! I’m bad at waiting to do things at the last minute. I get them done but only when I have to. Things are usually too hectic for me to do them when I should.
I have a friend who teaches you how to get over your procrastination. She talked about Eating the Frog – make a to do list and the one you want to do the least is your Frog. You should eat the frog first. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/productivityexperiments/) Just fyi, this is not my site, I don’t get anything from it – she just has great tips.
I love that. Eating the frog. It’s a good way to think about it.
I love the tip about figuring out what matters most. I always take a few minutes each morning and plan out my day. I always schedule my priorities in order to make sure the necessities are complete by days end.
Great ideas! I get done what I need to even though sometimes it’s on the last possible day I can do it.
Since I work for an aerospace parts manufacturer I should focus on the fact that what I’m buying is keeping planes in the air.
Keeping planes in the air is a good thing! It’s never good when one of those things fall.
Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer)
When our sons were contemplating college and what they wanted to be when they grew up, my husband explained to them that there are 4 paradigms for jobs: 1) you make a decent amount of money but have a terrible job, 2) you don’t make much money, but you love your job, 3) you don’t make much money and you hate your job and 4) you make decent money and you love your job. My husband is a physician-scientist and falls into the 4th paradigm. He can’t believe they actually pay him fairly well to do what he loves and wants to do. Our boys are in their 20’s now. The younger one has determined that he can’t stand working for other people (other than his own clients) and has managed to support himself without compromising that requirement. On the other hand, our older son used the term “soul sucking” in describing his job the other day — even though he has been rewarded with promotions and a comfortable salary. As a recovering lawyer and work-at-home-or-wherever travel (etc.) blogger, I’m trying to sort it all out as I quickly approach the big 6-oh.
My husband falls into the 4th category too. He loves what he does and makes decent money. Me on the other hand, I still don’t really know what I want to do in life. I know I’m drawn toward medical and science fields but am not sure what to do in them.
These are awesome tips for being productive at work. I especially like the tip about completing your least favorite task first. That way you have something to look forward to. A little reward when you complete the unwanted task. 🙂
Looking forward to something you like always makes me happy too 🙂
I’ve been a Subscriber to your blog for a while now. I haven’t commented other than two other times because I don’t have any human children. My child is a 10 year old Golden Retriever, Phoenix. I sooooo admire what you and your husband are doing. It’s a very tough journey. This one caught my eye on work. I would really like to hear more of your own opinion vs so many links to other sites and articles. You guys are going great!! Stay the course and always believe in your dream, young lady! 🙂 I will keep checking back 🙂
Thanks for checking out my blog! My summers are so busy that I don’t have much time for my own posts. It’s hard to do anything when my children always need something. Here in September though I’m going to be able to write my own things more since my youngest will be starting preschool. That will give me a little extra time when I’m not working, hopefully! More than likely they will still be kid related but who knows 🙂