I recently attended an HR Conference and was fortunate enough to listen to several presentations on important HR topics and the future of HR. A particular topic that resonated with me was on how to make work better. Essentially, by employing simple strategies, work can be an event to look forward to, rather than dread.
At the conference, we talked about mood and well-being, and how it was determined that employees are in the best mood when they are accomplishing tasks and/or making progress towards a goal. You can organize your day to make this happen with simple strategies to be more effective, efficient, and happy at work.
There can be a large discrepancy when it comes to how we want to spend our time and how we actually end up spending it. Sometimes, simple and small changes can make a big difference.
Use the following examples to help employees work more effectively:
- Get into the flow and create routines that don’t use cognitive energy. Schedule 60-90 minutes of uninterrupted work each morning.
- Don’t let emails run your day. Start adding “No reply needed” to emails to prevent an ongoing chain that is unnecessary.
- Set up for small wins by thinking about one thing you can accomplish and just do it.
- Take breaks, whether it be at lunch (preferably not at your desk) and try to integrate nature into your day. If you have an outdoor area, some nature or trails available, use them.
- Reduce the fracturing of your workdays. Have email free times and days, as well as meeting free times and days.
- Analyze how you spend your time. Are there any tasks you can cut back on, delegate, outsource, simplify, or group together? Classify tasks as minimum, moderate, and maximum in terms of energy/effort required and perform them accordingly.
- Add a purposeful pause when communicating, whether it be in person or via email or text. Think before you speak and reread your content before you send messages.
Emphasize the Positive, Let Go of the Negatives
When asked, “How was your day?” talk about the good things that happened. Fun and positive events happen three times more often than negative ones, however, because negative experiences tend to have a larger impact on us, people typically pay more attention to them.
Here are things you can do to emphasize the positive:
- Reflect on three good things at the end of each day. This helps you detach from work, as well as reduce blood pressure and related stress.
- Share positive events with coworkers and family and have rituals or celebrations around success.
- Send a daily gratitude expression or email to a co-worker or your team.
Integrating “mindfulness” into your day can be extremely beneficial. When we are running on autopilot, there is no awareness of what we are doing and we oftentimes don’t take the time to focus on the moment at hand. Instead of listening with one ear and rushing through activities, be conscious of how you hold your body and shoulders. Are you tense? Have you ever driven somewhere and barely remember the ride, or walked into a room and forgotten what you went there for? Stop, slow down, and be mindful.
Build micro-moments of mindful recovery into your day. For example, a mindful walk to a meeting. After work, have a mindful moment before going into the house and transitioning to home/family life.
A final important message is to treat others with kindness. It is a proven mood booster and good example for all.
What are ways you experience mindfulness in your day-to-day work life?