Since you’re spending at least half of your waking hours at the office, having a difficult time at work can truly wreak havoc on your mood, energy, and lifestyle. Finding ways to keep yourself feeling good about your job will help keep you motivated and improve your relationship with the workplace.
Here are a few suggestions to help you start the day off right, and keep up your positive attitude until it’s time to clock-off.
1. Start the night before
Being stressed first thing in the morning is a good way to ruin your whole day. Plan ahead to help reduce stress and avoid making early-morning decisions prior to your much-needed coffee. Check the weather forecast to help select your outfit for the next day, then make sure all pieces are clean, pressed, and work-wear ready. Pack yourself a nutritious lunch, so you don’t find yourself rushing out the door to purchase an over-priced unhealthy lunch on your break. And most importantly, get to bed on time so you are well rested when your alarm goes off.
2. Don’t forget to eat
Low blood sugar can give you a serious case of the crankies. #HangryMuch? Plan a light breakfast of fruit and yogurt. Not only will it improve your mood, it will increase your ability to focus and get things done once you hit the office. Trust me!
3. Exercise to energise
Try fitting in your 30 minutes of exercise in the mornings before you head to work. Exercise improves blood flow, boosts mood, and increases concentration and focus. Getting it done in the morning lets you feel accomplished and on track before you even arrive at work. Plus that way you can get home earlier in the evening for your Netflix fix.
4. Use the commute
It doesn’t matter if you commute for 5 minutes or 50, the time you spend in the car or on public transport can be put to good use, giving you the opportunity to mentally prepare for the day ahead. It can be something as simple as choosing music or a podcast that helps you feel engaged. If you ride a train or bus, you can also use that time to start planning your day, making a list of what to do, or catching up on emails. Again, getting a head-start on anything can help reduce stress levels and see you meeting deadlines more easily.
5. Refresh your workspace
If things around you are messy and drab, you probably will be too. Get into work a few minutes early and take some time to organise your desk. Remove clutter, deal with the stack of paperwork, and even dust things off and wipe your screen down. Bring in a plant or piece of artwork that will help put you in your happy place.
6. Pay attention to your posture
Sit up straight, keep your feet on the floor, and stay relaxed. Slouching and leaning are a drag on your attitude, as well as your spine. Stand and stretch every few minutes, or do some shoulder rolls to get you back into alignment. Make sure your chair is ergonomic, or consider an adjustable or standing desk, to help take some of the stress off your back.
7. Use your break time wisely
This does not mean to use it to get ahead on your work day. It means use your break as it was intended. Don’t sit at your desk looking over one last email. Use the time to get up, walk away from your desk, and disengage for a few minutes. Practice some deep breathing, or even step outside for a brisk 10-minute walk. Don’t eat lunch at your desk #BadHabit, instead head to the break out space or an outdoor picnic table. When get back, you’ll have fresh eyes and be better prepared to kick ass on your next task.
8. Leave on time
Make a point to leave when you are supposed to. Finalise your day at the office, and then put work aside. Spending a few extra minutes each day becomes a bad habit, and can easily extend to hours. Make sure your time is your own, and then use the commute home to switch your mindset, just like you did on your way in the morning. Owning your own time and schedule is a good way to ensure you maintain that elusive work-life balance that so many people are seeking.
The most important thing to remember is to try and stay ahead of things. If you find yourself panicking and rushing through most of your day, chances are you can fix it by a few simple organisational changes to your schedule. Keeping yourself relaxed and motivated are essential to avoiding burn-out.