Take your Job and Love it

Good Housekeeping (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - Dr Craig Knight,

Tips for im­prov­ing your per­for­mance and hap­pi­ness at work

No mat­ter how you spend your nine to five (or, let’s be real, seven to seven), you can make it feel less like work. Tak­ing con­trol of lit­tle things – say, by dec­o­rat­ing your desk with succulents or art – can in­crease your per­for­mance and hap­pi­ness by help­ing you feel more in­vested in your space, says an ex­pert in or­gan­i­sa­tional psy­chol­ogy. Read on for more easy yet trans­for­ma­tive ideas

GET ev­ery­one TO BE nicer

‘When you en­counter a rude as­so­ciate, your brain is more likely to in­ter­pret fu­ture in­ter­ac­tions neg­a­tively,’ says Dr Trevor Foulk, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of man­age­ment and or­gan­i­sa­tion at the Univer­sity of Mary­land in the US. In other words, grumpi­ness is con­ta­gious. Start a pos­i­tive cy­cle with thought­ful ges­tures, such as go­ing on snack runs or say­ing thank you more of­ten, which stud­ies show can lead to higher em­ployee sat­is­fac­tion. Also, feel free to gos­sip – just fo­cus on the good kind. Re­search sug­gests that shar­ing some­thing pos­i­tive about your day with a peer, whether it’s a rare com­pli­ment from your boss or a funny text from your chil­dren, makes you more con­tent.

Go on the best break

Your en­ergy, con­cen­tra­tion and mo­ti­va­tion lev­els wane as the day goes on, but tak­ing a mid­morn­ing break can re­plen­ish them be­fore they run out, re­vealed a study at Bay­lor Univer­sity in the US. We say spend it de­vel­op­ing a closer friend­ship with a col­league (a.k.a. fu­ture work hus­band or wife), which has been shown to help peo­ple feel hap­pier, bet­ter con­nected and more suc­cess­ful at their jobs. Can a dou­ble latte do all that?

Dis­con­nect – and mean it

You al­ready know you earn the ti­tle of ‘fam­ily party pooper’ if you work dur­ing hol­i­days, but a re­cent US study has found that do­ing this pres­sures co­work­ers into fol­low­ing your lead dur­ing their down­time. As a re­sult, ev­ery­one feels less val­ued, driven and com­mit­ted. So do the of­fice a favour and for­get your e-mail pass­word for the week.

Add some colour

Cer­tain hues are pow­er­ful enough to af­fect your mood and am­bi­tion, ac­cord­ing to a study at the Univer­sity of Texas in the US. Colour ex­pert Kate Smith sug­gests in­cor­po­rat­ing yel­low into your workspace to en­hance cre­ativ­ity, blue to help you calm down and fo­cus, or purple to put your­self in a prob­lem-solv­ing mind-set.

Com­pile a pro­duc­tiv­ity playlist

Hear­ing a song you love doesn’t just bring out your best (…worst?) dance moves. It also re­leases a neu­ro­trans­mit­ter called dopamine that en­gages your brain’s re­ward sys­tem and can push you to achieve some­thing, says a study pub­lished in Na­ture Neu­ro­science. So if your of­fice is head­phone-friendly, cre­ate a mix of music that’ll in­spire you to fin­ish your to-dos (lip­synch­ing op­tional).

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