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8 Little Ways to Feel Happier and More Fulfilled at Work

We all feel it, whether we admit it or not: sometimes, you’re just lacking a little motivation. It’s normal to occasionally leave the office feeling exhausted or frustrated. But if you dread going to work in the morning, it’s time for a serious change. At that point, it may be time to either reevaluate whether your living your calling or figure out if you can transfuse some positivity into your current work situation. You may even become a leader in the process!!

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for your employer or HR to catch on and transform the morale. You can take your own steps forward, and maybe even inspire the rest of the team in the process.

Yes, I’m giving you one more project to somehow fit in between department meetings, pulling end of month reports and getting your oil changed – but squeeze it into your Google calendar. It’s worth investing a little extra time if you can feel good about where your 40 hours are going.

Whether you’re lacking a little motivation yourself or sense that your department could use a boost, try out at least one of these 8 ideas to help you feel happier and more fulfilled at work.

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1. Organize a program that gives back to the community.

Set up an office toy drive around the holidays, schedule a half-day to help at a food bank, or find a local charity run that you can all join as a team.

Even if you’re not able to leave during work hours, you can easily bring in a donation box or invite co-workers to a Saturday morning neighborhood cleanup. It’s one step toward creating more fulfillment at work, and it will even foster teamwork outside “work” work. Teambuilding exercises create camaraderie, and you may even develop strong relationships with people you may have not connected with in the past.

2. Think about the little parts of your job that make you feel fulfilled.

Every job involves its share of tasks that we find boring or frustrating. But as it turns out, as long as we gain personal fulfillment from at least 20% of our daily work, then we’re going to lead a pretty happy career.

If you find yourself focusing too much on the negative parts of your day, then take a moment to remind yourself of those aspects that you enjoy. Recognize the parts of your job that bring real satisfaction, whether that’s helping your company land a new client, or jumping on the phone to ease a customer’s concerns. Practicing gratitude for the little things has scientifically been proven to lead to happiness. What are the three things you can be grateful for in your job? Write three different things down every day during your lunch break.  

3. Lead fun events for the office.

When everyone’s schedule is packed, the first thing to slip is usually the fun stuff: maybe you missed the last birthday lunch because you had meetings all day, or no one had the energy to dress up for Halloween. Be the one to step in and bring it back!

Announce a holiday cube decorating contest, set up a potluck to celebrate a colleague’s promotion, or invite everyone to an impromptu happy hour. I like the last one a lot!

It might seem less important than the deadlines vying for attention in your Outlook inbox, but these little gatherings help everyone de-stress and learn about each other’s non-work life.

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4. Offer a class in your expertise.

It might be knitting, yoga, personal finance or superior organizational skills: you have something to share. Invite your colleagues to a 30-minute class in the conference room. It could become a new weekly or monthly break from routine, allowing everyone to share their side passion. Plus, it provides an opportunity for you and others to learn new things!

5. Fuel yourself with the good stuff: start meal-prepping!

When we’re stressed, it becomes especially hard to find the time for healthy habits. And leftover cupcakes in the break room become even more tempting. I get it!

But put yourself first. Find one evening a week to meal prep and stockpile healthy snacks. Filling up on coffee and sugar is a quick fix – but your body needs the proper nutrients to stay focused and avoid a 2pm crash.

It takes time and energy to change daily habits. If you feel like you need a little support to get on the right path, I can help you! Meal prep is one of my favorite things to do for myself and help my clients do as well.

6. Check out when you need to.

There might be a very simple reason you’re feeling burnt out at work: maybe you’re getting too much of it.

We all need to tune out sometimes, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about that. Schedule a time every night when you set work aside. Use the “Do not disturb” feature on your phone or set your screen to grayscale so you’re not taunted by the bright red bubble lighting up over your email icon.

If your position requires you to be on call, change your phone settings so you get calls from key contacts, but silence all other notifications.

Also, you NEED to take your vacation! Don’t leave vacation on the table. You need to take time away from the office to reset and refuel. You will only return to work refreshed and recharged – better and more inspired than before. Don’t feel guilty about it either. Your job will be there when you get back. In most cases, your presence or absence doesn’t make or break your company. If you’re an entrepreneur, schedule your vacation and time off in a way that works for you. If you can disconnect, do it!      

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7. Leave your desk for lunch.

We all need some time to recharge. Pack up and go!

Try a new coffee shop or go take a 20-minute walk in a park. A change of scenery can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the second half of your day. So does a work out – if you have the time. 

And if the sight of your desk still gives you anxiety when you get back, let’s organize it!

8. Find reasons to celebrate your coworkers’ success.

In any work environment, mistakes are going to get noticed more often than a job well done. We need to balance the scales with praise and recognition.

The next time you think to yourself, “She is always so prepared,” or “He has really thoughtful comments in meetings,” say it. Small words of encouragement could change someone’s entire day. If it becomes a habit, others will notice. Gradually, you might shift the entire office environment. Also, being happy for the success of others and celebrating their accomplishments only leads to more of the good stuff for you. Feeling jealous and competitive is toxic. Don’t do it. It’s gross. It’s only bad for you – and others will continue to be their best with or without you. We are all unique individuals with talents and gifts like no one else. Remember that – and celebrate your coworkers. And say, “Thank you,” when they celebrate you!  

Sometimes, it does require a little extra effort to find fulfillment at work – but you can make it happen. And it gets easier over time. You’ll find that as soon as you take that first step to change your environment, your own positive changes, feelings and attitude will follow.

If you’re inspired to change other aspects of your life for the better, let’s chat. Let’s work together to reach your goals!