They say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Here are ten tips that can help you thrive at work and get the most out of your experience.
Identify Your Why
Part of thriving at work is realizing that your contributions matter, even if they don’t seem significant on the surface. At the very least, you are supporting your household and helping your company achieve its goals, which in turn means that you’re helping your fellow colleagues support their families.
Even if you don’t think your job is glamorous or that your work is changing the world, if you take a step back, you can feel good about the role you’re playing. During the pandemic, many types of workers realized how “essential” their jobs are to society, from grocery store clerks to healthcare workers to delivery drivers.
If you think deeper about your role, you can get an even clearer sense of your “why,” or the reason you do what you do. Maybe you’re serving the public or helping improve the lives of others in some way. Even if it’s in a supporting role, your work is still vital. Beyond the actual work you do, your company might give back to the community or support causes you care about. Try getting involved in some of those activities.
Focus on Professional Growth
Envisioning a bright future can help you achieve success. One study found that instructional and motivational self-talk have been shown to enhance performance among athletes. The same kind of idea can be applied to one’s professional advancement.
What can you do this quarter that will get you a little bit closer to the five-year career path you envision? Or put another way, how can your current position help you advance toward your longer-term goals? Ask yourself:
- Are you picking up a valuable skill that can help you advance or make lateral moves to new positions?
- Is their opportunity to attend an industry conference?
- Is there a person whom you look up to at your organization? Get to know them and ask if they can mentor you by sharing advice.
Identifying what your job can do for you and having a game plan for your professional growth is a key element of thriving at work.
Appreciate (and Take Advantage of) Your Fringe Benefits
In many cases, employees have a lot of benefits available to them that they might not know about. Take some time to look over your company’s benefits offerings; you might be surprised what you find — from retail discounts, tuition reimbursement, to financial wellness workshops, and access to lower cost health and supplemental benefits. Fringe benefits are on the rise.
Some fringe benefits might involve helping you plan for the unexpected, while others encourage you to have a healthier lifestyle. Many organizations encourage and even subsidize their staffers to volunteer in their communities. There’s a good chance that your job could be the ticket to achieving one of your non-career life goals.
Commit to Work-Life Balance
You know what they say about all work and no play. While it’s important to be a dedicated team member, you don’t have to be the first to arrive and last to leave each day to thrive at your job. Learn more about gaining the work-life balance that’s right for you and your family.
Are You Achieving Work-Life Balance?
“Never get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life” – Dolly Parton
Develop a Healthy Routine
Thriving at work starts with keeping yourself organized and maintaining control over your workday. It could mean blocking out times of the day to answer emails and schedule calls so that you’re not distracted when you have to do focused or creative work.
Perhaps it’s ending the day by creating a to-do list for the next morning. For some, it might mean setting calendar reminders or using other tools to stay on top of deadlines. The bottom line is that not having a routine or predictable schedule can be a major source of stress, as recent research by the University of Connecticut found. And that routine starts before you even get to work, or even the night before.
Maybe it’s picking out the next day’s outfit and packing lunch at night before bed, then giving yourself ample time in the a.m. to read some morning news and sip your coffee before you head out. Then when you get in, try tackling your toughest projects early in the day when there are fewer interruptions, and leave the busy work and email/phone catch up for the afternoon.
Make Time for Your Body and Mind
Taking care of your health – both physical and mental – is an important aspect of thriving at your job. Getting ample sleep, exercising, and good nutrition will help you maintain your energy levels, boost your mood, and stay sharp and focused throughout the day. Find a couple of 10-minute increments throughout the workday to just breath, or go for a quick walk. During non-work hours, try to practice some regular self-care, whether it’s playing a round of golf or sipping herbal tea with a good book.
Just because you’re at work doesn’t mean you have to be all-business all the time. A bit of water-cooler chat and getting social with co-workers can actually make your daily grind a bit easier and even enjoyable. Find fun in your workday, whether it’s a friendly competition or trivia contest, launching a lunch book club, or participating in after-work outings. Of course, keep the fun limited to small breaks in between getting your work done.
When you’re plugging away on a tough project or working toward meeting a sales goal, the days can feel endless. But if you plan something special to celebrate a goal accomplished, you’ll have something to motivate you and something to look forward to. It can be anything from enjoying a massage when you get a commission check, celebrating a conquered deadline over lunch with friends, or downloading a few new books to your e-reader.
It’s amazing the effect a little fresh air and sunshine can have on hour workday mood. In fact, the Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace study found that people who work in spaces with natural features (like potted plants and lots of natural light) reported:
- 15% higher levels of well-being
- 15% more creative at work
Try to make it a point to take your breaks outside whenever possible, or have an alfresco lunch. It’s a chance to give your brain a break so that you can go back to your desk refreshed to finish out the day.
On days when you can’t get out, aim to go for a brisk outdoor walk right after work so you can give your workday some closure and get in the right mindset for enjoying your evening.
Do What You Love
Try to make the most of your time off the clock. Soak up family time, go out with friends, head out for a bike ride. Whatever makes you happy, do more of it!
While there will be times in your career where you might feel like thriving at work is impossible, you have more control than you think.
By focusing on the positive aspects of your job, taking good care of yourself, and feeling good about the contributions you’re making, you’ll position yourself to thrive at your job and beyond.
Do you feel like you’re thriving at work? Share a challenge you’ve been able to overcome or a strategy that helps you stay motivated to succeed.