For many of us, work is predominantly a means to an end. Let’s face it, if you won the lottery tomorrow you’d probably hand in your notice. However, until that happens, your career should be more than just a way to pay the bills. It’s not to suggest you need to love your job so much that you leap out of bed every Monday morning (because honestly, that’s just not realistic), but you do need to find something rewarding or interesting in what you do. We live in a world that’s heavily based around work, and a huge part of our lives are dedicated to it. If you’re not content while you’re working, unhappiness is sure to seep out into other areas of your life. Here are some of the ways you can be that bit happier in work.
Live a healthier lifestyle
Living a healthy life in general can massively improve the way you feel at work. When you eat well and get enough sleep, are properly hydrated and exercise enough, you’ll feel bright, focused and motivated. You might be excellent at your job, but your poor lifestyle choices can leave you feeling sluggish and foggy minded. Most of us these days work sedentary jobs in some form or another, and so spend a large portion of the day almost completely inactive. So doing what you can in your spare time can be really beneficial. Walk or cycle to work, get yourself a gym membership, go on hikes and play sports at the weekends. Not only is this good for longevity and overall health, but you’ll more than likely improve your performance at work too. When you’re working a career you really care about (or are doing all you can to get promoted to where you want to be) then this is something not to overlook.
Get your morning routine right
Your morning can really set the tone for the rest of the day. If every morning you’re waking up late, in a rush, struggling to find what you need and making it into the workplace by the skin of your teeth then it’s going to leave you feeling anxious and stressed- not great for productivity. A few simple changes can really start every day off on a good footing, and it’s not at all difficult or complicated. Sort your lunch and work bag for the next day before you go to bed. Make sure your clothes are clean and ironed and have everything laid out for when you get up. If you have a bath or shower before bed, you save yourself a few extra minutes in the morning. Plan your breakfast and make sure you have the ingredients you need so you can get up and eat, instead of putting it off and being ravenous all morning. If you know your car is low on fuel, sort it the night before rather than waiting until the morning and giving yourself an extra thing to do. These simple preparations ahead of time mean you get get up, get ready and start your day feeling fresh and organised. You could put on some uplifting music, stretch and repeat a positive mantra to really get yourself in the right frame of mind.
Your career might have once been a perfect fit for you. Perhaps you’re living out a childhood ambition, or maybe you got interested in it later on and managed to snag the job of your dreams. However, people change, and our interests and values can really move on over the years. If you’re in a job that was once a good fit but no longer is, you probably aren’t as happy as you could be. Maybe you want to do something that makes a genuine difference, such as teaching or healthcare and are no longer purely motivated by money. Maybe you’ve developed an interest and would like to pursue it as a career, it could be anything from design to psychology to engineering. Changing careers is a bold move, but something that could make you much happier in the long run. It will almost always start with study, when you’re moving over to do something new then you need to gain some qualification and certification in that area. If you’re in a position to resign and start university full time and completely commit then you’ll get it all done much more quickly. However, that’s not realistic for everyone. Thankfully there are online courses you can do in your free time in a completely flexible way, enabling you to earn qualifications in any area you’d like. From full degrees and postgraduate qualifications to diplomas, HNDs and other certification, find out what you’d need to get started in the new field. Gaining experience is also extremely valuable, chances are you’d need to do this on a voluntary basis. Find a company that’s willing to take you on as a volunteer so you can shadow an existing worker and they can teach you some of the skills and experience that you’ll need. You could also attend training days and other formal events to boost your skills and network if needed. All these kinds of things show an employer that you’re serious and willing to get out there and do what you need to do to get your dream job. Working a career you’re passionate about will bring you excitement, give you job satisfaction and generally make you a happier person all round.
Start your own business
Do you have an entrepreneurial head on your shoulders? Perhaps you have a great idea for a business but are yet to do anything about it. If you want a change of career but don’t fancy working for someone else then why not become the boss? If you’re new to business you could start with a franchise since you get to run your own venture but get a lot of support. Otherwise, go it alone but do plenty of research before time to help improve your chances of success. It can be smart to gain a qualification of some kind in business, leadership, marketing or another topic linked to the running of a company. You will need to do plenty of market research of your product or service before launching so that you know it’s something that people will buy. You’ll need to find the right employees, as well as provide them a good working space, this article 11 Tips For A Happy And Productive Office Environment explains how to do this. There’s a lot that goes into it but don’t get overwhelmed, you can always start small and grow organically. You could even begin right from your home, and move into commercial premises once things have picked up and your turning a profit. There’s less risk involved this way, as you’re avoiding many of the overhead costs involved in starting a business. Instead of hiring employees, you’d outsource and utilise third party companies, only opening your own department and finding the your own workers once you can afford to do so.
Start a side hustle
Even if you don’t plan on going into business full time, it’s always worth having a side hustle. Ideally, something related in some way to your career helps you to gain more skills and earn money, but in a fun way. You could write and monetise a blog, or work on freelancing websites. You could buy and sell products for a profit, or make your own products. If things go well it’s something you could do full time later down the line if you wanted to, so it gives you more options. And a second income source is never a bad thing.
Regardless of what you’re doing in your career, it’s so important to have goals. Many people start feeling unhappy at work as they fall into a rut, they stop improving their skills and after being in a position for a long time, you can start to stagnate. Look for ways to move onto the next rung of the career ladder, or seek new opportunities if your current role has no progression. Having a general idea of what you want from your career and how you’re going to get there ensures you stay sharp and motivated. Your goals will probably change over time, our priorities in life are constantly shifting depending on what’s going on. For example, an aspiration you once had might no longer fit when you have a family as you might prefer something less fast paced. Or on the flipside, having a family might motivate you to reach higher job roles to earn more money. It’s all relative, so set goals but stay flexible. Look back on them at least once a year to check where you’re at, what you need to do next or whether you need to alter your path.
How do you think you could be happier at work? What changes would you need to make?