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8 Ways to Feel Good at the End of the Work Day

8 Ways to Feel Good at the End of the Work Day


    At Lifehack we talk a lot about happiness, and (in my opinion) general happiness is the accumulation of many days of contentment with one’s circumstances.  Therefore, being happier isn’t necessarily a matter of making massive changes in your life.  In fact, it’s often more about minor adjustments.  Here are eight small things you can do so that you feel better about yourself at the end of the day.

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    1. Cut the Fat

    Where you can, eliminate parties from your work who don’t really need to be involved.  The more cooks, the less likelihood there is that anything delicious will be made in the kitchen, and this inevitably leads to frustration.  Instead of spending every day in consensus-building meetings, strive to gain greater control over your work responsibilities  – consulting managers or mentors when YOU feel it will be helpful.

    2. Set an Aggressive Deadline

    Most people work more efficiently under pressure, and short-term deadlines ensure that you will actually have something tangible accomplished at the end of each day.  It’s better than spending chunks of time surfing the web, which may feel good in the moment but won’t put a smile on your face on the train ride home.

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    3. Jot Down Your Accomplishments

    Meeting several tough deadlines in a row, and achieving quantifiable results while you’re at it, is something of which to be proud.  Don’t sweep it under the rug.  Keep a running list of what you’ve achieved this week and look at it frequently, especially every time your thinking turns dark (e.g. “I’m wasting my life”, “I’ll never get promoted”).

    4. Have a Focused Conversation

    No matter how busy you are, make an effort to stop multi-tasking so that you can spend a few quality minutes with the people who matter.  This means actively listening, contributing as appropriate, and ignoring potential interruptions.  When all of your attention is on the discussion at hand, it’s much easier to build relationships, collaborate effectively and resolve conflicts.

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    5. Help a Colleague

    One of the most attractive aspects of volunteerism is that it helps the giver feel good about herself in addition to providing a service to society.  A non-profit related activity will obviously fit the bill in terms of increasing your positivity each day, but you can achieve the same effect by going out of your way to assist a colleague who is struggling.  You might take a project off his plate, show him how to use a new application, or offer to run his broken smartphone to the repair shop while out to lunch.

    6. Walk Outside

    Our energy peaks and flags at different times of the day depending on our natural body rhythms.  When you feel like you need a boost, grab your jacket and take a walk around the building or block.  Not only will the fresh air perk up your mood, but it will also remind you that you live in a world that extends beyond the sterile office environment.  And getting exercise, even when it’s of the light variety, will improve your overall health and well-being.

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    7. Eat a Colorful Plate

    Many of us make the mistake of thinking that we’ll be more productive if we forego lunch and eat a candy bar at our desks, but this is not the case.  Skipping meals regularly leads to increased fatigue and depression, and decreased mental acuity.   You’ll feel so much better when 6PM arrives if you stop, go down to the cafeteria, and eat a hearty lunch comprised of at least two-thirds fruits and vegetables.  As a general rule, the more colorful your plate is, the more nutritious.

    8. Don’t Compromise Your Values

    Don’t let anyone, senior executives or otherwise, talk you into doing something you feel is morally wrong.  You may get caught or you may not, but committing ethical violations is a fast way to destroy your sense of self-worth.  Tell the person asking that you don’t feel comfortable in an assertive but non-judgmental tone.  If you are pressed or the situation becomes otherwise intolerable, consider speaking to your HR representative.

    (Photo credit: Time Card via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on July 13, 2020

    How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

    How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

    Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

    1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

    The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

    Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

    For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

    The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

    2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

    Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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    As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

    Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

    3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

    Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

      This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

      We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

      Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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      When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

      Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

      4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

      Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

      For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

      Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

      5. Make Decisions

      For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

      If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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      If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

      Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

      I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

      This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

      The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

      6. Take Some Form of Action

      Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

      The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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      It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

      Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

      The Bottom Line

      Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

      When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

      More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

      Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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