Pop quiz: Is your job… A) boring, B) going nowhere, C) filled with awful annoying people, or D) any combination of the above?
Most people have at least one of these gripes—and almost no one can just up and quit. What you can do: Change the way you think about your nine-to-five, says Daniel M. Cable, author of Alive at Work. Switching up your mindset will help make your time on the clock more fun and fulfilling. Here’s how to retool your workplace ’tude.
1. STOP TALKING TRASH
Those after-work margarita nights where everyone bashes the boss? Yeah, not helping, says Amy Cooper Hakim, PhD, coauthor of Working With Difficult People. These group bash sessions are unprofessional and could spin you deeper into a hate hole. And they won’t actually do anything to change your job. Still need to vent? That’s what your personal-life pals are for. “When you need to get it out, speak to an S.O. or a friend outside work,” says Hakim. They’ll listen and be there for you without piling on, and they’ll probably give you a much more objective perspective. Also, consider setting a 10-minute timer during that chat so your frustrations don’t become an all-consuming time suck.
2. ID ONE GOOD THING
So it’s not your dream job, but your gig has to have at least one cool aspect. Maybe you work with your BFF or the office is 10 minutes from your home. Focusing on the positives makes the lame stuff easier to deal with, says Hakim. “When you look for something to be grateful for, your workday becomes so much better.” Whenever you notice a plus like this, write it down in a notebook or on your phone. Having a concrete list to look at when you’re down in the dumps can give you a happier, more positive perspective.
3. REWARD YOURSELF
Dogs get treats when they’re good; little kids get gold stars. Now it’s your turn. Set small, specific workplace attitude goals that you can measure suggests Hakim. Challenge yourself not to complain out loud for a week or not to roll your eyes when your boss asks you to do something you find pointless. Then, when you hit those marks, indulge in a fancy midday latte, a manicure, or an evening bubble bath. “We’re more likely to complete tasks if we know there’s a reward at the end,” says Hakim. And removing complaints and drama from your mind can make you feel better about your job.
4. GRAB A NEW TASK
Been a while since you’ve had any new to-dos? Look for ways to expand your responsibilities, says Hakim. If you usually run errands for your boss, ask if you can pitch in on client projects. Not only does this show major initiative (hello, possible promo!), but having something fresh on your plate could also challenge you to work harder. That, in turn, can lead to higher overall job satisfaction.
5. FIRE UP THE FUN
One easy way to feel better at work: Have a blast during downtime. The high you’ll get—from, say, karaoke with the girls or a fierce fitness class—can carry over into your working hours. So plan at least one fun activity each week, then actually stick to it (versus crashing on the couch when you get home). You’ll gain a little “I’ve got this!” verve and be reminded that you’re about way more than just your job, says Hakim.
This article first appeared in Cosmopolitan.com.
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