Oftentimes, there’s a big difference between having a good day at work and a productive day at work—sure, sometimes they go hand-in-hand, but at others they don’t.
Think back to a time when you were nearing a major deadline and had to crank out a large workload.
After hours of slaving over your work and stressing about making the deadline, did you describe your day as pleasant or enjoyable?
Probably not. Now imagine a time when you truly enjoyed your day at work. Chances are, this day was out of the ordinary: your boss supplied donuts or pizza, you got to go home early, or it was wear-your-pajamas-to-work day. It wasn’t a good day because you got a lot of work done, but because you got a special treat.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying free food or getting excited about a half-day—but those shouldn’t be the only good days. There is such a thing as having both a pleasant and productive work day. And it’s time we all started making those days happen more often than not. Scott Crabtree, who teaches the science of happiness at work at Happy Brain Science, is here to share a few tips for enjoying your work day whilst making it a productive one. The following have proven to help his employees and clients—which include DreamWorks, Boeing, and Nike—and will surely help you too:
1) Connect with your coworkers.
Crabtree’s first tip is to connect with your coworkers on a deeper level. Rather than discussing work with them right off the bat, catch up on how they’re doing and share updates on your personal life as well. “Connect first as human beings. We are people first, employees second,” Crabtree says. “Each week starts with a check-in on the personal level (How are you? How was your weekend?), before we check in at the professional level (What are your priorities this week?).” Establishing these relationships will make each work day more enjoyable and also increase productivity at work, as research shows that we work best with those we have strong connections with.
2) Get into the “flow.”
Another key to having both a pleasant and productive work day is getting into a healthy “flow.” Crabtree explains their implementation of this strategy at Happy Brain Science: “We have a custom clock on the wall that reminds us to get into the productive, focused zone that psychologists call ‘flow,’ from the time we arrive until we check-in with each other, around 10:45. After that, more focused flow. It’s only after lunch that we get into email and other interruptions.” This flow enables you to focus on specific tasks, starting with the most important. It then allows you to get the more mundane done later in the day, such as checking emails. Furthermore, this practice ensures that you produce important and meaningful work, which you will be proud of each day.
3) Be active throughout the day.
Crabtree’s third tip is to be active throughout the day, as doing so promotes productivity and also makes for a happy, healthy mind. He says that the team at Happy Brain Science encourages physical activity in their employees by providing exercise equipment and endless opportunities for exercising. “We have workout balls, weights, and a walking workstation in our office. And we often go for walks for one-on-one meetings because physical activity boosts cognition, memory, and mood,” he says. If your employer doesn’t offer such opportunities, you can still incorporate physical activity into your work day. A few options include doing simple exercises at your desk like squats or triceps dips. It’s also a good idea to get up and walk around every hour or so.
4) Spread positivity.
And lastly, practice and spread positivity at work. “It might sound corny, but all that cliché stuff about positive attitude really works,” says Crabtree. “We look on the bright side. We comment more on what’s great about each other than what’s wrong with each other. We pick each other up.” You should do the same for yourself and your coworkers: always look for that silver lining and do your best to lift each other up, as opposed to criticizing each other any chance you get. This simple practice will foster an ideal work environment, perfect for not only getting the job done, but enjoying it at the same time.