7 Ways to Have a Better Day at Work

by Tisha Tolar on 14 November 2012 6 comments
Photo: °Florian

There is nothing like a bad day at work to set the tone for the days ahead, from lost productivity to lost tempers. Enough bad days and you may even see a pink slip in your future.

It is important for your own mental and physical health to make it a point to resist falling into a sour mood. Your ability to create a positive out of several negatives can not only keep you healthier and happier, but may also help you bring home more bacon.

When things start going south on the job, these seven tips can help you turn it around. (See also: What to Do When You Want to Quit Your Job)

1. Plan Ahead

One reason many people start the day on the wrong foot is because they are scrambling to avoid being late. Being in a hurry makes you susceptible to forgetfulness and anxiety. This can set the tone for the rest of the workday or the work week. Carve out time the night before each work day to get organized:

  • Pack your lunch so you can grab it on the go. Stock your briefcase or purse with the items you need for the next day.
     
  • Place your car keys on top of your stuff so there is no massive hunt in the morning.
     
  • Lay out your clothing so you won’t waste time staring into your closet.
     
  • Fill your vehicle up with gas on the way home from work to avoid waiting in morning lines.
     
  • Get the kids organized in the same way so it is easier to get them out the door in the morning to prevent them (and you) from being late.

2. Wake Up 30 Minutes Earlier

Thirty extra minutes in the morning can give you a chance to wake up and begin the day in a better mood. If you are a parent, you get some extra time to yourself to relax, start a load of laundry, or take meal ingredients out of the freezer. These activities will also help you avoid stress after work since you’ll have less to do and feel good about having accomplished more in a morning than usual.

3. Eat a Healthy Meal

Skipping breakfast is a fundamental mistake. Not only are you going to lack serious energy throughout the day, you’ll be more likely to have a poor attitude due to low blood sugar and hunger pains. Eat a healthy breakfast every morning at the table. Give yourself enough time to eat calmly. Make sure your lunch is just as healthy, and avoid buying lunch every day from fast food places to save money and stay on a nutritious meal plan.

4. Give Out Greetings

It makes people feel good to be personally acknowledged by their name. When you arrive at work, be sure to offer a greeting to your co-workers. Give them a smile as you head to your desk. By creating a positive atmosphere you may be able to head off other people’s bad moods. Even if you are not feeling 100%, do your best to project a friendly, positive energy in the workplace.

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5. Get Stuff Done

Another factor in frustration is feeling unaccomplished. You can help avoid this feeling by better organizing your day. Set a flexible schedule for your daily tasks and stick with it.

  • Be determined to stay focused and avoid distraction.
     
  • Commit to a certain time to answer emails, make phone calls, or do your other tasks.
     
  • Socialize with coworkers when on break rather than allowing people to interrupt you all day long.

You’ll be more focused and more likely to keep productivity levels on the high side. You can help keep the day running smoothly by creating a to-do list at the end of each day so you’ll know what to expect come tomorrow. Reenergize on the job by taking a walk during lunch outside in the fresh air if possible.

6. Think Before You Open Your Mouth

Working with other people can be exasperating, and if you tend to have a short fuse, you should consider working on your patience and your own reactions. You can ruin a good day by spouting off when angry or aggravated. Commit to taking a quick break or practice calming breaths when work stuff starts stressing you out. Take a step back and consider what you should say rather than what you want to say.

7. Track Your Accomplishments

When you get better at adopting a more positive attitude on the job, you will likely notice your productivity and accomplishments rising along with your spirits. Make sure you keep tabs on these achievements. Your ability to communicate your own improvements and renewed work ethic may afford you a raise in pay or a bonus.

On the other hand, if you try and try to make things better at your workplace and still find you are genuinely not happy, it may be a good time to consider your other options by conducting discreet job searches when away from the office. You may also want to consider a new career path in general if the work you do is no longer satisfying. It may be that the environment where you are employed is having a negative effect on you personally, and you may not be able to fix that without making a larger change.

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Guest's picture

I've personally found that planning ahead and focusing on that plan helps you have a better day at work. It is true that a feeling of NOT having done much can put you in a bad mood. Thankfully it can be dealt with with proper planning and focus.

Guest's picture
Pam

Nice article! This helps me a lot, Planning Ahead and and Eating a Healthy Meal is my favorites and always works for me when I'm at work.

Guest's picture

Planning ahead sometimes is easier said than done sometimes. There have been plenty of times when I started my car and noticed that my car was on empty. I would then have to stop to fill it up before my day began. I thought to myself that if I would fill my tank before it goes down to empty, I would not have to worry about filling it up the next day to start my day. That would be an extra 5-10 minutes that I can other stuff done for that day. Great article!!!

Guest's picture
Phil

I never used to eat in the mornings but now I might consider it. Nice article!

Guest's picture

I always plan ahead. I usually lay down for bed and do a quick run through my next day making mental notes of the big things I have to get done. This helps tremendously when little things pop up (and they always do!) to keep me on track to getting things done.

Eating a breakfast is huge too. Without a good breakfast, I am worthless for the day.

Guest's picture
Ogunmakin Michael

Greeting others cheerfully with welcome smile does more than making you happy, but it also makes you and your colleques feel approved and this can build a healthy work relation throughout the day. This is a nice article.