Sunday, April 25th, 2010
Arrrrrgh days (Mondays) are the most difficult transition for most of us. We just had two glorious days off doing stuff we chose to do. Now we are back at work and doing stuff other people are telling us to do. We all have to do stuff we don’t feel like doing. Even if you are the CEO, your share holders, board members and customers are telling you what to do.
By adjusting the way you view your experience, you have the ability to be happy on a Monday.
You have to take some of the control back and make yourself feel good. I’m not talking about eating chocolate cake. I’m talking about doing small things that can redirect your focus.
The C.A.P.A.S.C.H. Method
1. Call a friend and Talk about the Fun Topics
2. Allow Your Feelings be as They Are
3. Plan Your Day
4. Ask a Co-worker How Their Weekend Went
5. Stop Complaining
6. Clean Your Desk
7. Help a Co-worker
1. Call a Friend and Talk about Fun Topics.
On your way into work or at work, call a friend and talk about enjoyable topics. This is one of my favorite ways to laugh and pick up my day before I start work on a Monday. I recently had a conversation with an old friend about when we were kids and how we dipped a dandelion in a sewer leak and made the neighbors smell the flower. I’m not proud of this, but we were laughing so hard I thought I should pull over.
We should take advantage of little perks like these.
2. Ask a Co-worker How Their Weekend Went
Most of us probably ask our co-workers how their weekends went, but the problem is that we don’t listen when they answer. I would like you to try asking how a co-worker’s weekend went and really listening instead of waiting for them to stop so you can tell them about your weekend.
By really listening to them, you become more engaged with the person. You start to discover what they like and don’t like. When it comes time to ask for help, you know who cares about what and which people can really help.
You also open yourself up to feeling empathy toward the other person. Later that Monday when they don’t have that report ready for you, you will recall that story of how they rushed to the hospital. You’ll be a little more forgiving and understanding of other people’s feelings.
3. Plan Your Day
When you take the time to plan out your day, you will find it easier to accomplish your work. This is obvious, but many of us fail to do it.
I used to believe in the “fly by the seat of my pants” day, but my scattered brain had trouble focusing. I actually thought it helped my creativity, but it only hindered my focus. I decided to keep a master list and have a smaller list for smaller chunks of time. My master list was just a guide. My smaller list was made up of only the stuff I needed to get done in the next two hours. After the small list was done, I would make another list, take a break then come back and do some more work.
I felt more relaxed without trying to do three things at once. I accomplished more and felt better because I was accomplishing small chunks of tasks.
4. Allow Your Feelings to be as They Are
The more I study work happiness, the more I appreciate my feelings for what they are without wanting them to change. This internal acceptance allows us to blossom emotionally at work.
I used to be afraid of my weird sense of humor. Sometimes I push the envelope too much and talk about frog genitals. Ok, maybe not frog genitals, but something along those lines. I was holding back so I wouldn’t get my feelings hurt. I was judging myself before I even gave other people the chance to accept me.
You need to learn to let your feelings get hurt so you can be the real you at work. Once you realize that it’s ok to feel embarrassed, sad, or angry, then you will be more accepting and loving of yourself. That’s where the true work happiness begins: loving who you are and not being afraid to let it all hang out.
Believe me, you won’t be as depressed on a Monday morning when you can bust out a frog genitals joke for everyone to snicker along with.
5. Stop Complaining
When you complain, you are signaling to yourself that life sucks. The more that you complain, the more the suckiness magnifies.
There are many crappy parts to a Monday, but there are almost as many good parts too. I was a chronic complainer, so I put myself on a 30 day diet of No Complaining. It helped me reduce my complaining and focus more on positive thoughts.
Try to eliminate complaining for a whole Monday and see how it makes you feel. And if you do complain notice when you do and how you can substitute a positive thought or remark in its place.
6. Clean Your Desk
Your office, desk, and surrounding area is vital to your happiness. Elizabeth Scott, M.S., of About.com wrote that you need to work in a soothing space so you will feel more nurtured by your surroundings.
I recently added some phrases that energize me to my corkboard above my computer, organized my pile of papers, and put away any unnecessary books and magazines. My mood lifted and I felt more relaxed as I worked on my next blog post.
7. Help a Coworker
Too much of our own energy is spent on trying to make ourselves happy. We forget that helping others allows us to forget about our own worries, assists someone in need, and makes us feel good.
I recently had a few coworkers help me out. We had to rush out an order of letters to our customers. I thought I had to do it all by myself. They chipped in and we got it done in ¼ of the time. We all got to hang out and talk during that time too.
It made my Monday turn from a crappy day into an enjoyable one.
How About You
What do you do when you are feeling down on a Monday?
* Need a boost to your work happiness? Then check out the Happy at Work Project and start one yourself.
* Marc and Angel hack life published my article called 3 Communication Tips for Building Stronger Relationships. It’s a must read.
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Image courtesy of Foxtongue