7 Ways to Treat Your Winter Blues (Seasonal Affect Disorder Emergency Kit)

winter blues

Forget everything you learned about surviving the winter blues.

It’s not about the cold.

It’s not about the snow.

It’s not about money.

I wish money could buy happiness.

If I had my way, I’d boil a full pot of hot green tea, snuggle on the couch and hibernate all season long. That scenario, though, is a tad unrealistic.

Aesthetics aside, the thing that bothers me the most about winter is how it makes me feel. Lethargy settles into my bones and doesn’t want to leave until spring arrives.

I understand seasonal depression. When you don’t have that Vitamin D beating down on you every day, you’re bound to be affected. You can let it drag you down or you can do something about it.

I’m going to give you a short guide to treating your Seasonal Affect Disorder. Think of it as your Winter Blues Emergency Kit.

1. Get Social

If you’re spending winter cooped up, miserable and alone, you’re going to stay that way. Actively making plans to interact with friends and family will lift your spirits. Make it a goal to get out and catch up with friends at least once a week. Even if you have to drag yourself there, you’ll be happy you did.

2. Add Exercise

Nothing says winter slump like sitting on the couch counting the ceiling tiles. One way to feel productive is to fit a workout into your schedule a few times every week. We love to use winter as an excuse to be lazy because it’s too cold to go outside. And a drive to the gym seems unbearable. Luckily, there are other ways. Dig up a few workout DVDs or follow a fit account on Instagram that will kick you into gear. With all the endorphins running through your system, you’ll be smiling and feeling good in no time.

3. Eat Right

I don’t know about you, but whenever I choose a box of McNuggets over a nutritious salad, I could not feel any lower. Foods that are highly processed and have a lot of sugars and fats will undoubtedly bring you down. Opt for lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains.

B-vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids are important, so loading up on both of them will help repel unwanted depression. Although the carbs and Christmas leftovers are calling your name all winter long, there are actually a lot of healthy foods you can take advantage of this winter.

What you put in your body is vital to how you feel, so don’t try to drown your sorrows in bottles of Pinot Grigio. Large amounts of alcohol will only make your depression worse. There are a lot of common threads between alcoholism and depression, and studies have shown that the abuse of alcohol is likely to result in more negative thoughts.

4. Find Hobbies Inside

Sometimes you have no choice but to be stuck inside during the winter. The temperature is below zero and the roads are slippery. Though this scenario might not seem ideal, learn to make the most of it. Create a list of things around the house that you’d like to accomplish over the winter season, from cleaning your closet to baking a cake. This way, you’ll know just what to dive into when you’re feeling stranded and bored.

Karl’s note: Hobbies are a great way to bring more passion into your life. They help your personal and professional lives support each other.

5. Take Advantage of the Good Stuff

There are probably some things you actually love about the season. Maybe it’s ice skating, tapping into your scarf fetish or loading up on red velvet candles. Whatever it may be – indulge yourself. The more pleasure you find in these wintery treats, the less miserable the season will feel.

6. Bundle Up 

If you’re walking around under-bundled and taking the brunt of the cold, of course you’re going to hate winter. There’s nothing worse than shivering the days away. Get cozy by the fire, and shop for lots of wool this season. Always be prepared with a hat and gloves, just in case.

7. Find the Light

What’s missing from winter are those golden rays beating down on you. As it turns out, sunlight is important for treating seasonal depression. Serotonin, the chemical that normalizes your mood, is created when sunlight hits your skin. Open up the blinds in the morning because this is when getting light is the most crucial. You can also invest in a light therapy box, which is a great substitute when battling seasonal depression.

Sometimes we choose to sit and sulk when instead we should be taking action. Fight seasonal depression by integrating a few of these tips into your winter routine. Your mood will improve and you’ll be happier as you wait for the spring sunshine and blossoms.

What would you add to the list? Share a bit of your own avoiding the winter blues wisdom.

Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping others find happiness and success in their careers. Follow her for more inspiring tips at @SarahLandrum

10 Habits of Brilliant Leaders

Zuckerberg quote
I recently shared a drink with a friend who runs a small company. He told me a secret that I’ve never heard him discuss before.

He talked with me about his employees’ moods and how they can fluctuate in such a broad way, which really affects the quality of their work.

“A few years ago I caught one of my employees sleeping at his desk. He wasn’t a bad employee, but he wasn’t great either. He was never late, but there were times he didn’t seem interested in his work at all. Then there were other times he was fantastic. It would fluctuate like this all the time. I didn’t know what to do.”

Shortly after finding his employee asleep he decided he had to make some changes. He told me he took my advice from a conversation over a couple beers last year. He began to explain his vision and why he made certain decisions. He opened up his thought process to all his employees every month. He explained the companies income and costs, what direction the company was trying to go in and why. This also opened up a dialog with his employees that he never knew was possible.

His employees responded better than he thought they would. He even got ideas from his employees of how the company could save money and how to improve the customer experience.

“It was like someone flipped a little switch on in our company. I wished I had done it sooner. Almost everyone was happier and much more engaged. It’s funny though. I never got through to the guy that sparked it all. I eventually had to let him go. Hope he’s at a job he enjoys. I still think about him and feel grateful for the idea he sparked.”

People often stop looking at the larger picture because they get comfortable. This comfortable feeling reduces their desire to go above and beyond. They coast along, slowly disengaging and disliking their work.

A study at the University of Alberta showed that people need a sense of purpose in order to feel engaged with their work. A ‘Spirit at Work’ intervention program for a group of long-term health-care workers boosted morale and job retention. This program urged employees to rethink their job, which reduced absenteeism by 60% and turnover by 75%.

“We discovered that people who are able to find meaning and purpose in their work, and can see how they make a difference through that work, are healthier, happier and more productive employees,” said Val Kinjerski, a University of Alberta PhD graduate who co-authored the study in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing.

By helping your people understand why they do what they do – you can increase happiness and productivity.

I’m going to give you a few ideas that should help your employees feel more engaged with their work.

Are you interested in bringing more fun and happiness to your team? I’m creating a beta program to help you improve employee engagement. I would like to help a small group of leaders grow a happier culture and improve communication at work. If you are a team leader, manager, HR, or CEO then reach out to me. The program will be extremely affordable (big discount) in exchange for your help in making the program better. If you are interested please fill out this short form and I’ll get back to you right away.

1. Empower employees to improve the company

When a leader listens and empowers his employees to fix the small things, there are more people responsible for creating a great customer experience. Each small improvement quickly adds up, improving innovation and helping keep customers happy.

“We try to have as many channels for expression as we can, recognizing that different people, and different ideas, will percolate up in different ways,” Laszlo Bock, VP of Google

When employees believe that their voices matter, they are more likely to feel appreciated by the company. This feeling then encourages each employee to do better work.

Your organization employs smart people, otherwise they probably wouldn’t hold the positions that they do. They just need a chance to unleash that creativity and wow their co-workers and customers.

2. Share positive stories

Your organization has many stories of how employees solved problems, helped others in need, and other ways in which they went above and beyond to make someone happy. However, a lot of companies like to play the modesty card. They hesitate to flaunt their achievements.

Great leaders understand the power of positive stories when they show the value that they bring to the customer.

A client recently told me about how I helped her feel happier. She explained that medication that she took to keep her emotionally balanced didn’t help, but I did. She thanked me profusely. (I put her quote on my Happy Employees page.) I sent the email to my editor. I think she got a better understanding of who I’m trying to help and why I work so hard to create great content. Since she edits many of my articles, I need her to feel engaged with the work, so we keep putting out the best content to help the readers of this blog.

You need to flaunt your greatness!

You have to share similar stories with each other. Talk about how a customer gushed over your attention to detail. It shows the rest of your co-workers why you do what you do. Most of you aren’t working just for the paycheck. You are also working because you make a difference in people’s lives.

The more stories an organization can compile the more powerful it becomes. If your organization is huge, then break it down into departments. Even departments such as marketing and accounting need to compile stories. Many of these stories may be more internal, but it’s still important to document what is happening so you can share with your people why you do what you do.

3. Focus on great culture

Great results are the bottom line of every company. The only way to get great results is to have support at every level. If one domino falls short the customer experience weakens. You can’t have great marketing and bad customer service. That’s why empowering employees to create their own happiness systems, we’ll discuss more in #5, is vital to improving every aspect of your company culture.

“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” Simon Sinek

When a leader makes the company’s culture a top priority it ripples throughout the whole organization. They want create as many avenues for employee happiness that their resources will allow. It’s this habit that helps an employee feel engaged with their work and deliver great results.

4. Explain the vision again and again

A great leader has vision that guides everyone in the organization. They are able to plan for next year like it’s next month. They know how they want to get there and help explain what he wants done to make it happen.

It’s this vision that helps put into focus every action an employee makes within the company. Without explaining this vision many employees become lost, unable to see what is truly important.

“If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning.” – Larry Page, CEO of Google

Every company helps someone. It’s up to the leaders in your company to bring clarity to who you serve and how you will make it happen. The more ways you can explain your visions the clearer it becomes.

5. Allow employees to design their work systems

Your employees know their strengths. They know whether they enjoy certain projects and which ones drive them crazy. Utilizing this information is vital to getting great results out of your employees.

Allow your employees the freedom to design how they would get the task done. They will own the project and work harder to make sure it succeeds.

6. Listen to Feedback

In order to stay engaged in our work, we have to recognize our mistakes and understand how to fix them. By listening to employee, customer, and vendor feedback, an organization is taking the time to understand their mistakes and correct them.

I have known many people who like to solve problems. They get an energy boost from making a solution happen. I worked at K-Mart in my teenage years and I’ll never forget a look on one customer’s face because of what one of my co-workers was able to do for her.

A woman came into the store asking for a patio umbrella that wasn’t in stock. The salesperson called 4 different stores before she found the lady’s umbrella. He asked the store to transfer it and he would call the lady as soon as it came in.

I remember when the lady came into the store to pick up the umbrella. She was gushing because it was the only one that fit her patio furniture.

You could see the manager of the employee beaming with pride.

I’ve seen and been on the receiving end of an employee just not caring. They can hear and/or see that I’m upset and they choose not to help.

You need to give your people a chance to create solutions so they can feel like they are a superhero.

7. Encourage employees to fix mistakes

Yaro Starak wrote a blog post about his experience at Starbucks. It made great advertising for Starbucks. Starbucks empowers their employees to make good decisions, which leads to the best type of advertising in the world: word of mouth.

Yaro ordered a tea and an oat brownie. He waited for it to arrive on the counter. After a few minutes he told the barista that he was still waiting for his tea. The Starbucks employee had forgotten about his order. He quickly made the tea, apologized and handed him a piece of cardboard that said…

We apologize if your Starbucks experience was anything but wonderful. We want to know how we can make things better and always invite you to share your thoughts with us. The next time we see you, please enjoy a beverage, on us. We hope your next visit is better.

Yaro might bring a friend in with him the next time he goes to Starbucks. Now that extra expenditure almost balanced itself out.

Yaro explained how he felt…

I waited about an extra minute longer for my tea than I should have. That is definitely not long enough for me to get angry and I was served very quickly once I notified them that my tea was missing.

Yet, despite this, the Starbucks policy is to offer a complimentary beverage even if their system is slightly out of whack. I walked away impressed that I scored a free beverage voucher, but not really because of the beverage itself, I was impressed with the customer service policy I just witnessed (hence I’m writing a blog post about it!).

Starbucks did not diminish in my eyes as a result of this incident. In fact they impressed me, so much so that I’m now writing a blog post that will be read by thousands of people proclaiming good things about Starbucks service (that’s some good word of mouth). Of course not every Starbucks customer has a blog they can rave to when something happens, but every person has friends and people they talk to, and this one policy of Starbucks will encourage word of mouth through normal social interaction too.

It all started because Starbucks empowers their employees to make the customer feel good. That’s the benefit to happiness at work. The employee corrects a mistake, and the customer is happy after receiving a free voucher for something of such little inconvenience. Everyone feels good. The drinks that Starbucks make don’t cost them that much, so in reality they are probably losing less than a dollar on the whole transaction.

Gaining a loyal customer.

8. Recharge internal battery every single day

When you run a company you can’t go 9 hours straight without stopping. You probably can’t even go 4 hours without recharging. That’s why smart leaders take the time to recharge their mind and body.

Listening to your body instead of powering through, it’s vital to making quality decisions.

“Manage your energy, not your time.” – Tony Schwartz

Next time you feel sluggish try going for a walk or taking 10 deep breaths. The idea is to do something that gets you away from thinking about work and allows you to let go of your tension loop. You’ll feel refreshed, happier, and make better decisions.

9. Celebrate hard work and great results

The number one reason people leave their job is because they don’t feel appreciated. If you are ho hum about showing your appreciation then your people may stop trying.

You can do something simple like walk up to them and just thank them for their hard work.

People want to know that what they do matters. That means celebrating all the good things.

This should be done in large and small groups. The larger gatherings can occur about 1-4 times a year, while the smaller groups (celebrations within a department) should be done more often.

Making your celebration a regular routine is the key, because you want to make a habit out of celebrating your successes. Try celebrating once a quarter to start. If you overload people and celebrate too often, they will get bored and also be unable to find reasons to rejoice in their hard work.

To avoid allowing this practice to fall away, it’s important to make the celebration fun. That might mean bringing food, let people play a game, and finding other ideas that get people excited about attending your party.

10. Develop company core values 

Making the values visible for the employees to read and hear every day helps each employee connect to a larger vision. We all need to believe that our work means more than just completing our tasks.

“Your personal core values define who you are, and a company’s core values ultimately define the company’s character and brand. For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.”
― Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

I suggest to my clients that they encourage their teams to come up with core values as well. What truly matters to the company is important, but team values are just as important. They will help guide daily decisions.

Help your people connect to a larger purpose. Ask them what they believe are the core values of the organization. You may be surprised by the responses.

Good Habits Build a Better Company

After implementing just one of these habits, assess how these changes affect your organization. You will probably notice that people are more engaged and willing to try a little harder.

“I think as a company, if you can get those two things right — having a clear direction on what you are trying to do and bringing in great people who can execute on the stuff — then you can do pretty well.” – Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

I know one of these ideas will help make a big impact in your company. The companies that succeed are the ones that make these ideas a regular habit. It needs to become part of the culture, so when something difficult happens there are good habits to fall back on. And when something great happens everyone can celebrate together.

* Do you want your employees be happier and encourage them to become more engaged? Then check out our Happy Employees Beta program and see how the Work Happy Now 10 step process can help your company retain it’s great people, improve their focus, and deliver a great customer experience.

9 Powerful Tips to Help You Ace Every Job Interview

Job Interview

Here’s an important point no one ever shares. You do not have to be the most qualified person applying for a job to get hired. You just have to be the person your interviewer likes for the job!

Most managers hire for personality and passion, not your skill set. A lot of skills can be learned by people who bring a positive attitude to work.

You can always become better trained on the job. It comes with experience. But no manager wants to hire a person they don’t find likable. They’re looking for someone who will be pleasant to be around and will work well with their current team as a productive member.

In the past six years, I have tripled my income by moving up and moving on to better opportunities. I’ve used these practices to ace all my job interviews, including the latest one that landed me my present, new general manager’s position.

I am happy to share my tips with you that always get me the job.

1. My best “secret” is: Pretend like your interviewer is your own real friend!

Pretend to yourself that the interviewer is a friend you’re meeting for a casual chat, like getting together over coffee or lunch.

Relax: You aren’t stiff around your friends. Hold your shoulders relaxed. Make your attitude warm and friendly. Be yourself!

Be confident: You wouldn’t be nervous and scared visiting with your own friends. You are awesome, smart, and qualified! Be confident. But not cocky. No one likes that.

When you are out with your own friends, you aren’t trying overly hard to impress them. You’re just being yourself and enjoying their company! Your interview will be more successful if your interviewer likes you than if he feels impressed by you.

You also don’t want to smell of desperation because you need the job. You don’t act like that in your friendships, right? You like your friends, you want to spend time with them. You are not desperate for those friendships. So act like you’d like to have the job, but you’ll also be fine if it doesn’t work out. You can still be glad you met the interviewer, and there are other good things that could come from your new connection with him or her.

Smile: Be warm, friendly and genuine. Smile a real smile. Like you would for a real friend. Not just when you are first introduced, but during the whole interview, at appropriate times in the conversation, not frozen throughout. Let your facial gestures naturally follow the conversation. Pleasant, serious, smiling, thoughtful. Just as if you were having a conversation with your own friend.
Repeat: That was a warm, genuine, friendly smile. NOT flirty! Never flirt in an interview! You are negotiating for your livelihood here. Don’t give anybody the impression you could possibly be anything other than a professional.

Eye contact: Don’t concentrate on the eye contact and stare too intently; that is just uncomfortable for people. Maintain the normal eye contact you would if you were sitting down with your best friend.

2. Positive Attitude

Never say anything negative about present or past employers or coworkers! You could come across as difficult or complaining. Don’t let the interviewer think you are someone who does not take responsibility for himself, but looks for someone else to pin blame for his problems.

If the real reason you left your last job was because you had an evil supervisor, or you were harassed at work, or you were passed over for a promotion you earned, don’t say so. Just say you are looking for a better opportunity to grow or to better provide for your family. Don’t try to explain anything else. It might seem like you’re making excuses.

3. Attentiveness

Don’t fidget. Keep your feet firmly on the floor and your hands loose in your lap. Sit upright in your chair. It helps if you lean slightly forward toward your interviewer, but only slightly so that he feels you are interested and alert, not like you’re trying to show off cleavage. Speaking of that:

4. Appropriate dress

Women, never dress sexy at an interview! No low cut tops, no too-short hem lengths! Keep it conservative, and keep it covered! Makeup should be kept conservative also.

All interviews are not created equal. Some companies are more conservative than others, and some jobs are more conservative than others. If your target job is artistic, creative, or tech-y, your coworkers may go to work in shorts and flip-flops. Even if that is the case, if you want to stand out at your interview, always kick it up a notch and dress better than is expected.

5. Preparation

Think ahead. Do some research about the company. Google it. Map out directions to the interview. Learn what you can so that you know about the business and its customers. How can you be an asset to the company? Make sure you have a good understanding of the business.

I checked out the website of my new employer before the interview so I was armed with pertinent information as well as suggestions for improvements that I could help implement. I also did a drive-by so I knew exactly where to go and how long it would take me to get there.

Google interview questions, and practice your answers out loud until you feel comfortable and natural. Be prepared to tell your interviewer how you can help their business succeed.

6. When asked a negative question, always spin it into a positive!

When my interviewer asked, “What do you see as your weakness?” I said, “I’m too much of a perfectionist. I expect too much of myself and always want everything I do to be perfect.” See, a positive spin. They want everything you do to be perfect. That’s how you ace interview questions!

7. What to say and what NOT to say

Don’t talk too much, and especially do not volunteer information about your personal life. Keep the conversation at a professional level.

You want them to see you as a professional, not as a husband or a mom. If you present yourself as such, they’ll imagine you allowing your wife or kids to let your work suffer.

Although my children are more important to me than my own life, I did not mention that I had a family during my interview. I didn’t want to put it on my interviewers’ minds that I could ever need to leave or miss work for their activities or illnesses.

My family is none of their business. My personal life is none of their business.

My professional life is their business.

When they ask you if you have any questions, this is your opportunity to turn the conversation to what you need to know about working there. It is NOT the time to discuss salary, unless your interviewer brings it up. That usually comes after you are offered the job.

You should, however, ask what is expected of the position. Make sure you are clear about the job responsibilities and your ability to perform them. Which brings up this point:

8. No lying about your qualifications

I’ve read lots of advice about “beefing up” your resume and “overstating your qualifications” (lying) to get a job.

Don’t do it!

You will set yourself up for failure, and you’ll probably lose the job anyway. It is not worth it. Dishonesty is never a good idea.

A supervisor who works for me recently interviewed several men for a new maintenance assistant.

One guy told him outright that he did not understand a lot of mechanical and repair work, but he would do any difficult or dirty work he was asked to do. He had good character references and a good work ethic, a likable personality, and an eagerness to work.

We appreciated his honesty. Because he was up front about his qualifications (or lack thereof!), and we liked him more than the other candidates, we hired him. We gave him our landscape guy’s job and promoted our landscape guy to maintenance. Everybody won a victory!

9. Practice for more confidence.

The more practice you have, the more comfortable you will get with the interview process. If you are someone who gets very nervous, you can practice interviewing for jobs you don’t even necessarily want, in order to prepare for the one you do. If you don’t care about the opportunity, you don’t have to feel nervous or feel rejected if you don’t get it. It’s not like you’re obligated to accept if you are offered a job, and it’ll add to your confidence if so! Interview any chance you get. You can take away something new from each experience.

You are amazing; you are smart; and you are perfect for your dream job! Go get it!

If you are in HR or a manager who interviews a lot of people then think about how you can reverse engineer these ideas. For example look at #5. Watch how well prepared they are as they answer each question. Are their answers clear and concise. Do they give details that shows their passion and creativity?

Do you have any great interview tips to share? What is your favorite advice that works?

* Deborah Shelby is a life and happiness enthusiast, voracious reader, full-time working mom of teenagers, and writer. She shares inspiration and ideas for a more positive and joyful life on her blog, Happier Better Life.

5 Ways to Make Meetings More Fun and Useful

Fun meetings

Meetings can be very powerful or big time killers. Very rarely do they fall in between.

Your focus should be improving workflow and communication through better meetings, training and technology. For example there are different kinds of collaboration software that can open communication and increase productivity without having to have a formal meeting. I use Asana and Trello with my virtual team.

Many meetings don’t need to be held if collaboration happens naturally within the flow of the workday. Meetings definitely have their place when conversations spark unique ideas that otherwise wouldn’t happen.

I know you can’t get rid of meetings, but you can make them more fun, efficient and encourage creative collaboration.

Now let’s look at how you can improve your meetings:

1. Create a detailed agenda and goals.

The person who created the meeting should also create an agenda. They should have a vision for how the meeting should go and a plan for communicating what they want to cover.

I’ve worked for companies where the agenda was a standard practice, but they often still missed out on the most crucial part. What are the goals? When you can identify a goal for each agenda item, it will help the whole team understand how they can help each other reach their goals.

2. Set a time limit.

Too often meetings have an open time associated with them. If they start at 10am and they go to lunch there is probably some wasted time in there.

By putting a time limit on the meeting, people will be more focused and will likely complete their discussions within the allotted time. This reduces the fluff and banter that can be done in the meeting.

Quick tip: try scheduling fun meetings, which are more about team building, creativity, and sharing instead of following a strict agenda. You can allow people to have fun in a meeting, just set the rules on what type of meeting you are having before it starts.

3. Gamify your meetings.

As kids we learn by playing games. Tapping into this kidlike feeling at work will help your team create bonds and help everyone feel a little happier.

For example, you can give out stickers to people who give the best ideas in response to a problem. The person with the most stickers wins a free lunch.

If you don’t want to create this type of environment during the meeting, try a game at the end of the meeting. This works well especially if your meetings are optional, because it might entice people to stick around instead of rushing off.

The game could be fun for the sake of fun (ex: what is your favorite animal and why, or what has been your favorite project in the last 6 months that you worked on and why). Everyone who participates gets thrown in a drawing for a $10 Starbucks giftcard or they get to pick where the next meeting will be held. The prizes should depend on what your employees would like to win.

The most important component of the game is to help people bond. The more you can create fun experiences that they can share with each other, the more connected they will feel toward each other.

4. Come up with a possible solution when you present a problem.

As a good leader in meetings you have to know you can’t know or do it all. Your job is to help explain the vision and let your team help you get there. So next time someone has a problem and they just throw it out there, take a pause and ask them what they think is the best option that we should take and why.

You can lead co-workers in the same way. Many times co-workers start their own mini-meeting with you. They come up to you expecting you to solve the problems because you have strong skills in this area. If you just solve their problem they’ll just come back to you again. Try to be a leader and see if they have any possible solutions that they think would work.

When meetings are done well they bring smart people together to find solutions to problems that can’t be solved by just one person. The more you can encourage everyone to pitch in ideas and solutions the more you empower them to do great work, building confidence and employee engagement.

5. Let everyone share one thing they want to celebrate.

Depending on your time limit, you can set a small amount of time for everyone to celebrate something that is going well with their team, project, or life.

We don’t celebrate as often as we should because we are an “on the go” business culture. We usually move on to the next thing instead of taking the time to appreciate what is right before us. By encouraging celebration you are giving people the stage to celebrate each other.

You can even encourage people to celebrate a team member instead of themselves. This encourages your team to share appreciation for each other, building camaraderie and affection for each other.

Your Turn

Meetings can be lousy if not run well. What “meeting improvement” tips can you share with the Work Happy Now community? I like when people add to my ideas and we give people even more options.

What have you seen work well in meetings you enjoyed?

3 Questions that will get you or your friend’s career get back on track

Career conversations

Have you ever had a conversation like this with a friend?

You say “It’s so good to see you! How are you?”

And you expect a nice conversation, but she hangs her head and responds, “I’m ok,” — as if Eeyore has taken over her body.

“What’s wrong?”

“Well…”

And now they are ready to vent. For example:

“My boss is such a jerk. Last week he kept me late and I missed a dinner with my parents. Then in front of the whole team he yelled at me for a mistake I didn’t make. It was awful. I felt like crawling underneath the table. Then…”

If you’ve ever had a conversation like this with a friend, I suggest you send them the Unlock Your Career Happiness guide. It’s a powerful guide that gives them a step by step process to take back control of their career and do work they care about.

What if you could help them make their year into something incredible?

I believe the key to building a great career is to learn how to break down goals into steps and implement them using a “When and How” technique. I explain this a little more in depth in my free Unlock Your Passions email course.

We all have to stop seeing our careers as a big mountain that we are afraid to tackle or improve on. We need to see that small steps will add up to resume improvements that can lead to more respect, money, and appreciation for our work over the course of a year.

So the next time you have thoughts about your own career or a conversation like this with a friend about their career, try asking yourself or them these questions:

1. If you could do just one thing to improve your career in the next 30 days what would it be?

Whether you ask yourself or a friend this question it’s important to get to the heart of your “why”. When you understand why you want to improve this part of your career you will find it easier to take action and follow it through to the end.

For example if you want to improve your writing skills then what could you do over the next 30 days to make this happen?

You could go to the library and take out two books on writing. You could write an article for one of your favorite blogs and send it to them to see if they will publish it. You could take a night class on writing at your local university.

Once they answer, ask them:

2. When can you schedule a block of time to start doing this one thing?

This is the first part of the “When and How” technique. Once you schedule the start of a task or project to do this week, ask yourself how you will do it.

The “How” is just as important as the “When” because when you can imagine how you will do the work then you’ll find it easier to take action, and you’ll also find are 90% more likely to finish the task.

You will break down the steps it takes to improve your writing skills over the next 30 days.

Step 1: Research best book for the type of writing you want to improve.

Step 2: Go to library to check it out or buy book.

Step 3: Schedule time to read the book every day.

Step 4: Create a plan for next month on how you can put this learning into action.

The 3rd step is where the “when” and “how” will help the most. You need to know when is the best time for you to find block of time to read the book. The “how” will help you visualize how you will actually do the task. Your how might be… I’m going to make myself a cup of tea every night at 9pm and read my book until 9:30pm. The more you can see yourself enjoying this project the easier it will be to get yourself to take action.

The next question is my favorite part out of these steps:

3. How will you make this fun and rewarding?

When you ask yourself how you will make it fun to do, you may have to be a little creative and might even need your help coming up with ideas, but follow through on coming up with a reward. You’ll be glad you did because you’ll stay focused on getting each part of the task done, which will help build stronger habits and you’ll be much more likely to see the task all the way through.

For example, I schedule my writing time in a coffee shop to write this blog post. Before I start I envision myself working at a table with the noise of people visiting and drinking coffee all around me, and I smile at how much work I’m getting done. You see how I’m applying the when and how here?

Then after I finish, I plan my 20 minute walk around the neighborhood to just relax and recharge. This reward helps keep me focused on my work so I can enjoy myself after I’m done.

Sometimes the hard part of this process is that your own fears will bubble up. Just let them go for the moment and be there for yourself and/or your friend. When you are able to keep an emotional distance you won’t let your fear hold you back.

What type of reward will help you reinforce your ability to chip away at this project every single day?

Thank you so much

thank-you-2014-590

As each year passes, the more I appreciate this quote from Steve Jobs:

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”

So soon it will be time to put 2014 to rest.

This is a very important part to making 2015 happier and more productive. When you can look back with an honest eye about what went well and what didn’t go so well in your career in 2014 then you can more easily make 2015 better.

It’s the “measure and refine” system that I emphasize that you should incorporate into your life. It’s a more conscious way of living and working. You feel more and accept more and enjoy more of your work.

As more of you have purchased my Unlock Your Career Happiness guide, the more I see that it’s helping a lot of you work happier and get better results from your career and life. I’ve talked with quite a few of you about the guide and your careers. One call was scheduled for 20 minutes and it ran over an hour because we were having so much fun!

In these discussions,  a few themes keep popping up about how I can help you work happier. Many of you want more community help and group coaching. So if either of these concepts are something that interests you, please let me know.

I hope to create either an online community with support and/or a group coaching program. The decision depends on what you would prefer.

So if you need more help working happier by utilizing your passions, improving your focus, and leveraging your strengths, I would love to hear from you. Just fill out this short 5 minute survey so I can create something that will deliver a lot of value to you.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your friends and family. I enjoy Christmas, but the true spirit for me is helping others throughout the year. I want to help you even more in 2015, so just let me know how I can and I’ll make it happen.

You are a big reason I wake up with a smile on my face. I get to serve one of the best communities in the world. Thanks for supporting and sharing the Work Happy Now movement.

In 2015, I want to double the number of people I help to enjoy their work and make a bigger impact on others. So if you know anyone who is struggling to enjoy their work, please let them know about what we are doing here by forwarding them this email or sending them a link to one of my articles that has helped you in your career.

Thanks and happy holidays,
Karl Staib of Work Happy Now

P.S. You can fill out the 5 minute survey by click here to help me understand how to support you and your career in 2015. I understand if you don’t feel like it because I’ve sent a few of these over the past few months. Whether you decide to fill out the survey or not, I still am very thankful to have you in my community.

 

How to Be a Better Gift Receiver

present-pile

I was called out by my wife, again, for being a “bad gift receiver”. She is right. I need to be more grateful.

I got mildly upset because a Christmas gift we received last year was slightly different from the one that was on the list. Same thing, just a different brand. This gift was for my son, and he loved it, yet I’m still complaining about it 12 months later!

Yes, I hang my head in shame.

Have you ever done this?

I play it off as a joke, but the reality is I looked at the gift as a hindrance instead of what it was, a gift. A gift from a place of kindness and joy.

I want each gift to be perfectly tailored, but that’s impossible. Just the idea that someone is thinking of me or my son is all that should matter.

No one should have to be worried about giving me or my family a gift because I’m such an ungrateful nerd. People should be excited to give us a gift because of how excited and thankful we all will be.

I’m working on this, and my goal now is to replace every negative thought, right after I notice it, with two positive thoughts.

The reason I’m writing this is because I was recently given a business referral from a good friend. She asked yesterday what I thought of the email referral, and I was about to write back that it was wonderful, but a little too long.

Special notice: The Unlock Your Career Happiness Guide is now available. Click here to see how the 7 step process helps my clients become happier and get better results.

Then I stopped myself. She created this referral from a place of kindness and giving, and I was about to poo poo all over it with a “but” comment.

Then I heard my wife’s voice in my head about being a bad gift receiver, and I realized I could change that. So I wrote back:

Thank you so much! It was an amazing referral. Perfect!

You know what happened?

I felt so much happier after sending a positive thank you in response. My bad habits may die hard, but I’m not going down without a fight. My hope is that I live long enough to turn into a great gift receiver!

Importance of Gratitude

Your success and happiness depends on other people helping you, and the more grateful you choose to be, the more people will want to help you.

The key is knowing where you are making a mistake and creating “bad” feelings, and replacing a bad habit with a better habit that makes you – and other people – feel happier.

My Challenge to You

Pick just one habit you would like to create or improve. What would it be?

  • Start a meditation practice.
  • Be more thankful.
  • Go to bed earlier.

Then pick one super small way to practice over and over until you create a better, happier habit.

Another example: I wanted to start a meditation practice. I knew it would benefit my health and help make me happier. I was so right. I started with a 2 minute meditation practice after I finished up my work for the night and before I would watch my favorite show. Now I’m up to 10 minutes a night and I love it.

The key here is picking a time and place. You will be 90% more likely to build a positive habit if you are specific with when and how. If you can envision how you will accomplish the task then it’s easier to see yourself actually doing it, which means you won’t procrastinate. You’ll take action. Here is a cool article from Jenny Blake about creating magnetic personal project. When you start small, with a personal project, it can turn into something bigger. You never know.

What positive habit would you like to improve or add to your life that would make you happier?

119 Things to be Thankful for

Positive Reminders

Being thankful is one of life’s greatest happiness habits you can add to your life and of course your career.

The more appreciative I become the more successful my life seems to be. It’s like the age old question of “what came first the chicken or the egg?”

When I listen to interviews like this one from Brian Clark of Copyblogger talking with Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income the more I believe gratitude matters. Just listen to the first 5 minutes and Pat can’t gushing about how blessed he feels. You can see how it spreads through his whole life.

If you are anything like me you were taught to celebrate the big wins and not the small daily joys that occur on a minute by minutes basis.

So I put myself on a mission. I wanted to silently and quickly say thank you 1,000 times a day for a week. I didn’t keep a checklist of all my gratitude because it would have halted the fun of this project. I probably hit 1,000 maybe on the last day. I probably averaged around 400 – 500 a day. If this project became a chore it would defeat the purpose, so I chose to be flexible with my goals.

Instead of forcing myself to say thank you I put reminders everywhere. In my wallet, on my night stand, on my calendar, on my cereal bowl, in my car…everywhere that could give me a friendly reminder to feel thankful for the moment.

It was a wonderful project. I feel happier and much more satisfied at the end of each day.

So I wrote 117 things I’m grateful for. I’m going to add to the list or start another one, but this is one habit I don’t want to stop doing.

One big lesson I did take away was thinking about why I was grateful for each one, it helped ground it into me. For example. I could have said I’m grateful for my breath and moved on but I wanted to think about why. And the simple answer was because it kept me alive.

My gratitude became 10x more powerful when I combined the what I was grateful for and why it mattered.

Here are my 117 things I was grateful for during my one week thankfulness project. I would love to hear what you are grateful for please add to the bottom of this post or here on this post. My goal is to create an epic gratitude list for people all over the world to enjoy.

Special notice: The Unlock Your Career Happiness Guide is now available. Click here to see how the 7 step process helps my clients become happier and get better results.
  1. My breath which keeps me alive.
  2. Wild flowers because they grow everywhere.
  3. My wife’s love which keeps me grounded.
  4. My son who shows me how his toy can make a farty noise, which cracks me up.
  5. My dog who can’t resist nestling into my neck when I’m laying on the floor.
  6. The playground that has the awesome swirly slide that my son loves.
  7. My neighbor who brought us lemon cupcakes.
  8. The moon for looking like he’s smiling at me.
  9. My ankle for healing even after over a dozen ankle sprains.
  10. My beard because some guys can’t grow one.
  11. My bed which usually gives me a wonderful night’s sleep.
  12. The rollypollies bugs that eat my dog’s poo.
  13. The stars for being so shining bright.
  14. My computer which allows me to write, reach new people and help you.
  15. My local coffee shop that makes me feel comfortable and creative.
  16. Balding guys who own it by shaving or buzzing their heads.
  17. Gifts that aren’t very good, but the person tried hard to make me happy.
  18. A little house built out of legos because it’s fun.
  19. The loud bird outside my window that encourages me to wake-up and get out of bed a little earlier than I planned.
  20. My jacket on a cold and windy day.
  21. My delicious PBJ.
  22. My laptop started up without any trouble.
  23. Listening to my favorite jazz song from John Coltrane.
  24. My Birkenstocks that I wear as slippers around my house.
  25. My dog who always wants to be near me while I’m working.
  26. My standing desk that allows me to dance while I write.
  27. My willingness to keep trying new projects that scare me.
  28. My iPhone that allows me to stay connected to my friends, clients and family.
  29. Doing a weird little dance because I got a client thanking me for my hard work.
  30. Mowing the lawn on a cool day.
  31. Laughing so hard my cheeks hurt.
  32. My favorite shirt because it feels so soft.
  33. The sun because of 1,000 reasons.
  34. Stories from my friend Matt that always makes me laugh.
  35. Riding my bike to the grocery store.
  36. The fresh baked bread at my grocery store.
  37. The deaf guy who bags my groceries and his always genuine smile.
  38. Seeing the beauty in a lizard sitting on the trip of my front door.
  39. My office that we are building in the garage so I have a dedicated place to work.
  40. The biggest and most golden turkey I’ve ever seen.
  41. Love.
  42. My old friend Sam Hafner who always sees the positive in things.
  43. The skunk who hides underneath my kids playhouse. Poor thing looks so scared. Hope it doesn’t spray my dog.
  44. The warm shower with just the right pressure.
  45. Hand lotion, keeping my hands from cracking.
  46. The playhouse that the previous owners left and my son can play in.
  47. My garden that helps me relax my stress and feeds my family.
  48. A beer while watching my favorite team play.
  49. Double rainbows because their special.
  50. Single rainbows because their fun to look at.
  51. Hawks soaring over my house.
  52. Owls hooting at night.
  53. My favorite pair of jeans that look good with everything.
  54. My favorite sneakers that I can walk all day in.
  55. NY subway for being so convenient.
  56. Wrigley field because I feel like I’m being transported back into the 1950’s.
  57. Listening to my son laugh with a friend’s kid in our backyard.
  58. Yesterday’s meditation when I felt at peace with a difficult family situation.
  59. The builder for building a wall in my garage so I have a dedicated space to work.
  60. Walking my dog and watching a hawk fly over my head.
  61. The crunch of gravel underneath my feet.
  62. My son gently pulling on my arm hairs while we read a book.
  63. Starbucks coffee to help me get started on a rough Monday morning.
  64. A local bakery that has the most amazing almond croissants ever.
  65. Bach piano music.
  66. Walking on crunchy leaves.
  67. Meditating at the end of a stressful day.
  68. Yoga at the beginning of each of my mornings.
  69. Reading a great book that inspires an amazing idea.
  70. Laughing out loud during a movie. (It’s hard to make me laugh out loud during a movie.)
  71. Sitting a sturdy table while I type on my keyboard.
  72. My car starting in the morning.
  73. A lady smiling at me as I type away on my computer.
  74. A well designed sign that is easy to understand and pretty to look at.
  75. The creativity in products that companies create to grab my attention and encourage me to buy. (Lucky to live in such a prosperous country)
  76. The cloudy weather because we don’t get it as often as where I grew up.
  77. Talking to my parents anytime I want whenever I’m feeling happy or sad.
  78. Sending a picture of my newly renovated office to my dad and hearing his delight.
  79. A white Corvette that is beautiful even though I never want to own it.
  80. Happy for a friend’s business success. (My jealousy has decreased as I get older, which I’m even more grateful for.)
  81. My red sweater that just keeps on lasting and lasting.
  82. Afternoon tea when my energy is waning.
  83. Not having afternoon tea and going for a bike ride instead because I needed a change of pace.
  84. My mind that helps teach people to be happier.
  85. The beautiful dark speckles in the brick.
  86. Tile that is easy to clean.
  87. A toilet that flushes without clogging.
  88. My box of tissues when I’m having a tough day with allergies.
  89. Long blond hair my wife has.
  90. My wife’s big belly with our baby inside.
  91. My son who likes being cold, wearing no shoes or socks on a cold day.
  92. How the keys dangle from my wife’s fingers as she waits for her drink.
  93. A comfy chair that supports my back.
  94. Almond milk because it’s delicious and I’m lactose intolerant and soy milk makes me fart.
  95. Using a pencil instead of a pen to write a quick note because it reminds me of elementary school.
  96. Listening to my dog chew on her bone and being happy about it even as I’m trying to concentrate.
  97. Standing on what foot.
  98. The red stripes on my luggage that helps it stand out from the rest of the black bags.
  99. A big deep breath when I’m stressed and feel like screaming.
  100. Walking super slow to the trash can.
  101. Walking quickly to the bathroom.
  102. Waving hi to my neighbor who is trimming his bushes.
  103. Watching a team of runners job by while I sit in my car and wait for them to pass.
  104. Recording software that allows me to record quick and high quality audio that wasn’t possible 10 years ago.
  105. A sip of cold water.
  106. Holding my son’s hand as we cross the street.
  107. Stopping to kiss my wife on top of the head because I feel like it.
  108. Building a weird Lego monster with my son.
  109. Stopping everything and just feeling my heart beat.
  110. Glad my eyes work well so I can see my computer screen.
  111. Knowing that there is so much I can improve on and happy that there is so much potential upside to my life.
  112. The plant in the corner of my office that is struggling, but stays alive some how some way.
  113. My wrist guard that keeps my wrist supported so I don’t feel any pain when I write.
  114. My socks that keep my feet warm.
  115. My receding hairline that is hanging in and doesn’t need to be shaven yet.
  116. My brain that allows me to write fun posts like this one.
  117. My lungs for working so well and allowing me to take big breaths.
  118. The oil painting of a tree on my wall.
  119. My beard that helps me think more deeply when I stroke it.

What are 5 things you are grateful for today? (Just let us know in the comment section below.

The Art of Making a Simple “To Do” Lists so You Get More Done

to-do-list-arm-590

You want to accomplish so much each week, but many times you feel behind. This feeling of not being able to keep up can get us all feeling a bit depressed. We really try hard, but we just aren’t able to keep up.

Could it be that you feel behind because your expectations are too high?

Most of my clients think they are “behind”, but it’s because they want to be in a better place with their career. This is natural. If you didn’t strive for more and better, your business/career would fail.

But learning to understand and accept where you are is an important part of the process to grow your career or business. You can’t fast forward to greater success. You and I can only use one minute at a time to get our work done. This requires focused action.

And even if/when you get to that level of success that you only dreamed about, you’ll probably want to move forward to even greater success. We humans are strivers, which means that we want to keep improving and get better results. It is at least partially responsible for making us viable as a species.

Where or When Does the Wanting Stop?

Being satisfied with your position or success is difficult, and can even feel a bit wrong.

I get it. I still struggle with enjoying where I am because I also see how much more I want to accomplish. You accomplish an amazing project like writing a book and before it’s done you are probably thinking about the next book or next project.

So the key is to understand you are only one person, and there are only so many hours in a day.  And I hope you realize that not all of your time can be spent on work and also hope to stay sane or healthy or have good relationships or prevent burnout and loss of creativity.

I’ve tackled this “problem”, and I’m going to give you a quick explanation of how I’ve created my daily “to do” list to make my life better and more productive without going crazy..

As you probably know, I’m a big fan of lists because they help me keep track of what I need to get done, and they help me stay focused on doing the important work. I use Asana to keep track of my big “to do” list, and it’s a great free app.

When I get a “task” type email from a client or I need to follow up on an opportunity, I adjust the subject line, forward it to Asana under a special email address, and it automatically populates into my task list. I use Dispatch on my iPhone to help make this easier. The mail app that came with my phone didn’t have this capability.

Main List – Monthly List

I have a list in Asana that I can reference whenever I need to know what to do next. This list is mostly the major projects that I need to get done for my clients and myself.

I write down everything that I think will move my business forward. If I want to work on a book, I’ll put this on the list. If I notice that I keep avoiding a project, I stop putting it on my to-do list, and that goes on a document that has a list of all the major projects I might eventually like to work on.

I finished the Unlock Your Career Happiness guide because of this system. I chipped away at it every single week, so I mark off tasks in Asana as I complete them. It’s so close to being done, I can see the project finish line.

If you want to, you can actually check it out and see how it can help you improve your career and happiness by clicking here. There are some cool early buyer bonuses you can grab before I remove them for good.

The Art of the Daily List

I do a daily list on a small Post-it note. I pick 1 main project to work on and 3 tasks that support that project. Each task is a part of the project that will help me make the biggest impact in my career. This is where it can get tricky. I focus on this one main project for only 3 hours. The rest of the day might be dedicated to email, fun task, calls, etc.

I only schedule this high level work for 3 hours because it’s draining. I know that I’ll need a break to celebrate my hard work. Which is usually a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood. It helps me process this block of time while recharging my internal battery. You only have so much energy in the tank for high level work that’s why it’s good to get it done earlier in the day. If you put it off the type of work that grows your career might never get done.

If your “to do” list of 3 things for the day is too broad, and one of the items might take 1.5 days to accomplish, then you aren’t creating the type of list that will make you feel happy at the end of the day because you’re setting yourself to feel like a failure.

You need to make a list of 3 tasks that you can reasonably do within 3 hours. One might take 1 hours, another 30 minutes, and the other 1.5 hours. By making your list complete-able, then you are much more likely to feel happy when you have completed them all in one day, and then be at least a little happier and possibly more productive the next day. If your list is too comprehensive and too much of a stretch you are hurting your confidence and productivity.

But, here is where it can get fun, if you follow my suggestion below.

Underneath the 3 tasks, write something about how you will celebrate when you accomplish the task. If you do, you’ll reward your hard work, supporting your ability to build good work habits while also creating some external motivation that will layer on top of your intrinsic motivation. Of course you’ll need intrinsic motivation (curiosity for what will happen after you look at your finished tasks), but a little positive external motivation can make the process a little more fun. If the task is tedious it is hard to feel curious about the outcome.

For example I had to stuff thousands of marketing bags and my intrinsic motivation was very much lacking. I tried my best to understand my why, but by creating an extrinsic motivation like going for a quick walk after stuffing 2 boxes, approximately 500 bags I would be able to go relax and call my girlfriend, friend, brother, etc. It helped me finish up my 2 boxes a little bit faster than I otherwise would have been able to do.

By creating a fun celebration after each project, you are encouraging yourself to stay focused and follow through. You will notice that when you are curious about the outcome, then sometimes you might not even need to reward yourself afterwards. The natural reward of completing the task will be an adequate reward in and of itself.

Your Turn

How do you encourage yourself to stay productive at work?  Do you make simple lists, or do you have an even better technique for getting things done and feeling happy?

5 Games for Your Brain to Make Your Work More Fun

glass-chess-pieces-modern-590

Your career success is based on how much fun you have in your work. Look at the projects that you are most proud of. Most likely you enjoyed the work itself as well as the results.

You were able to find the best mindset for the tasks you needed to do in order to complete your project. And you had an emotional connection to your work.

It’s this connection that needs to happen naturally or you need to manufacture in order to maximize your career success.

I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a project I call Unlock Your Career Happiness. I want to help you bring more energy to your work so you can improve your results and level up your career.

I recently hit a wall, and I feel the fear rising as I get closer to putting something out there for people to see and use and therefore judge.  I remembered an article that I read over at nerd fitness about gamifying my life.

Why Games Work

As a kid, you probably loved games. You felt the rush of joy as you were close to winning. There is something engaging about taking on a challenge that we are not quite sure we can reach.

Creating this feeling in your career to boost your motivation and productivity is a time-honored technique that more people should use.

I use games to encourage and motivate myself to take action. Here are 5 of my favorite games:

Ready to bring more passion to your career? Check out the new guide I’m putting together for you to help unlock your career happiness.

1. The Time Crunch Game

You understand the importance of time. It’s a finite resource that will run out at some point in our lives. It’s why the Time Crunch game is one of my favorites. It improves focus and productivity.

Next time you have a project to do and you are procrastinating, bring out a timer, set it for 20 minutes, and focus on your work until the timer goes off.

You know how hard it is just to get started sometimes. We hold on to all this emotional baggage which holds us back from taking action. This game sets your mind on focusing on the task at hand and there will be many times that you just keep working, but that’s the point. Sometimes the hardest part is starting something.

2. The Movie Game

There are times that you will look at a task and feel the torture before it starts.

We all have tasks we can’t stand no matter if we are at the bottom or top of the career totem pole. The key to being a top performer is treating each task as if it’s important to your career. This is easy to say, but hard to do all the time.

I had to stuff 2,500 marketing bags for a huge conference for a company that I used to work for. I stuffed them with our newsletter, pens, little flashlights and postcards. I couldn’t even tell you the total amount of time it took to stuff all those bags.

The only way I got through it was by playing mental games. One of my favorite Movie games was pretending to be Bruce Lee as I stuffed each bag. Each movement was precise and perfectly calculated. It forced me to be in the moment instead of worrying how many more bags I had to stuff.

3. The “Acting” Game

There are times we all feel a little inferior as I try to complete the task at hand. Heck, we can’t be good at everything.

Focus is a big problem of mine, which I know is a difficulty for many of you as well. Instead of beating myself up and letting my arch nemesis dictate how I feel, I play the “acting” game instead.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I pretend I’m Bill Gates. I’ve read stories of how expansive and quick his mind is. He is able to process and act on information faster than most people.

I adjust my glasses if I have them on, I hunch over just a little and I start to think of myself as Bill Gates. Then I get back to the task and it comes much easier to me. I eventually fall out of character within 10-15 minutes, but now I’m back on track and I’m much more productive.

4. The Internal Challenge Game

Every game needs to keep score — how many enemies you’ve killed to how many coins you’ve been able to collect. Every time you play, you are measuring yourself against previous tries.

When I feel stuck while trying to write an article, I time myself to see how fast I can get to 100 words. I used to keep a record of how fast I could get to 100. Now I just use this game to spark my motivation and I’m off and running and reaching 1,000 words before I know it.

Next time you are stuck, try setting small little attainable goals that you can measure. Then keep track of how you improve from previous efforts.

5. The Freeze Time Game

You’ve probably wished you could freeze time. I know I have. How cool would it be to be able to freeze time, try something new that might not work, and if it doesn’t work you can just unfreeze time and continue with the original action you were working on?

This game is wonderful for finding a better mindset for doing a tedious or difficult task.

For example, you are about to finish up a report and send it to your boss. As you look it over, you see a way you could improve the report. You could create two graphs to back up your ideas. You already feel stressed about the report and feel you have spent too much time on it. You aren’t sure if the graphs will help. You then remember you have the ability to freeze time.

Lucky you.

You freeze time and create the graphs. If you create the graphs and they don’t help, then no big deal. You didn’t lose any time. You unfreeze time and send off the report.

Too often we get caught up in trying to make perfect use of our time, which we all know isn’t possible. So this game gives us the attitude that we don’t need to be perfect in our execution, and helps us make sure that we deliver the best possible results.

Your Turn

Which game do you or would you use at work to improve your happiness and productivity?

If you aren’t ready for the whole guide you can take the starter email course to help you bring more passion to your career.

Like Us On Facebook