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7 Ways To Have a Happier Workday, Guaranteed.

July 18 2017  •  Lifestyle

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If you’re like me – someone who strives for the double-whammy of perfectionism and productivity – feeling frazzled can only go on for so long before the inevitable happens. I’ll usually snap at someone I love, go through the motions without really enjoying the present moment, and feel bad in my body from eating whatever I can grab to stave off those inconvenient hunger pangs.

Thankfully, with a few small shifts in your mindset and environment, you can prepare yourself for a happier workday without uprooting how, when, or where you work (whether you work from home or have a 9-5)!

Here are a few of my favorite tips:

1. Get up and get moving. 

Your morning coffee may get you up and running, but how about running…you know, for real? Start your workday with a brisk jog, walk, or stretch session. It doesn’t have to be a full workout or calorie-burner, but rather a quick jolt of activity to give you some energy. There’s just something about waking up before the rest of the world, easing into your day, and showing your body some love through intentional movement that puts you in a more positive mindset for the day ahead.

Your morning coffee may get you up and running, but how about running…you know, for real? Start your workday with a brisk jog, walk, or stretch session. It doesn’t have to be a full workout or calorie-burner, but rather a quick jolt of activity to give you some energy. There’s just something about waking up before the rest of the world, easing into your day, and showing your body some love through intentional movement that puts you in a more positive mindset for the day ahead.

2. Avoid burning out by switching up your view.

The daily view you look at each day could be contributing to the drudgery you feel. Change it up! If you work in an office, take your laptop or tablet into a break room or conference room for a change of pace. If you’re doing something that requires deep thought, escape to a private area where you won’t be disturbed. On the other hand, if your tasks require mental stimulation with a side of socializing, move your workspace to a lounge or lobby area to take advantage of the workday bustle.

If you happen to be your own boss, be sure to keep your workspace tidy by deep cleaning your desk, organizing your space differently, or investing in a standing desk to keep you feeling aligned. Your new “view” doesn’t have to be a view at all – anything that feels new and novel will trick your brain into making your work feel the same way.

3. Keep healthy eats within reach.

That bowl of M&M’s that lives dangerously close to your elbow is a recipe for afternoon sugar crashes, weight gain, and trouble focusing. Try replacing your “afternoon slump snacks” with something more healthy and wholesome, like KIND bars, dried apricots, or trail mix. You’ll have all the natural energy you need to power past 5 P.M., without throwing your blood sugar out of whack.

4. Stop and celebrate the wins.

Perfectionism…it takes one to know one. In the past, whenever I’d finish a big project, presentation, or report, I’d send it off or hit ‘save’ and simply move onto the next task without stopping to give myself proper praise. Next time you finish an important to-do, treat yourself to something small and meaningful: a lunch break latte, a post-work pedicure, or a big bouquet of flowers for your desk. Need a few more ideas for how to treat yourself? Check out this list from the smart folks at Fast Company.  

5. Prepare to succeed.

I know from looking at my own Instagram feed, social media can be planning porn. There are so many different kinds of daily planners, calendars, apps, and productivity tools out there – it can be sensory overload for all of us Type-A’s. While taking the time out to add to-do’s to your planning product of choice is a great first step, it’s how you arrange them and get through them that quantifies whether they’re effective or not. Instead of feeling the burn to push through 20+ tasks in an afternoon, realistically determine the amount of time it takes to complete said task and the amount of time you have over the day or week to get it done. Narrowing your list down to 3-5 “must-do’s” not only means you’ve got your priorities set for the day ahead, but crossing them off by the end of the workday is such a rewarding feeling that you’ll be more apt to come back and do it all over again tomorrow.

6. Avoid urgent emails and messages before 10 A.M.

Speaking of priorities, nothing kills them faster than urgent messages that require immediate attention. Since your inbox is likely a hotbed of all-caps subject lines and fires to put out, see if you can get in an hour of focused time and attention as soon as you get to work. The first hour of your day represents a choice between intentional and reactionary work – and they both set the tone for how you work throughout the rest of the day. If no one’s life is in danger, try exercising your right to reply after your first real hour on the job.

7. Load up on breakfast.

If you don’t take any other pieces of advice on this list (you should, though - just saying!), then take this one. Breakfast is the fuel you need for the mental and physical stamina that gets you through your afternoon. Healthy proteins and carbs give off a slow burn of sustained energy, allowing you to perform at your peak for hours before it’s even lunchtime. Opting for breakfast has its benefits beyond getting a bite to eat in your stomach – those who have breakfast also ward off diabetes, obesity, the common cold, and even cognitive disfunction.

But it’s not just eating in the morning that matters; it’s what you’re eating that makes all the difference. Sugary cereal or supposedly healthy snack bars lack the nutrition that overnight oats, eggs and avocado toast, or yogurt and granola provide. If you’re short on time, there are tons of ideas on Pinterest for inspiration, like these savory egg muffin cups or make-ahead baked oatmeal squares. A little preparation tonight equals a healthier, happier, and less ‘hangrier’ you tomorrow.

So there it is, all my tips for a better work day! Give me a shoutout on Instagram or Facebook if you give any of these a try this week, and as always, share your own ideas with our community using the hashtag #liveimperfectly. We want to hear them!

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Hi! It's been awhile and I'm due for a Friday introduction! I'm Drew Elizabeth. My hubs and I just moved into our first home in the Chicago burbs. Most days you can find me curled up on the couch with our 3 dogs, my laptop and an iced decaf almond milk latte.
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