12 Little Steps That Lead You to Your Happy Place
Research shows that happier people are more successful people. That's reason enough to make a point of being happy at work. But wait--there's more! Happy people have more successful relationships, better mental health, and live longer lives. Not bad for an emotion that you yourself have control over. Give these 12 little steps to happiness a try and see where they lead you--and your business.
1. Take time for yourself in the morning without technology
With alarms being on iPhones, this is a little impossible, but try putting your phone away after you turn off your alarm. Eat breakfast without checking your email. Enjoy a cup of coffee without checking voicemails. Giving yourself technology-free time in the morning, even if it's only 30 minutes, starts your day on a peaceful note.
2. Get outside more often
The sun really can do miraculous things for your outlook, and a little bit goes a long way here. Soak up a little vitamin D during your lunch break or sit outside and enjoy nature after work. If your workday makes these breaks impossible, plan to spend the weekend doing something outdoors.
3. Be present
It's hard for people to stay present in this day and age, with Facebook and email on our phones. Try to focus on one thing at a time, whether it be a conversation or a project. This magnified focus will clear your head of unnecessary clutter and lead to your time being more productive.
4. Be active
Every person has a different level of physical ability, so what is active to one may not be beneficial to another. Do what is right for you, and stick to realistic goals at first. Activity boosts endorphins, which have a direct link to happiness.
5. Meditate or participate in mind-healing activities
Putting aside a little time each day to be quiet with your thoughts really does wonders for your emotional state, as quiet is so hard to come by in our busy lives.
6. Keep in touch with friends and relatives
Call that family member you've been meaning to call. Email a friend who lives in a different state. Make plans with someone you've been meaning to get together with. Keeping these relationships strong is an important and highly overlooked aspect of life.
7. Keep a to-do list but don't let it rule your life by making it unachievable
Put four or five things on your to-do list, in order of importance, and strive to complete them that day. Then, put the items that you didn't get around to as the most important for the next day.
8. Read...and write
Take time to read books for pleasure, not just for work, and while you're at it, do some writing, too. Even if your writing is a simple review of how your day went and how you want the next to go, write a little bit every day. Keep a journal by your bed or at your desk and take a little time each day to write. Getting things out of your head and onto paper makes them more feasible.
9. Take time for fun
After a long day at work, it's easy to come up with excuses for skipping out on events that would have otherwise sounded enjoyable to you. Make a commitment to do something fun each week and stick to it-- looking forward to something is a great motivator.
10. Go to bed at a reasonable hour
The number of hours each person needs to feel his or her best varies, but try to get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Turning off electronics (including the TV in your bedroom!) an hour or so before bed will make this transition easier.
11. Stay organized
Spend about 15 minutes each day organizing a different area of your work. If you can't seem to find time to get organized, get to work 15 minutes early or stay 15 minutes late. You can find the time to get--and stay--organized.
12. Set a time to stop working, and stick to it
If your calendar says that you don't have any work scheduled on the weekend, then don't work on the weekend. It may be hard at first to leave work unfinished, but clearly separating your work time from your personal time is an important key to having a more rewarding life.
Remember, happiness leads to success, so take time out of your busy day to be happy.
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While Peter Economy has spent the better part of two decades of his life slugging it out mano a mano in the management trenches, he is also the best-selling author of Managing for Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 75 other books, with total sales in excess of two million copies. He has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years, where he has worked on projects with the likes of Jim Collins, Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and many other top management and leadership thinkers. Sign up here to always stay up to date with Peter's latest Inc.com columns, and visit him anytime at petereconomy.com.