Chances are, you spend more time working than doing any other activity, whether it's sleeping, eating or spending time with family or friends. So, considering the bulk of your life is on the clock, ideally you're not miserable at work. If you are, you need to make a change. Not necessarily a new job--a few simple tweaks to your daily habits and behaviors can markedly affect your career satisfaction.
Try these proven tactics which can help you be happier at work.
Surround yourself with plants.
It sounds silly, but some greenery in your space can improve your quality of life. Researchers in The Netherlands and the U.K. found office plants improved workers' perceptions of air quality, concentration, workplace satisfaction and productivity. There's just something about the calming influence of nature, even if it's just a little bit in a pot on your desk.
Get rid of your second screen.
Most people who employ two or more screens at work use one of them to constantly monitor every email landing in their inboxes. Yes, this keeps you constantly in the know about who's trying to communicate with you, but it's also terribly distracting. In fact, earlier this year New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo reverted back to one screen and found it to his liking. "At first, the smaller workspace felt punishingly cramped. But after a few days of adjusting to the new setup, an unusual serenity invaded my normally harried workday," he writes. "With a single screen that couldn't accommodate too many simultaneous stimuli, a screen just large enough for a single word processor or browser window, I found something increasingly elusive in our multiscreen world: focus."
Cultivate a work friendship.
According to psychologist Ron Friedman, researchers have found that friends who work together outperform mere acquaintances collaborating on the job. It makes sense--friends communicate better and encourage each other more than non-friends. They're also honest and more forthright with their feedback. Plus, Dr. Sanjay Gupta points out that about 20 percent of Americans suffer from chronic loneliness, a condition that can make you sick and may increase your chance of death by 45 percent.
Take more chances.
Risk-takers tend to be more successful than those who like to play it safe. Just look at this year's Inc. 500 CEOs--the remarkable individuals at the helm of America's fastest growing companies. "The group's top-ranked talent is risk-taking--which will surprise nobody. After all, without risk there is no business," writes Leigh Buchanan, editor-at-large for Inc. Magazine. "To launch their companies, these entrepreneurs were willing to sacrifice everything, from parents' retirement funds to cushy executive perches. The Inc. 500 is packed with risk-takers walking away from six-figure salaries and taking on debt--often with young families in tow to sharpen the edge."
Perfectionists--some of the most conscientious people on the job--can have a hard time with this one. But giving yourself permission to make mistakes can bring you a sense of peace that can be life-changing. "Forgiveness releases us from fear-based thoughts and emotions," writes Erin Dougherty for the blog Tiny Buddha. "It is the gateway to surrendering our perception of control over our lives and over the actions of others."