How to Transform Your Workday in 10 Days
Unhappy at your job? You’re not alone.
According to a recent study by the Conference Board, 50% of U.S. workers report some level of dissatisfaction with their jobs. And while this number has been rising slightly over the past few years that still leaves half of American workers unhappy with their work.
It’s no secret that job dissatisfaction can lead to health implications, but new research has shown job dissatisfaction in our 20’s and 30’s can take a toll on our overall health by the time we’re in our early 40’s. For many of you, that means your bodies are already feeling the effects. And for the rest of us, our forties aren’t as far away as they once seemed.
How to Increase Job Satisfaction
Not everyone wants or is ready to leave their jobs which is why I’m arguing that the first step to increasing your job satisfaction is to make sure you’re making the most out of your workday.
I’ve put together a simple 10-day plan that, if you follow closely, by the end of the 10 days you should be feeling happier at work. I’m a firm believer that to make lifestyle changes that last, it’s best to add one new thing at a time versus going all in right away. So, each day builds upon the previous day, and by the end of the tenth day, you should be doing everything on this list.
The 10 Day Workday Transformation
Get your sleep.
I get it. After a long day at work and the kids are in bed, nothing sounds more appealing than jumping into Netflix and binge-watching Orange is the New Black until midnight. But nothing is going to start your workday out better than a good night’s sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend adults get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Figure out what time that means you need to go to bed at and turn off the Netflix.
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet one third of adults still skip it. Skipping breakfast has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol. More recently, skipping breakfast has even been linked to atherosclerosis, or the hardening and narrowing of arteries due to plaque build-up. Plus, in addition to avoiding a laundry list of health problems, eating breakfast is also going to provide fuel for your brain, allowing you to have a more productive day at work.
Tip: If you find it difficult to fit breakfast into your morning routine, try packing it in your lunch and eating it at your desk at work.
Make sure your water bottle is filled all day.
Hydration has a major effect on energy levels and brain function. Even mild dehydration can affect cognitive functions such as concentration, concept learning, critical thinking and memory. The general rule of thumb is to drink eight glasses of water a day. However, the recommended daily fluid intake is actually about 15.5 cups for men and 11.5 cups for women. This covers fluids from water, other beverages and food. It’s also important to remember to adjust your fluid intake based on exercise and your environment.
Fair warning: As you increase your water intake, you will be increasing your trips to the restroom… by a lot. However, as your body adjusts it will get better.
Audit your workday.
Recently, Founder and CEO of VIP Crowd, Mark Wilson, challenged everyone to audit their time by documenting activities each hour of the day. That means if between the hours of 9-10am, you spent 10 minutes responding to emails and 50 minutes on YouTube, you write that down. Documenting your day is like having an honest conversation with yourself about how productive your workdays actually are.
Tip: RescueTime is a chrome extension that tracks and measures how you spend your time online. Upgrade to the premium version and you can even track how time is spent offline, receive alerts and even block websites. Here’s a look at my productivity this morning based solely on my online behavior. (I didn’t track yesterday so that is why my comparison numbers look strange.)
No matter how good your memory is, making lists at work is a must. Studies have shown that people get distracted by things they have to do, but having a plan for completing tasks relieves anxiety. Creating lists doesn’t just help you remember and stay focused on your work, it also helps you prioritize what needs to be done.
Come prepared to meetings.
Middle management spends about 35% of their time in meetings. And upper management? Crank that up to 50%. Meetings are often unavoidable, and I haven’t met too many people that like them. However, I think we all would agree that productive meetings aren’t so bad.
Make your meetings less of a waste of time and more productive by preparing for every meeting you have. For some meetings that means a quick five minutes where others will require more time. Just remember, the more prepared you are, the more productive the meeting will be, and the happier you will be.
Tip: Make sure you get a clear agenda from the person who schedules the meeting. This will ensure you prepare appropriately.
Beware of the productivity killers.
Feeling productive at work makes us feel good. Here are the things killing your productivity at work. You don’t need to avoid them completely, but be aware of their effect on your productivity. If you’re working on an important project, turn the cellphone off and close your email. If something is urgent, people will find you.
Just as important as working on the job is not working on the job. Studies have found that employees who take breaks have higher job satisfaction and reduced emotional exhaustion. Short, frequent breaks are said to be the most effective. Take a quick walk, check Instagram or fill up your water… Whatever you need to do to re-energize and refocus.
Make a work friend.
Research shows that employees are happier at their jobs when they have friendships with co-workers. Employees who have friends at work perceive their jobs as more fun, satisfying and worthwhile. Furthermore, friendships give employees a common sense of purpose and a “we’re in it together” frame of mind. Of course, there can be some downsides such as jealousy, groupthink and gossiping. However, the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages – which are seen as relatively manageable.
Bring new ideas to the table at least once a week.
The employees that often find the most success are the ones who take initiative, follow through and offer up new ideas. It’s easy to get caught in the daily grind at work. Do your job, and do it well. But carve out some time each week to see what’s going on in the industry – attend a webinar or learn about a new product that could grow your business. Share new ideas with your team regularly. Your initiative will be appreciated.
Tip: Block off 20 minutes on your calendar each week to look into new solutions for your business.
Review Your 10 Day Progress
Hopefully, you’re feeling greater satisfaction at your job. If you followed each of these steps then you are a healthier, more organized and productive employee.
Now, the key is to keep up the new habits!