Box of Crayons Blog


How to Get More Joy (and Better Results) Out of Your Daily Work

This is a guest post by Henrik Edberg who writes the excellent Positivity Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @positivityblog

Getting more enjoyment out of work is something I think just about everyone wants. But how do you do it? How do you not get lost in endless thinking, busy work and mediocre performance?

I have found a few things that really help me. Perhaps they can help you too or at least be a few helpful reminders today.

1. Set the context for your day

What you do early in the day often sets the context for your day. We have a tendency to want to be consistent with what we have done before. You can use that to your advantage in few ways.

Do the most difficult thing on your to-do list first. Ten years ago when I used to sell computers a boss told us that if we started the day that way the rest of the day would be a lot easier. He was right. When that task that you feel is difficult is done you’ll feel good about yourself and you’ll have less inner resistance to get the rest of the tasks of the day done.

Start your day by acting social (even if you don’t feel like it). This tends to make a normal day a lot more fun and positive than if you if you start out by being closed off and feeling guarded.

2. Be here now

When your focus is split you tend to become stressed and work becomes a burden. If you on the other hand stay in the present moment while working and focus on just what is in front of you then you feel more relaxed. You feel in control. And work simply becomes more enjoyable.

One way to stay connected with this focused headspace is to single task instead multitasking. Another way is to use various exercises to reconnect with the present moment when that connection is lost.

I do that by redirecting my full focus to what is in front of me. I don’t think about errands I have to run later or what someone told me yesterday. I just watch and listen and take in what is with me right here, right now.

I can also reconnect with the present by focusing on just my breathing for a minute or two. This is also a good exercise to do at the end of the day to relax and to let go of your work as you are about to return home.

3. Ask better questions

You can ask questions that make you feel more like a victim. You can ask questions that reinforce negativity and pessimism in your life. Or you can ask empowering questions. Questions that will help you out. A few of my favourite questions are:

What is the most important thing that I can do right now? This one is great when I get lost in busy work or don’t know where to start.

Who cares? This one helps me to lighten up, to not take every little thing so seriously. It is a way to be more open and relaxed with yourself and the people around you. It’s simply a way to be cool about life.

Is there anyone on the planet having it worse than me right now? When I am stuck in focusing on the negatives, when I feel like a victim and that things are against me I ask myself this question. The answer may not result in positive thoughts, but it can sure snap you of a somewhat childish “poor, poor me…” attitude pretty quickly. I understand that I have much to be grateful for in my life. This question changes my perspective from a narrow, self-centred one into a much wider one. It helps me to lighten up about my situation. After I have changed my perspective I usually ask another question like…

What is the hidden opportunity within this situation? This one is very helpful to keep your focus on how to solve a problem or get something good out a current situation. Rather than asking yourself “why?” over and over and thereby focusing on the negatives and making yourself feel worse and worse.

henke_frontpage3Henrik Edberg writes improving your social life, health, happiness and general awesomeness at If you like, you can download his new and free 45 page ebook The 7 Timeless Habits of Happiness.

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