Originally published on deliveringhappiness.com, where I blog about company culture and personal happiness.
In an ideal world, every one of us would be working a job we found gratifying and inspiring, and that we could be happy to go to every day. I know that for me, I’m on a journey that’s leading me in that direction, and every day it seems to be a little bit closer.
Interestingly, that journey hasn’t just been about big changes and major choices. I’ve found that a few very simple additions to my daily routines have changed my perspectives and made me happier all on their own. I want to share my 7 steps with you today.
1. Start your day with a glass of water
I’ll be the first person to admit… I RUN for my morning coffee every day. (Or, I would run, if I could, but since I’ve not had my coffee yet at that point, I can’t.) While your coffee maker is gurgling away, take a moment and drink a glass of water. It gets you started toward proper hydration (something many of us struggle with) and it will make you feel awake and refreshed! For a little extra zip, add a slice of citrus or even cucumber.
2. Be grateful
While you’re drinking that glass of water, take a moment to think about the day ahead of you, and allow yourself to feel gratitude about something about something the day will bring. Being grateful will allow you to set your perspective for the day early, and help you stay happier throughout the day.
3. Organize your top three tasks
Now, I’m not quite crazy enough to expect anyone has a to do list of only three items, but I challenge you to start your day by determining the top three things you feel are most important to complete. The benefits of this are twofold: First, you’ll find you’ve very simply prioritized your day, and can immediately focus your attention into these “must do’s.” Second, by only plotting three must do tasks, you set yourself up for a winning day. You’ll feel a sense of happiness and accomplishment when you cross off all three. (Pro tip: To do lists work better with verbs! Make sure everything on your list reads as an action item, and clearly delineates what needs done, by starting each item with a verb, like I’ve done with this list.)
4. Follow the 50/10 rule
This one is targeted to us desk jockeys. Set a time for :50 of every hour, and force yourself to stand up and do something physical for 10 minutes. This can take any number of forms:
- take a bathroom break
- walk a lap around the office
- take the dog out, if you work from home
- replenish yourself with another of those glasses of water that none of us are drinking enough of!
Your 10 minute break will refresh your energy and get your blood flowing, and having a set 50 minute block to focus on a task will heighten your internal focus.
5. Keep learning
Set aside some time (even 15 minutes) every day to expand your intellectual horizons. Sign up for an “at your own pace” course on Skillshare or Coursera, read a book that’s outside your comfort zone, or take advantage of an app like Pocket to save resources shared socially for reading later.
6. Tidy your workspace
Whether desk or drafting table, take a few minutes at the close of each workday to tidy the implements of your efforts. The same way that climbing into clean sheets always puts a smile on your face (mine, anyway!), sitting down at a clean desk each morning will help you feel organized and ready to hit the ground running.
7. Be grateful
Now, before you say it, yes, this one is a repeat, but for a purpose! I want you to do it again to close out your day. This time, take another moment and reflect, and this time find something unexpected that happened during the day for which you can be thankful. For me it’s often as simple as scoring a seat rather than having to stand on my train ride home, or coming away from a meeting inspired and raring to go. Taking the time to reflect on these moments of happiness and be grateful can really help you shift your current perspectives, and live your life in a happier place.