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Friday, February 24, 2012

High Five! Ways to Make Your Work-Life More Enjoyable

Nineteenth-century humorist Josh Billings famously said, "Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds a man down or polishes him up depends on the stuff he's made of." Here are five tips to help you make sure life's polishing you into a beautiful gem:

Slow down. Yes, we're all busy, and we all have deadlines we need to meet. But trying to go 100 miles per hour in 20 different directions simultaneously will only get you nowhere that much faster. Take some time each day to step away from the grind, unwind, and slow down. Go for a walk. Spend time by yourself. Buy a coworker lunch or a cup of coffee. Or just relax, recharge, and reconnect with the world around you. You'll return more focused and better able to handle the day.

Show appreciation. As human beings, we all appreciate feeling, well, appreciated. Make sure you thank those around you for the things they do to help and encourage you. Let your coworkers know how much their time, talents, encouragement, and support mean to you every day.

Offer positive reinforcement. This may sound like showing appreciation, but it's a little different. With appreciation, you're thanking someone for something they've done for you. With positive reinforcement, there's no expectation that the other person has done or will do anything for you. You're showing them encouragement with no strings attached. For example, when you see a coworker making strides in an area of concern or taking on new challenges, give them a pat on the back and hearty congratulations. Similarly, if you see someone struggling, offer support and guidance if you can.

Counter negativity with positive words and praise. Negativity is a highly contagious workplace disease. Don't let it spread to you. Avoid overly negative office chat. Focus instead on building people up by being a positive voice for and influence on those around you.

Find creative ways to use your strengths. We all have things we need to do at work, and it's important to accomplish those tasks. But, whenever possible, try to carve out some time to work on projects that showcase your talents and put your strengths to maximum use. If such projects are hard to find, create your own, and present them to your manager or boss. Make sure to include valid reasons you think your projects will benefit the company. If your ideas get shot down, don't give up. Come up with a better plan, and keep trying. Your initiative, determination, and positive attitude will not go unnoticed.

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