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Stop living for the weekend by making Monday to Friday work for YOU. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Ways To Make Work Not Suck."
For this list, we’re looking at some of best the tricks, tips, and strategies you can employ to make your workday a more enjoyable one. For simplicity’s sake (and because it tends to be among the most painfully boring of environments to work in), we’re focusing on office type jobs. That being said, many of these suggestions will be universally applicable or easy to adapt to your place of work.
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#10: Make Your Commute to Work Memorable
Ah… the dreaded commute. Whether you subject yourself to the cacophony of horns that is morning traffic, or rub elbows—and... everything else—with your fellow commuter on an overcrowded public transit system, chances are, your route to work is fraught with unpleasantness, if not day-ruining misery. Well, it’s time to take back the morning. You’re not getting paid until you get to work, so until you arrive, that time is your own—enjoy it. An upbeat morning playlist is a great way to drown out the negativity. Alternatively, a good book, or audiobook if you're driving, can actually transform the journey to and from work into something you genuinely look forward to.
#9: Go for a Walk During Lunch
Replacing the morning drive or bus trip to work with a healthy walk or bike ride is a bit of stretch for most people, but lunchtime is a great opportunity to squeeze in a quick dose of fresh air and exercise. Depending on how long you get for lunch and the location of your workplace, you could potentially hit a nearby gym. But for many, that’s too big of a time commitment, and perhaps… an uncomfortably sweaty goal. Everyone can squeeze in a quick walk around the block though. Get up, get away from work, and breathe some fresh air. Even a short walk will go a long way in improving your afternoon mood, and has proven health benefits.
#8: Decorate Your Space
Whether you’ve got a corner office, a cubicle or a shared desk, it’s important to make that space your own. Sure… you could do it by setting up a defensive pencil-based border against aggressive co-workers, but it’s probably more practical to focus on improving the space rather than militarizing. Bring photos of friends and family, posters, knick-knacks, totems or toys if that’s your thing. You can also go holiday or season-specific. It’s all about striking a balance between fun and functionality. Make it a comfortable space for you and any office neighbors you might have, by making it a personalized, yet professional space. Embrace your inner “office interior designer”!
If you’re going to decorate your workspace, a plant is a must-have. Bringing a bit of natural greenery into a workspace is a great way to bridge the gap with the outside world. From a psychological perspective, plants have a calming effect. If you’re close to a window, the sky’s the limit, but if not, there are still plenty of low-light plants that are easy to care for, such as English Ivy, various ferns, Jade, Spider, and ZZ plants. English Ivy is a particularly good choice, that, according to NASA, is one of the best air-filtering houseplants out there. So why not embrace the ivy and kill three birds with one plant? Decorate your space, brighten your mood, and help improve that stuffy office air.
The average person is already drinking plenty of coffee at work. So much so, that coffee has become a joyless necessity or daily staple rather than a source of comfort for many. But throughout your workday, you should be looking to treat yourself in as many little ways as possible, and that boring old cup of Joe is an opportunity wasted. Rediscover your love of coffee by spicing up the relationship. Bring in flavored coffee creamers to jazz up the default office brew, or go find yourself the world’s most memorable mug. If you can afford the desk space, you could even invest in a small personal coffee maker and start brewing your own high quality stuff.
#5: Listen to Music
Studies have shown it may hurt productivity… but just how productive are you on a given day anyway? Music is a great way to help you manage your mood. Feeling tired? Play something upbeat. Feeling stressed? Play something soothing. With streaming services you can create your own curated playlists, so why not create emergency mood-specific ones to complement or counteract any emotion you’re likely to encounter throughout your day? If you’re really ambitious—or bored—challenge yourself to develop a PERFECT playlist that can carry you through an entire workday. If you find lyrics distracting, there’s a whole wide world of instrumental music waiting to be discovered.
#4: Plan Outings with Your Co-Workers
Work is more tolerable when you get along well with your co-workers… but your place of business isn’t always the best environment to foster relationships. There’s obviously something to be said for maintaining a certain sense of professionalism, but going out with co-workers for a quick drink or activity after hours can be a great way to lay the foundation of genuine bonds between you and your office mates. A general sense of camaraderie can really transform the atmosphere of any space. Your employer might organize the odd happy hour or work-related outing, but that can feel overly formal. Try inviting a few cubicle neighbors out for coffee—you may just make a new friend.
#3: Make the Most of Vacation Time
If you’re burnt out, you’re likely to resent the place where you spend most of your time—work. In Europe, they know just how crucial time away from the office is to performance within it. Brits can have up to 28 paid vacation days, 25 for their French peers (though it’s 30 according to some sources), and around 20 for Italians and Germans, while Americans are guaranteed exactly zero (and left up to employers to decide). Don't let a vacation day go to waste, your sanity may well depend on it. Planning your next vacation during your break while at work can be a great, positive way to let your mind wander. It gives you something to look forward to when work is getting you down, and sure beats absent-mindedly browsing Facebook.
#2: Plan Fun Games / Activities with Your Co-Workers
Whether or not you’ve made friends at work, there are plenty of social ways to add a little excitement to your workday. Join the company softball team, fantasy sports league, weekly lottery, lunchtime walking or yoga group. If they don’t exist yet… start them. You could even bring an old video game console for the break room. The more you invest into creating a positive environment that welcomes reasonable fun, the more you’ll get out of it. Getting involved in planning work parties, events, or potlucks is another great way to mix work and pleasure, both during the planning stage and when the events actually take place.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Pull Small Harmless Pranks
- Bring Cozy Apparel
#1: Eat a Good Breakfast
Your mother likely touted the importance of a good breakfast for most of your childhood. But did you listen? Probably not. According to studies, 93% of Americans believe that breakfast is the most important meal, but only 44% of them actually eat it every day. Protein bar and energy drinks are poor substitutes for the real thing. As important as sleep is… you’ll find that getting up a little earlier to have a healthy breakfast will do you a lot more good than that extra 15 to 20 minutes of sleep. Why not go the extra mile and pack yourself a badass healthy lunch to look forward to? Ensuring that your body is properly fueled is key to avoiding that afternoon slump.