If you are putting in long hours and devoting much of your time at work, you should at least take a moment to figure out how to be happier while doing it. More Americans spend time working than any other single activity. Did you know that it is estimated that 60% – 80% of Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs? Think about that. These statistics show us that many people have basically settled for a life of misery for the sake of “survival”. There are far more people that are happy about having a job than they are about what they do on the job. In these cases, the measure of happiness is set far too low. Well, work is a primary part of life’s survival plan, but working long hours doing something you do not like should not be a factor in that plan. There are two primary tips to be happier at work particularly when you are working long hours.
Yes, I prefer that people would balance work with other areas of their lives, and the latest Work Happiness Report may surprise you about the world’s views of what makes a happy employee and what the latest science is revealing. The premise that studies are revealing is that happiness at work starts at home and that work-life balance is the primary predictor of happiness at work.
Are you saying, if I focus on being happier in my personal life, I will be happier at work? That is precisely what the evidence has shown. According to recent NBC news article, How To Be Happier At Work According to Scientific Studies, if you commit to happiness in your personal life and strive to preserve it with a healthy work-life balance, then you will be happier at work. I agree 100%.
Now, this seems counterintuitive to a person who spends lots of time at work or doing work activities. Putting personal matters ahead of work priorities create guilt for a workaholic, particularly when there are outstanding work tasks to get done. Spending time putting personal interests above work, particularly if the personal thing involves fun, also seems to lead to shame and even judgement of others who easily turn work off for other priorities. On the contrary, developing personal likes, hobbies, interests, fun, and purpose is paramount to happiness at work.
For a workaholic or those who overcommit to work, it is typically easier to work than to deal with unhappy life issues. Work is an escape from personal life matters and from undesirable feelings that others impose on you; you even impose negative demands on yourself for not meeting a certain expectation. For some, they perceive their personal lives as a disappointment and work is the primary means of feeling successful.
Ironically, work becomes the avoidance instead of tackling the problem of prioritizing and improving your personal life. It is an escape from loneliness. A way to begin to break through the chains that tie you to overcommit to working is to realize that you and your well-being is your first responsibility. The personal life will not fix itself. You cannot avoid it. The more time you spend nurturing your home life, the more productive and happier you will be in your work life.
Another thing to point out is that spending all your time at work will not bring you happiness. You cannot expect your job to care for you like you care about you. The culture at work greatly influences work-life balance, but ultimately the decision lies with you and how you handle your priorities.
It is nice when a company encourages work-life balance and make it flexible to schedule time off for unplanned events. I work for company that allow each employee 3 days for community service events and will not dock your sick days for taking medical appointments that are less than 4 hours. Others are not as fortunate in terms of time off. Heck, many do not get paid for sick days; therefore, happiness cannot be dependent on the company rules.
The company rules may or may not be wonderful and help to create a happier environment, but again, you can create flexibility you need when you operate from a place that you have other commitments besides work. Some bosses will take advantage of you if you do not make that known. I am a firm believer that you teach people how to treat you. It is best that you set your boundaries instead of letting others set them for you. Be up front with your personal commitments. When you operate from a place of balance, you create the flexibility you need in a job. This flexibility will lead to being happier at work also.
A balanced personal life is the source of happiness at home and at work so you must nurture that part of you as well, not just your career. When you really recognize that being whole makes a more productive employee, and you start to perform that way, you can win your boss over and eventually you can influence the entire work force.
In summary, make the shift to enhancing your personal life and life will be much happier at work. Acknowledge that making this shift is necessary to your happiness, health, and productivity. Adding this commitment as one your basic values will be the starting point for your turnaround to a happier employee.
I would love your opinion about happiness as it relates to work. Please leave a comment below. If you have specific circumstances and would like a professional coach point of view, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org