Science of People - Logo

How to Do What You Love: Use Science to Be Happy at Work

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Do you love your job?

According to a Gallup report, the average American adult works 47 hours per week. With so much of our lives spent at work, I believe we owe it to ourselves to at least try to be happy with our jobs.

Even if you’re not working your dream career, that doesn’t mean you can’t love what you do. Studies show that if you stay positive and create a better environment for yourself, you can make going to work more fun and enjoyable, regardless of whether or not you like your day-to-day responsibilities.  

Here are six tips to hack your job and make every day more awesome.

How to Hack Your Job

Create an Office Wonderland

A study by the University of Michigan found that employees who personalized their cubicles had lower levels of emotional exhaustion and lower burnout rates than employees who kept their cubicles bare.

The idea is that when you personalize your workspace, you feel more relaxed because it looks like the second home that it is.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 11.08.03 AM

Here are some fun ideas for decorating your cubicle:

  • Pictures of loved ones – this is what most people do with good reason. Have more fun with it by choosing silly pictures.
  • Print out inspirational quotes and pin them to your wall.
  • Use colorful office and organizational supplies.

If you’re stuck, check out this list of fun ideas for inspiration.

Does your boss not allow personalization? Show them the study and they might just change their minds.

Action Step: Decorate your cubicle (or whatever your workspace is) so it is a fun – and professional – reflection of who you are.

Ignore Your Boss’s Bad Mood

Psychologist Daniel Goleman studied the behavior of hundreds of business leaders and found that their moods are contagious.

If you have boss who has a reputation for bringing negative vibes into the office, you can choose not to let their negativity affect you by realizing that their mood is short-lived and you’ll have so much more fun at work if you focus your attention elsewhere.

Encourage others, including your boss, to think about positive things such as the progress your team is making toward big goals.

Check out my video to learn more about what to do when your boss is in a bad mood.

YouTube video

Action Steps:

  • Always go to work with a fiercely positive attitude so you’re not affected by any negativity inside.
  • Come up with fun ways to lighten the atmosphere when your boss is in a bad mood.

Motivate Your Co-Workers

Studies show that allowing others to make decisions is one of the most effective ways to motivate people.

If people on your team are downers, motivate them by helping them be involved in decision making processes as much as possible. While you may not have the power to give your co workers lots of choices, you can encourage them to choose things like where you go to lunch together and what tasks they tackle in group projects.

Doing so makes group work so much better because your colleagues feel more motivated and empowered at work. If they’re in a good mood, it’s much easier for you to be too.

Remember: happy coworkers = happy you

Action Step: Look for ways you can empower your coworkers to make more decisions.

Surround Yourself with Blue

According to color specialist Leatrice Eiseman, humans have evolved to psychologically respond to different colors based on their roles in nature.

Seeing the color blue makes you feel calm and secure because it is the color of the sky when there are no storms on the horizon. If you have a stressful job, surrounding yourself with blue will make you feel more relaxed at the office. Studies have even shown that people who work in blue offices are more efficient and and make less typos.

Watch my video to learn more about the amazing powers of the color blue:

YouTube video

Action Step: Surround yourself with as much blue as possible! Change your background screen, use blue post-its, whatever you can find.

Know Your Email Etiquette

Don’t you hate it when you get poorly written emails? The ones that are full of typos or ramble so much you don’t know what the point is?

While you can’t control what emails get sent to you, you can make your job a bit better by making your own emails quick to write and easy to understand.

I found this great guide on email etiquette that will save you tons of time when writing emails and help you limit miscommunications,

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Keep the format simple. Use a black, easy-to-read font and only use short paragraphs and bullet points. This makes your email easier on the eye.
  • Use proper grammar. Grammar mistakes make you look sloppy and can lead to miscommunications that take time to clear up.
  • Be concise. Just like you receive too many emails, so do your coworkers. Save everyone time by getting straight to the point.

Action Step: Read the email etiquette guide and share it with your colleagues so you can start putting its tips into action.

Find Your Office Tribe

A survey conducted by the research firm Globoforce discovered that the more friends you have at work, the happier you are.  

[Tweet “The more friends you have at work, the happier you are. “]

You don’t have to become BFFs with everyone, but feeling comfortable working with your colleagues and having people you can laugh with goes along way in making you feel connected and satisfied at work.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 11.10.09 AM

Here are some science-backed tips to make more friends at work:

  • Spend more time with your colleagues: Meliksah Demir, Ph.D., a professor at Northern Arizona University, discovered that the most important component of strong friendships is time spent together.
  • Be visible: People are drawn to form friendships with those they see often. Spend your breaks in common areas so you become more familiar to your colleagues.
  • Encourage people to talk about themselves: Neuroscientists at Harvard discovered that people’s brains respond just as positively when talking about themselves as they do when they receive food or money. Plus, it’s a great way to find common interests!

Action Step: Use these tips to start making more friends at work. Don’t worry if not everyone is open to friendship. Extend your offer and focus on the people who want to reciprocate.

Want to learn more awesome life hacks to become happier? Check out these articles:

How to Deal with Difficult People at Work

Do you have a difficult boss? Colleague? Client? Learn how to transform your difficult relationship.
I’ll show you my science-based approach to building a strong, productive relationship with even the most difficult people.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Get our latest insights and advice delivered to your inbox.

It’s a privilege to be in your inbox. We promise only to send the good stuff.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.