How to Be Happier At Work

It is possible to be happier at work.  You job doesn't have to be something you complain about and dread.  You can make the most of it as long as you spend enough time studying the types of jobs and choose wisely.

Here are some of the bigger ideas I have used to enjoy my work.

Get Organized to Be Happier At Work

Getting more organized in any area of your life will always improve your mood.  And a mood improvement at work is a good thing.

The more organized you are at work, the better you are going to do and this will equal more happiness.

It will it least equal less frustration, less fighting deadlines and less stress.

It is so nice to walk into your office, cube or work space and see a clear desk, organized paperwork, an email inbox that is not overflowing and all your work essentials nicely placed for your maximum productivity.

The good feeling of happiness sometimes comes with an absence of bad feelings.

If you have any hope of doing well at your job, making more money and feeling like you are earning your pay, making a contribution and want to stay employed, you will see the value in being more organized.

Many people resist the idea of getting more organized in what they do for living.

Some of the excuses are:

  • Isn't my boss supposed to do that?
  • Why should I, the pay is the same?
  • Its too much effort. I just want to put in my time.
  • I just have a stupid job anyway.
  • I am too low in the chain of command to make a difference.
  • I am more creative in a mess.
  • I am too busy to get organized.
  • Einstein's desk was messy, and he was a genius.
  • No one cares if I have a messy desk. I work in the back room.
  • I am the boss, so I'll do what I want.
  • My job doesn't involve paperwork, so this doesn't apply to me.
  • I work with my hands as a tradesman , so I don't need to be organized.
  • I am an artist and if I am organized I will not be able to express myself.
  • My boss tells me what to do.
  • I don't want to rock the boat.
  • I can't get organized at work, it's against union rules.
  • That's not my job.
  • It's too hard to get my co-workers to get organized.
  •  I work so hard and am so tired from work that I do not have enough energy to improve my life.
  • I have a great memory and do not need to write anything down on list.
  • I do not know where to start to get organized.

These excuses are all wrong. Being organized, neat, orderly and on top of things is a more satisfying way to approach your work. It can help you advance in your career. It can help you to stay employed. You will be happier at work the more organized you get.

Getting more work done will make your days at work more enjoyable. And it is just the right thing to do.

Here is my desk at work as a Civil Engineer

be happier at workHere is my be happier at work desk. A lot of stuff, but I do try to keep a clear work area on my desk. I stll need to work on my emails.

I have a lot of paperwork to deal with as well as a lot of emails.  Some days my desk is piled high.  Even now, I still have stacks of papers to review, process, comment on and deal with.

I don't worry so much about keeping my desk totally clear.  I just want to have some space to work on the priorities and deal with issues in a timely manner.

A Few Ideas from my desk on how to Be Happier at Work

  • Coffee cup on the right above my phone.
  • Planner book between my computer and the phone.
  • Fan to the right of the phone.
  • Printed out meeting agendas on the bulletin board to the left of my computer.
  • Computer right in the middle of the work space.
  • A good portion of my desk is clear for laying out papers.
  • Papers and files that I need to deal with ASAP at the top of the desk.
  • Comfortable chair.
  • Desk tray organizer for stacking up miscellaneous papers.
  • Glass cups for holding pens, markers, highlighters, scissors, magnifying glass.
  • Big water cup in wooden holder above the phone.
  • Big filing cabinets.
  • Overhead storage.
  • Another desk behind my chair.

The desk set-up is similar to everyone in the building.  It is an efficient set-up for most people.  How I placed things was my idea after decades of work.

Get organized at work and you'll be more productive and happier.


Per Penelope Trunk -

A Messy Desk Can Hurt Your Career

Some interesting thoughts on the link between career success, getting organized and how to be happier at work.


You Need Time Off to Be Happier at Work

In spite of the constant rhetoric from slave driving types exhorting us to work harder, work longer, get to work earlier, stay later, take your work home with you, stay connected to work 24.7, that good work is the most important thing and if you find the right career you will never work a day again in your life...the most important benefit of any job is the amount of time off.

No matter how much you like or even love your work, no matter how important career success is to you, or how important your work seems to be...your life is only as good as the amount of time you aren't working. Work less be happier with more time off.

Good Benefits to Look For

  • Vacation days
  • Personal Days
  • Paid Holidays
  • Compensation Time
  • Days off for some type of good behavior
  • Teleworking
  • Sick Leave

The more generous these benefits, the more you will like working for whoever you are working for...maybe even yourself.

These are the types of benefits you most need to concern yourself when looking for work.  Time off from work will contribute to your quality of life like nothing else.

You can love your work doing it only 40 hours a week with 12 paid holidays, 5 personal days, 3 to 5 weeks of vacation, a day a week working from home, and sick leave allowances so you can take your kids to their appointments and actually stay home when you are run-down and sick.

I think the 40 hour work week will have to be scaled down at some point.  It seems to be a relic of factory work where the owners had to give up two 12 hour shifts a day to three 8 hour shifts.

Why else would it be 8 hours?

Think of how good you feel when you leave work a little early each day.

I work four 9 hour days and one 4 hour day.  I love that 4 hour day.  I usually work at a furious pace on that day, getting a lot done.  A shorter days means you will be more productive.

What if every day you left early?

Be Happier At Work by Getting Really Good at It

The better you get at your job, the more you are well respected as the expert, the more freedom you will enjoy to do your work, your way.

You will be happier at work and look forward to Monday the better you get at your job.

More freedom equals more happiness.

Doing things your way equals more happiness too.

The better you get at your work, the more likely you will make more money and be more secure in your employment.

The more you know the more your co-workers, supervisors and upper management leave you alone to get things done.

I love to be left alone at work and do what I know is best.

Just think of the opposite of being good at your work.

This is what a person who is no good at their job goes through

  • Every day is a struggle to get there because you know each day is going to be a long hard struggle to get anything done.
  • Your supervisor is constantly checking up on you.
  • Even upper management seems to be on your case.
  • You get a lot of advice from co-workers.
  • You feel like people are laughing at your incompetence.
  • Your assignments keep getting simpler and more boring.
  • You are assigned the most tedious work.
  • Your boss may think the reason you are so poor at your job is because you are fooling around.  You may get fired or at least your boss will be hanging around you all the time.
  • You may get yelled at.
be happier at workYou will not be happier at work if you are geting yelled at.

The worst thing about being bad at what you do and in a bad field for your skills is that bad people will make your life miserable.  You cannot be happier at work if you are not good at what you do.

Be Happier At Work  by Making the Most of What You Do

Even with all the time off, you will be at your job more than anywhere else.  You will be happier at work if what you are doing all those hours each day, each week, each month for years on end is something that you kind of like.

These hours can be somewhat enjoyable if you feel you are contributing to something.

That is why you need to be mindful of types of work that are meaningful, where it is obvious that what you do is contributing to the good of the world.

It is not possible to be happy if what you are doing you hate.  Duh.

It needs to be real...to you.

Some types of work seem to be made up work, of no importance, irrelevant, boring, tedious, and even stupid to me.  But if they aren't to you, if the work makes you happy...go for it.

I like the civil engineering field.  It seems real to me.  I feel like I am contributing to a better world.  I feel like civil engineers make the world a far better place and I am happy to be doing my part.

But it is not the only career path.

Sometimes my mind is blown when I hear what other people do.

Be Happier At Work -
Keep Changing Jobs

Which brings me to my last point, if you aren't happier at work with the job you are in now...move on, quit, keep looking.

You may have to keep changing jobs over and over again until you find one that suits you and that you can be happy and successful at work.

You may find one that suits you for a period of time...months, years, a decade or more...only to eventually grow stale, get tired of it, grow out of it or the job may die itself.

You need to be able to make changes...big changes until you are in the high quality career that will move your life to the next level.

I am on my 6th full time job over the last 25 years.  Some of my friends from high school and college are still on their first.  Some have had 2 or 3. 

Maybe in the younger generation this is not that many jobs.  But for me, it seems about right.

My Jobs

  1. Entry Level Civil Engineer at City of Milwaukee.
  2. Entry Level Civil Engineer at private consulting firm.
  3. Mid-level Civil Engineer at City of Milwaukee (yes, back to City).
  4. Promotion to mid-management at City of Milwaukee.
  5. Project Manager Civil Engineer at private consulting firm.
  6. Technical expert at Department of Transportation.

I count it as 6.  Maybe others would count a different way.

Some people like to job hop.  That might be successful for some.  Whenever I have job hopped, I usually lost out on something.  The cost of moving.  The loss of benefits like vacation time.  Stress.

Pros of Changing Jobs

  • You leave your other job where you have gone stale, grown tired of, or been taken advantage of.
  • You have the excitement and challenge of a new position.
  • You don't have too much responsibility at first because you are new.
  • There are new routines, new routes, new people to meet, new tasks to work on.  It is better because everything is new.
  • You moved to this job for some reason, so you will view it with optimism.
  • The more you change jobs, the more likely you will hit the happier income level that provides you a great life.

Cons of Changing Jobs

  • You may miss some of the people.
  • You may lose out on some of the benefits of longevity.
  • You are not the expert anymore.
  • The benefits at the new job may take months to kick in.
  • You may have a probationary period.
  • You may not be able to take time off for a long period of time.
  • You may lose vacation benefits.

I changed jobs because I grew tired of the job I had and wanted something more.

In that way, I succeeded.  I learned a lot from each move.  I don't miss any of the old jobs.  I more of less fall in love with the job I am in until something happens to make me want to move on.

And I am not afraid of moving on.

Change is good.  Even if you don't think so.  I want to be happier at work so I keep making changes until I am.

You May Also Like

› Be Happier at Work

Share a Comment About This Topic.

Do you have a comment about this or something to add? Share it!

[ ? ]

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

 submission guidelines.


(You can preview and edit on the next page)