Having a positive attitude at work can help you get a promotion, succeed on projects, meet goals, and just generally enjoy your job more. However, many people struggle with this, especially those who don’t love their jobs. How can you keep a positive attitude, even if you don’t enjoy the work you’re doing? In this article, we’ll go over 10 tips to staying positive at work.
Tip #1: Report problems quickly and professionally.
No one likes a chronic complainer, but if there are clear reasons you find it hard to stay positive at work, report these problems to your boss or the owner of the company. My mother has a saying: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. It means that if you don’t speak up when there’s a problem, no one is going to fix the issue. When reporting problems, however, always be professional. Avoid “tattling” on your co-workers or passive-aggressive behavior, and remember that changes don’t happen overnight. Try to go to your boss not just with complaints, but with proposed solutions that will work well for everyone.
Tip #2: Treat your coworkers with respect.
It’s always easier to stay positive at your job if you like the work environment, including your coworkers. It’s easy to get started on the wrong foot. However, if you treat your coworkers with respect and do your best to see issues from their point of view, the working relationships will be much less stressful. You don’t have to like everyone you work with to keep a positive attitude at work.
Tip #3: Get enough sleep.
Who among us doesn’t feel a little grumpy when they’re tired. Chances are, if you aren’t getting enough sleep at work, it will be extremely hard to maintain a good attitude. Do you find it hard to get going in the morning? Or are you in need of a nap by the time 2 PM rolls around? These are both indications that you aren’t getting enough sleep. Some people only need 4-5 hours of sleep per night. Others need 9 or 10 to feel rested. Don’t rely on “catching up” on the weekends. Go to bed earlier so you get the sleep you need to feel positive.
Changing your sleep patterns only seems hard. With a little coaching and some discipline, it is actually easy to get the levels of sleep you need to function at your best.
Tip #4: Identify negative thoughts.
You might not even realize that you have a negative attitude at work. Start to be more aware of your thoughts, words, and actions. Identify times when you say no without good reason, believe you can’t do something, doubt your abilities, or feel angry about a task given to you. Think about what would happen if you forced yourself to look at the situation in the opposite way – saying yes, believing you can do something, feeling confident in your abilities, or feeling happy to do a task. Even if you can’t change every single negative emotion you have, at least start to be aware of these emotions and think about whether or not they are actually justified.
Do the number of negative thoughts in your head each day surprise you once you start actively assessing your negativity levels. You aren’t alone!
Tip #5: Work on your overall stress level.
Often, our attitudes at work are simply carried over from our experiences at home. If you’re stressed about your marriage or relationship, your kids, your finances, or other problems, it’s really hard to maintain a positive attitude at work. The opposite is true as well – if work puts you in a bad mood, it is easy to carry that stress home and snap at your family. Look at your overall stress level and identify the things in your life that make it hard to have a positive attitude. A more holistic approach to understanding your stress can help you start to enjoy your job more.
Tip #6: Work toward a new job.
If you truly hate your job, why are you still doing it? Most people answer, “money,” but the truth is that no matter what your situation, you can start working toward a job you enjoy more right now. If it’s the company you don’t like, spruce up your resume and start applying for other positions. If it’s the job, start putting in the extra hours so you are noticed for a promotion and raise. Hate the entire industry? Go back to school, even if it is slowly during nights and weekends, to work toward a degree in a field that you enjoy more.
Tip #7: Set goals.
Nothing can be more soul-crushing that feeling like you’re on a spinning hamster wheel. One of the best ways to overcome these feelings of negativity and the idea that you’d not doing anything important is to sit down with your manager and make some realistic (yet challenging) goals. What do you hope to achieve weekly? Where do you hope to be in three months? Six months from now, what successes do you want to have under your belt? Don’t just think about the goals on a small scale either. Talk to your boss about what achieving these goals means for the company as a whole so that you really understand how your contributions are making a difference. Review your goals every 6 to 12 months to stay on track and set new benchmarks for success. As an added benefit, doing this can give you grounds for asking for a raise!
Tip #8: Alter your responsibilities.
Is there a task you just hate? It’s not always possible to get it off your plate, but in some cases, it is rather easy, especially when you have lots of coworkers who take on many of the same tasks as you. For example, let’s say that you are a waitress and you hate working on weekends, but don’t mind working early mornings. Maybe there’s another server on the staff who feels the opposite, so you can talk to your supervisor about making sure you get her breakfast shifts and she gets your weekend shifts. Or maybe you work in retail and you love greeting customers but hate restocking the shelves. If you have a coworker who feels the other way, trade tasks to make both of your work experiences better! In addition, even if trading tasks with a coworker isn’t possible, let your boss know about the tasks you love and the tasks you hate. If you’re a good employee, he or she might consider hiring an assistant to help you with the tasks you hate. It never hurts to ask, as long as you do so professionally (see tip number 1).
Tip #9: Smile!
Did you know that simply smiling, even when you don’t feel happy, can automatically put you in a better mood? It may seem “fake” at first, and I don’t recommend being disingenuous, but if you feel negative often at work, try to remember to smile. Smile at a passing coworker in the hall. Smile as you answer a customer’s question. Smile even while you are by yourself. Yes, this can really help you have a more positive attitude at work! This also can help other people think of you as a positive and friendly person, and when those around you are in a good mood and like being around you, it is easier to get rid of any of your own negative feelings.
Tip #10: Remember that a job is just a job.
At the end of the day, your job just not define you. Even if you absolutely hate your job, your coworkers, and the company you work for, you get to go home to loved ones or hobbies when the workday is over. Yes, you should work toward a job you like more, but in the meantime, you don’t have to feel negatively about your situation. Most people have had at least one or two jobs they hated before finding a job that’s a good fit! Whenever you start to feel negative while at work, look at the clock and remember that in just a few hours, you’ll be able to punch that time clock and do something you enjoy more, whether that is spending time with loved ones, participating in a hobby, or even just relaxing in front of the television. Your job is just part of your life, so stay positive, collect that paycheck, and remember that you’ll be heading home soon!
No matter how positive you stay at work, you may still be experiencing job-related stress, which can actually lead to long-term illness and other problems in your life.