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Top 10 best ways to keep your sanity in the office

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

How to love your job -- even if you don't

The cult-classic movie Office Space and NBC's laugh-a-minute take on a popular Brit-com The Office constantly remind us how daunting it can be to work the 9-to-5 grind .

Annoyed woman in office

In addition to maintaining a positive attitude, self-motivation and a good work ethic, here are 10 ideas to keep that smile on your face Monday through Friday.

Remember that it could be worse

In these uncertain times, there are people who have no job or are working jobs they're technically over-qualified for. If you have a job at all, you're ahead of a lot of people. Even if you're doing a task you absolutely hate, try to think of three to five jobs that you'd hate worse. If you're not Mrs. Fix-It, working as a vehicle mechanic would be torture. If you hate talking on the phone, be glad you're not in telemarketing.

Stay active

Stand up, stretch and move. If you don't have the option of working out at an office gym during lunch, find other outlets for moving. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Visit a coworker at his desk instead of emailing. Take a bathroom break and secretly do 10 jumping jacks in the stall (30 if you plan to snack afterward). Try doing desk exercises while checking email.

If you have a work friend who's just as committed as you are, try eating a sensible lunch at your desk at a set time each day. Then use your lunch break to do a power-walk (or two) around the block. Just make sure you bring extra clothes for your walk, extra deodorant and a washcloth to wipe yourself off in the bathroom afterwards.

candleIndulge your senses

Smell is one of the most powerful senses you have. It can evoke memories of days gone by, relax you, inspire you or make you more productive. Invest in scented candles or Scentsy fire-less burners and find the best scent for you. Does cucumber-melon make you ultra-productive? Are you at your most creative as you sniff the warm aroma of sandalwood? Or do you just need a little sage and lemongrass scent to calm you down after a confrontation? Experiment with different scents until you find something that works for you.

Honesty is the best policy -- mostly

When dealing with coworkers, you want to be polite, but sometimes they just get under your skin (even if you like them). If someone's irritating you to the point of distraction, though, it's time to bring it up. They'd much rather be confronted by you than by the boss after you tattle-tale.

Decide what's really irritating you and speak about that specifically. Do it from a place of respect and helpfulness. Be direct, but skip unduly negative characterizations. Make sure you take the person aside in private, rather than confronting them in a group. They're likely to get defensive if confronted in public, whereas they may be open to conversation and change if it's a one-on-one talk.

Always remember the compliment sandwich. First tell them something you like about them, then tell them what they're doing that annoys you. Follow up with another compliment. It also pays to remember that you may be the only person irritated by their behavior and they may not be willing to change. If that's the case, try to ask yourself whether you might be in the minority. What you consider aggressive behavior from your coworker may simply be insecurities about your own performance.

Have another outlet

It's not good for you to keep your feelings pent up. Make sure you know which of your non-work friends you can talk to about what happens to you every day. If you have a husband or boyfriend or a close friend you meet with regularly, make a habit of telling them about the things that annoy you if they're up for it. But unless you have a particularly big problem you need their help solving, keep the b****ing about work to a minimum (no more than 15 to 30 minutes). And don't forget to return the favor by listening for as long as you talk.

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