Achieving Happiness at Work (Pt 1)

Finding happiness amidst work

Booking under: Keith


We’re still in Japan this week, and it’s an absolute blast. From historic temples and mouth watering sashimi to amazing hospitality and cute souvenirs, Japan has been a treat in every way. I was worried these awesome distractions might get in the way of my goals for this month, but let’s see how I have done so far:

1. Launch a Blog

Always thought it'd be cool to write on one of these. Can anyone hook me up with one?

Always thought it’d be cool to write on one of these. Can anyone hook me up with one?

My commitment here was to do a little bit of writing each day, and let’s just say I still have room for improvement. Waking up early in the morning and not getting back to our Airbnb until late at night made it hard to get some writing done. And even when we do get back a little early, I felt quite tired to do some concentrated writing (i.e. exactly how I feel right now).

But there have been some good takeaways from this. Firstly, I’ve found that pushing myself to write even after a full day out is a great way to practice discipline, which contributes towards happiness. Secondly, I’ve realized that taking a few days off before writing was actually a good change of pace. Similar to how athletes periodically rest their bodies instead of continually pushing it, I’ve found that taking some time off actually made it easier for me to commit my ideas into words – once I got over the initial slump of “ah maybe tomorrow”. The key is to be disciplined in how much off-time I give myself.

2. Ask for Help

"Guys I need a little help here... Guys?"

“Guys I need a little help here… Guys?”

Did you know that being in a foreign country increases the number of questions you will ask on a daily basis? Me neither. You’re welcome. But in all honesty, it’s been great to practice the habit of asking for help here in Japan, especially since people are so kind and go out of their way to help you. By asking the locals questions and starting conversations with them, I naturally found myself smiling and laughing more, which lifted my mood and kept me feeling positive during the day.

The situation at work is a little different. As I said before, I like to be independent and don’t want to give off the impression that I constantly need help. So in comparison I asked less questions at work, but always making sure to ask so as to eliminate any avoidable/costly mistakes. Moving forward, the challenge will be to keep on asking questions, but to make sure they are constructive as I get more familiar with the new work stream and requirements. This will be an ongoing item for me but one I am excited to continue with.

3. Work Smart

My idea of a good break. Now we just need good coffee in the office...

A good aid to working smart. Now we just need some good coffee in the office…

Bad news first: I failed horribly at working smart this past week. Good news: I’m on vacation this week so there was no work. But before you stop reading, how did I actually do in work? While it’s admittedly hard to take a break when there’s a lot of work, I’ve found that taking a short break – whether I’m going to the pantry to refill my cup of water or playing a quick game of darts with another colleague who is free – actually helps clear my thinking and gives me a moment to catch a breath. Ultimately, it helps me work more effectively than if I just stayed at my desk.

So while taking a break can often be a luxury, I am happy to find that sometimes less is indeed more – by working in more manageable time slots and taking a needed break, I end up working more efficiently and feel a lot more positive at work too.

4. Enjoy Now

Enjoy work - and trips to see exotic pumpkin sculptures.

Enjoy work – and trips to see exotic pumpkin sculptures!

My commitment in this area is to enjoy the process, and not only the result, of work. Being a very result-oriented person, this was not the easiest thing to do. But I’ve found that by practicing two of my commitments above, asking more questions and taking appropriate breaks, I’ve found my days at work to be more pleasant. By asking more questions, I am actually learning more about my work and other related areas. This allows me to not simply complete tasks but to understand more of the “big picture” behind what I am doing, which keeps me continually engaged.

As for working smart, well timed breaks give me a much needed breath of fresh air and sometimes even a reason to laugh. This also helps me enjoy my work more and view it as more than a typical day job. To be honest, I still have moments when I feel tired or a little overwhelmed, but taking these small steps have helped me derive more fun at work and increased my happiness overall. So that’s a good start.

From Last Month

On the whole, I’ve kept my February commitments quite well. At work, a colleague who has taught me a lot is leaving the company. Before she left, I took the opportunity to thank her and treated her to some food to show my appreciation. I’ve not had any occasions to get into a fight with anyone (verbally or physically) so that’s a win too. Moving on to gender-specific approaches to intimacy, Nicole and I have taken the time to visit memorable places in Japan during our trip and talked about all sorts of things (serious and otherwise), so that has been coming along quite well. And as for giving proofs of love, I think I’ve done fairly well caring for Nicole. But as always, that’s for her to judge!

Summing Up

to-do list

Not to congratulate myself too much, but I’m very happy with how things have went this month. Committing to write every day is a good exercise in discipline and I will keep at it unless some serious circumstance gets in the way. As for asking questions and taking breaks, these are actions I will keep reminding myself to do – as long as they are done at an appropriate time and in the appropriate way. By practicing these actions, I’ve been able to enjoy my work more – and I hope you will too!

Check back with us next week as Nicole shares how she’s been doing and we come home after a fun Japan getaway. Who knows, we might tell you more about it later! As for now, thanks for reading and let us know what you think below or at Sayonara!


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