IT is a question that has preoccupied a lot of people since the pandemic inspired a big re-think of many lives: how can I be happier at work?
Poole-based Chris Croft literally wrote the book on the subject – The Big Book of Happiness, which contains 87 practical tips on living more enjoyably.
Chris, who advises thousands through online courses and free smartphone apps, offered some tips to Daily Echo readers.
1. Get a project.
“One of our sources of happiness is a feeling of progress towards a worthwhile objective – a project, basically,” said Chris, who has written books and taught many courses on project management.
“It might be knitting a sweater or making a rug or building a shed or building your own house, but we love the feeling of a project. We like to build something and to feel our time’s not being wasted.”
2. Work hard.
“We actually get happiness from working hard,” Chris said.
“I know lots of people who go ‘Why should I work hard because I don’t get paid very much and my boss is horrible and why should I?’ The answer is, do it for yourself. Because if you’re always skiving and trying to find easy ways out and doing the minimum, you’re telling yourself that you’re wasting five days a week of your life.
“At work and in your personal life, we actually get happiness from doing a job that we’re proud of and working hard, so even if you hate your boss, work hard.”
That is not the same as doing a lot of unpaid overtime, though. “It’s not long hours. It’s just when you’re there, do the best you possibly can,” he added.
3. Be creative.
“We get happiness from being creative. Make sure there’s some creativity in your job and look for places where you can be creative. If you think you’re not a creative person, then you’re wrong, because everybody can be creative,” said Chris.
“Creativity is the number one role of management – because if everything stays the same, you don’t really need a boss. You need a boss to make sure everybody doesn’t skive off home early, I suppose, and health and safety perhaps, but really the purpose of management is to think ‘How can I make things better?’”
4. Keep learning.
“We get happiness from learning new things and that allows us then to be creative,” said Chris.
“Go on courses and learn as much as you can. If the organisation has online learning, then use it, or if you’ve got someone coming in to do a training course, then take it.
“I like to ask people: how long could you do a job for if you weren’t learning anything new?”
He remembers the six weeks he spent as an apprentice making washers on a lathe.
“By the sixth week, I was absolutely climbing the walls. I was trying to calculate how many washers I would have made by lunchtime and I was putting them in pyramids and trying to calculate how many washers were in the pyramid. We have to be learning new things,” he said.