NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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Making Work Better

05/27/16 Making Work BetterHow’s work?  How’s your job?  If the first things that pop into your head to answer those questions are kind of negative, read on!

Work can be tough; hard; bad.  However, as workers, we have more power over our work lives than we may realize. 

There are probably lots of good things that happen at work.  In fact, some research has shown that good things at work happen 3-5 times more frequently than bad things.  However, that research has also shown that the bad things pack a bigger punch.  When the researchers compared the effect of a good thing happening at work to the effect of a bad thing happening at work, they found that the bad thing has 5-10 times more impact on our mood than the good thing.

A strategy to combat the impact of something bad that happened at work is to take three to five minutes at the end of the work day to pause and reflect on the day to recall three good things that happened during the day.  It is recommended to write down what those good things were and to identify why they happened.  With this simple practice, in as little as ten days, well-being can improve.  Workers who tried this strategy report feeling less stress, having fewer physical complaints such as muscle tension and headaches, having fewer mental complaints such as difficulty concentrating, and being more able to detach themselves from their work.  Some workers even reported that their blood pressure went down.

Another way to “make work better” is to make meaningful progress on your work tasks.  In other words, to be more productive.  Two strategies to accomplish this are “parking downhill” to help yourself quickly and easily get absorbed into work tasks, and to go for micro-bursts of uni-tasking throughout the day, rather than trying to multi-task.  Both of these strategies help us set ourselves up for success, and success is its own reward. 

But what if you are at work and you are already in a bad mood?  Research has shown that a bad or negative mood can be repaired by doing something to help others.  This doesn’t mean we have to leave our work station to go do a good deed.  It just means we need to think about how what we are doing is helping someone else.  It means keeping “the big picture” in mind. 

The information shared above is based on a presentation given by Dr. Theresa Glomb at the North Central Leadership Conference I attended earlier this month.  You can learn more by watching an 18-minute version of her presentation online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCYeEt94EMc.  Let me know what you think.

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/en/job-work-businessman-time-clock-1257204/   (downloaded 06/01/16)


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