Sometimes, you just find yourself lacking energy or motivation at work.
Rather than waste your day feeling sorry for yourself, there are a few fast and easy ways to overcome burnout at the office, says Sevenshift CEO, McKinsey senior adviser, and former McKinsey partner Caroline Webb.
Her new book, “How to Have a Good Day,” is a collection of career best practices she’s learned in her 16 years as a consultant.
Here are the techniques she recommends trying the next time you find yourself unable to accomplish anything at work.
1. Think about what you’re grateful for.
Webb makes use of an exercise called “three good things,” which is simply taking a moment to think about three things you’re grateful for, whether it’s something positive that happened earlier that day, things you cherish in your life, or even just a moment that made you smile. “And yes, you will feel better as a result, even if the good things aren’t very big,” she writes.
Webb cites research led by Martin E. P. Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania that found such an exercise had a notable positive impact on test subject’s self-reported happiness over the course of six months, as it develops habitual optimistic thinking.
Webb recommends setting aside a particular each time to go through the exercise, and to write down your three good things in a notebook.
2. Do a random act of kindness.
UPenn’s Seligman also found, in his words, that “doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.”
If you’re feeling burnt out, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to step outside of yourself and help someone out. Let one of your colleagues know how you appreciate them or offer your help to a coworker the next time you see them struggling.
3. Find something interesting in even the most mundane situations.
When Webb worked at the Bank of England in the mid-1990s, she and her colleagues would occasionally play “buzzword bingo,” where they’d pass a painfully dull meeting by tallying up all of the jargon speakers would toss out. It not only brought grins to their faces, it also caused them to pay attention to what was being said when otherwise they may have drifted off.
She writes that your approach doesn’t have to be as subversive. For example, if you’re working on a complex group project, make it a point to learn more about how your teammates are doing their jobs. You’ll not only gain a better appreciation for your coworkers, but you’ll become more engaged in the task and handle your own responsibilities better.