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9 Ways to Be Happier at Work

By Miriam Salpeter

Since you spend so much time at work, it's a real drag if you're miserable the whole time you're on the clock. Do you need to love your job? It would be great if everyone could get paid to do what they love, but until you can achieve that elusive goal, what can you do to make the 9-to-5 more pleasant? What can you do to be happier at work?

Finish the drudgery first. Whatever you dread every day, get it done as soon as you can so that you don't need to worry about it the rest of the day. In general, try to organize and plan your time to suit your own needs. It's not always possible, but sometimes, handling the little things that you hate can make the day a little easier to get through.

Stop complaining about what you can't change. It's easy to get caught in a rut and to complain ad nauseam about a colleague who's not pulling her weight or a boss who should have been let go in the last downsizing. However, complaining about things you can't change only contributes to your misery. Don't give in to the temptation to drone on and on about the negatives; instead, focus on what you can change, and spend your energies there.

Make friends at work. There's no question that everything is better when you have a friend in your corner. You don't need to be "besties" with everyone at the office, but having one or two colleagues who are always happy to go to lunch or catch a quick coffee can make all the difference.

Give compliments. Look for opportunities to tell other people what they're doing well; it will make their day, and will give you a boost, too. Plus, you never know: If you begin to pass around kudos in the office, it can affect everyone's mood and perhaps improve the overall office culture. Don't fall victim to the myth that you can only help improve things if you're a supervisor or have authority; take initiative and you could really make a difference for your colleagues.

Keep track of good things. Every time something happens at work that makes you happy, make a note. Maybe it sounds a little corny, but if you can remember the good times, it could help make the challenges easier to overcome.