What would it take to improve our working life? Steve Jobs once said about work that it was our life's mission to "do what you love", but for most of us it is a commitment to "find what you can handle". So if most of us will never exactly love work, what can we do to make it a little less horrible?
For starters, let's be honest about what the job is like. According to Management Today magazine, the average Briton spends 16 hours a week in meetings, hostage to the buzz of people they vaguely recognize. That's why most of us have learned that in order to survive in the modern workplace, we need to master the "I'm not listening, but I want you to think I am" nod, along with the subtle art of checking WhatsApp on a Notebook
We have become adept at not revealing our inner thoughts for fear of judgment. We give a performative “Yes!” When our bosses say, “This was a good meeting.” Workplace research expert Gallup reported that only 8% of people in the UK are actively involved in Your jobs. Twice as many of us are classified as "actively disengaged," eliminating our unhappiness in our work and our colleagues. We may seem to be going along with things, but inside we are boiling.
But there are simple steps we can take to start rebalancing this relationship with our workplace. Researchers have found that even the most miserable work can be rescued by regaining some control.
Focus on performing your MIT
When workplace specialists study what makes a good day at work, the answers are common sense. We say we had a good time when we "made progress on something significant." For many of us, trapped in a vast open-plan savannah, tapping e-mail with Tetris, the idea of progress seems unattainable.
This may be because one of the biggest challenges for the human brain is switching between activities. Several attempts to measure our attention have suggested that when we alternate tasks, it takes eight to 20 minutes for our attention to focus fully again. This is where author Dan Pink has a valuable tip. Pink's approach is to perform an action, MIT (most important thing), before he does anything else. That way, if MIT takes up to an hour of concentration, it has made some progress before the email attack begins.
Go to a meeting on foot
Yes, that may be embarrassing to suggest – but if anyone laughs, note that researchers say going to a meeting on foot may be one of the easiest ways to revive your mojo.
Researchers at Stanford University, California, considered whether walking could spark creativity. The results were excellent.. Walking resulted in a significant improvement in creative thinking: 81% of participants saw their scores rise between sitting and walking. The average increase was 60%.
Interestingly, walking needs to be used properly: it is a powerful way to unleash ideas, but it is not the most effective way to solve complex logical puzzles. The researchers also found that walking power remained after walking. Taking a walk before undertaking a creative task has promoted a significant elevation compared to sitting still. Another research from an article published in 2012 said that taking a 50-minute nature walk can have a Strong effect on our ability to focus.
Are your colleagues still laughing? Just ignore them – with the certainty that JK Rowling said night walks are the safest way to overcome writer's block.
Take a break for lunch
British workers are well-versed in eating at the counter, but taking a step away from our workstations for proper recovery more than pays off – not just at work. Psychologists at Baylor University, Texas found a relationship between people skipping lunch breaks and feeling exhausted over the weekend.
Despite this, many of us feel a quiet pressure to work during lunch. But there is good evidence that leaving our desks also improves our work. Our attention is measurably worse later in the day – a 2006 study of North Carolina medical center workers found that the probability of a medical error taking place was four times higher at 16h than at 9am. Our tired-looking afternoon self is simply not as effective – and taking a break is one of the best ways to recover some of our zing. Harvard University research found that giving five-hour intervals to school-age children every hour improved their results over the course of a day, while lack of intervals caused the results to spiral upward (with the largest declines among students). less able).
If you need more persuasion, think about it: skipping an hour's lunch over a year is the equivalent of five weeks of vacation. So make plans to meet a friend or go to the gym – this can improve your entire week.
Stay out of email at night
Harvard researchers found that workers were overwhelmed by the daily burden of email and the need to contact them all the time. Most affected were the management consultants, who often checked emails if they woke up to go to the bathroom at night. Modest changes, such as removing one night a week from the email, were suggested. The management consultants couldn't take much, so they created a scheme where one person was always checking out nightly e-mails while the rest of his colleagues spent the night out. The participants were euphoric. The mere thought of spending a night off by email seemed to have a measurable impact on their stress levels.
Bruce Daisley is the European Vice President of Twitter. His book, The Joy of Work, is published by Cornerstone. To order a copy for £ 17.60 (RRP £ 20), go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK P&P for over £ 15, online ordering only. Phone orders, minimum p & p of £ 1.99.
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