Five minutes a day to higher job satisfaction

Practice Management

Five minutes a day to higher job satisfaction

Incorporate one of these activities into your day for a more positive approach

“Most human beings have an absolute and infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” – Aldous Huxley

A few months ago, I participated in a research study related to applying the principles of positive psychology in real work settings. The study consisted of two surveys – one prior to the research period and one following it – along with taking about five minutes each day, for 10 consecutive days, to complete one of these activities:

  1. Write down three things you are grateful for each day, with enough detail to help you remember them if you read it in a year, and clearly envision why you’re grateful for each thing as you write it.
  2. Journal for two minutes each day about a positive experience and try to include as many emotions and sensory details as possible about that experience as you write about your feelings.
  3. Write a two-minute email to thank somebody, beyond your normal thank-you emails. Be clear why you are thanking them, and make sure they know how you feel as a result of whatever reason you are thanking them.

I chose the first option.

It wasn’t difficult to identify things for which I was grateful; as I began reflecting on the first day, I had to narrow down my list to just three things. By the third day, something unexpected happened.

I noticed I was becoming more aware of my gratitude “in the moment” and reflecting on gratitude throughout the day, rather than waiting until my scheduled time. I was also calmer than usual, and my relationships at work were more fun. 

You may be thinking gratitude is great, but what does it have to do with work? Various studies have shown gratitude can positively impact a person’s overall satisfaction, optimism, energy, positive feelings toward others and even quality of sleep, and can result in higher job satisfaction, willingness to work longer hours, do better work, cooperate more, and make more progress in achieving goals. In other words, gratitude makes workers happier and more productive – a win-win.

Give it a try yourself. I encourage you and your team members to set aside the next 10 days and do one of the activities listed above each day. Take stock at the end of the time to see if you and your team members notice any changes in your attitudes or productivity. At worst, nothing will change. But there’s also a good chance you’ll have more energy, a more positive attitude, and higher job satisfaction and productivity. 

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