1. They know how to say no.
The truly happy protect their most important priorities. They are good at saying no politely. They commit carefully, and always leave enough time for themselves or something unexpected. This way, even if an existing commitment or work responsibility becomes more time-consuming, they still have the capacity to manage well.
2. They don't check their email every waking moment.
Rather than check your email every waking moment (also known as the obsessive-compulsive email checking disorder), set aside blocks of time to respond to emails in one go. For example, at set hours throughout the day. During meal times, in particular, try to avoid checking your email - focus on the person you are having the meal with, or on the meal itself. Both the other person and your digestive system will thank you for it.
3. They build in downtime.
Achieving good work-life balance is best done by scheduling friends and family time during your workday. If you make every day all about work, you'll never be able to achieve a good balance of activities. Having a fun activity to look forward at the end of the day will give you an incentive to do well during your work time so you won't have to cancel later.
4. They get enough sleep.
There are few things that cause greater unhappiness than persistent sleep deprivation. Those who are truly happy protect their sleep hours carefully. They set work expectations accordingly so emails and calls do not come around bedtime, and make the most of the time they have in bed. Some of the ways they ensure optimal sleep quality include getting a comfortable eye mask, reading air purifier reviews for the best purifier they need depending on what they may be sensitive to (smoke, pollen, dust, pet dander and more), and investing in a good mattress.
5. They manage their time well.
Pay attention to how much time you are spending on each task within your work day. What are the tasks that give you the most fulfillment? What is absolutely necessary to get the job done? If you can't finish a particular activity or just dread it, try asking another co-worker to help out. Or let your boss know you're struggling. The key is to focus 80% on tasks that you enjoy most and that move your work forward, while spending 20% on the miscellaneous stuff.
6. They build in exercise into their work day.
Even if it's 10 minutes during your lunch break for a brisk walk, any kind of exercise will help you feel better about your workday. Exercise is proven to increase alertness and productivity, according to WebMD. It can be hard to write for hours straight or talk to clients in endless meetings without having a break to recharge. If your company has a gym, try heading there first thing in the morning to work out.
7. They push for flexible work schedules.
The truly happy generally push for flexible work schedules. Rather than working fixed hours or being in the office all the time, they try to be in the office only when necessary, and push for some work-at-home time as far as possible.
In some types of jobs, job-sharing is a viable option. Job sharing reduces stress by allowing two people to work part-time schedules to complete work one person would normally do in a full-time job. The government actively promotes job sharing, though it is less common in the private sector.
Hours may vary, where one person works together with the other for part of the week - or they may never actually meet face-to-face. As long as employees can correspond with each other in some way, job-sharing is a great potential alternative to working a full-time job for those seeking fewer hours.
The bottom line is happiness is a choice - one you can make with a little help from the tips above.
IMAGE CREDIT: PAXSON WOELBER
Janet Miller is a reformed workaholic and experienced work-at-home mom. She used to work a grueling job with long hours until she decided to take the leap of faith and work at home instead. You can reach her at her blog: Surveillance For Security or on Twitter, @JanetMiller168.