Understanding how to stay positive at work has never been more important.

Whether you’re in an office or working from home, negative thoughts will do to your working day what wasps will do to a BBQ – completely and utterly ruin it.

So, here’s 5 easy steps to keep the wasps of your mind at bay (this is the metaphor I’ve chosen and I’m sticking with it).

1. Don’t hit snooze

It’s tempting to grab an extra five minutes of shuteye, especially when working from home. Jump out of bed, fire up your laptop and you’re there – easiest commute ever!

But this is a dangerous routine to fall into. Giving yourself time to shake off the cobwebs and mentally prepare for the day ahead makes a huge difference. If you spend the first hour of your working day rubbing the sleep from your eyes, your productivity will drop and the results will show.

An early start is the charcoal for your work BBQ… actually, I’ve changed my mind about this metaphor.

2. Create your perfect work environment

There’s nothing worse than a negative work environment… well, apart from all the pubs being closed.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. As long as your workspace gives you a feeling of comfort while enabling you to focus, that’s good enough.

Things like desk plants are a great way to create a more attractive, relaxed environment and help you maintain a positive attitude. Just don’t go overboard and turn your workspace into Jurassic World.

3. Surround yourself with positive people

Negativity and positivity have one thing in common – they’re infectious. Interacting with glass-half-full types is therefore an important part of staying positive at work.

Of course, this is easier said than done if you’re working remotely. But instead of wallowing in solitude, try and make time for a virtual coffee with your favourite co-worker (or, failing that, a friend). It’s impossible to completely avoid negative people, but if you can outweigh the negative with the positive then you’re on the right track.

If you find the negative feelings persisting – be it due to a difficult colleague, or even something more serious like running out of shows on Netflix – don’t be afraid to reach out to someone. Suffering in silence never solves anything.

4. Give yourself a break

Pushing yourself too hard can have a negative impact on your quality of work.

According to the HSE, frequent short breaks are better than long infrequent breaks. In other words, 5-minute breaks every hour are better than 20-minute breaks every three hours (that doesn’t include lunch, obviously. No one expects you to prepare and eat a microwave curry in five minutes).

So, whether you’re in the office or at home, taking regular breaks from your computer screen is a great way to stay positive. Just don’t use every break for coffee… eight coffees in eight hours never ends well.

5. Embrace the daily grind

The harder the work, the greater the satisfaction of getting it done.

If you’re going to stay positive at work, it’s important that you resolve any negative feelings you might have about your workload. This is where good task management and prioritisation can prove invaluable.

Breaking things down into smaller, more manageable tasks makes the day ahead seem less daunting. And if the thought of work doesn’t fill you with anxiety and dread, you’re on your way to a much more positive working life.

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