Category Archives: Monday Tips

Monday Tip: Anagrams

The Chief Happiness Officer's monday tipsI got an email from Mike Dytham, a project manager at Barclay’s, who’s been doing anagrams for all the people in his department. The new names are… interesting :o)

  • Chris Benton = Robin Stench (a proud 2nd place!)
  • Claire Rainbird = Cider Librarian (a creditable 3rd place)
  • Dan Hartwright = Hard Thwarting
  • James Knupfer = See Frank Jump
  • Tom Coulbeck = Emu Boltcock (what a great name!)
  • Matt Risk = Smart Kit (or even Mark Tits)
  • Kate Baron = Anorak Bet or Oat Banker
  • Dominic Gloag = Claiming Good, Coiling Dogma
  • Anup Purohit = Pinup Author
  • Harris Musau = Samurai Rush (he is one of my Kenyan team)

The winner of best anagram goes to the name of their department, PMC operations, which shall henceforth be known as (pick your favourite) Campsite P0rno, impact snooper, promotes panic,† or tampon copiers.

Mike also informed me that my new name is now Axe Fulljerk. Thanks, Mike! From now on, you’re “The Dimm Yak”.

What are some good anagrams for your name, your co-workers’ names or your department’s name? Get a competition going and see what people come up with.

Mike recommends http://wordsmith.org/anagram/advanced.html, if you want to get in on the game.

The Chief Happiness Officer’s Monday tips are simple, easy, fun things you can do to make yourself and others happy at work and get the work-week off to a great start. Something everyone can do in five minutes, tops. When you try it, write a comment here to tell me how it went.

Previous Monday tips.

Monday Tip

The Chief Happiness Officer's monday tipsWe’re reviving one of my favorite traditions on this blog namely the Monday Tip. Every Monday, we’ll give you one simple tool, trick, tip or idea that you can use to make yourself or your co-workers a little happier.

This week’s tip is to put something fun on your office door (or your cubicle wall) where co-workers, employees and bosses will see it.

This 2-minute video shows you how – and if you can do it in a bank, I guess it can be done anywhere :o)

What will you put on your door? Have a happy week!

The Chief Happiness Officer’s Monday tips are simple, easy, fun things you can do to make yourself and others happy at work and get the work-week off to a great start. Something everyone can do in five minutes, tops. When you try it, write a comment here to tell me how it went.

Previous Monday tips.

Monday Tip: How’s everybody doing?

The Chief Happiness Officer's monday tipsHow happy are your coworkers today? How can you tell? You mission this Monday is to find out!

This is what you must do:

  1. Make a list of all your coworkers who are at work today. Put your boss on the list too, just for kicks (if she’s in today).
  2. Observe them quietly for a while as you go about your work. Just talk to them as you normally would and be your regular self.
  3. Ask yourself how happy each person looks today.
  4. Write down how happy each person looks. Not on a scale from 1-10 (that’s much too complicated), just notice if the person seems Unhappy, Neutral or Happy.
  5. Also write down what you’ve observed that led you to this conclusion.

Here’s what the list could look like:

John – Happy – Has a big smile on his face and is very energetic today
Mia – Neutral – Seems very quiet today, but not really unhappy
Joe – Unhappy – Looks really stressed out
Tina – Happy – Was really chatty and happy during lunch

You don’t have to look for what makes people happy or unhappy and you don’t have to do anything about it. This exercise is about figuring out whether you can tell who is happy it unhappy at work and how you can tell.

This is a great exercise because it trains your ability to focus on your surroundings. Many of us go through our work days exclusively focused on the work we do, often not noticing people right next to us who may be either very happy (and thus great company) or very unhappy (and thus in need of our help).

Noticing each other in this way is a great way to build better relationships at work and this invariably leads to more happiness at work.

A final question: What if you did this exercise with your family?

The Chief Happiness Officer’s Monday tips are simple, easy, fun things you can do to make yourself and others happy at work and get the work-week off to a great start. Something everyone can do in five minutes, tops. When you try it, write a comment here to tell me how it went.

Previous Monday tips.

Monday Tip: Change your to-do list to a could-do list

The Chief Happiness Officer's monday tipsAre you also burdened by your todo-list? Feeling the pressure of overdue items screaming at you in red? Want to stop procrastinating and do something about it?

Here’s a tip from Hilda Carroll, who wrote me with a great idea that you can try this Monday:

I saw your request for tips, and this is something Iíve been doing for several months now when I noticed my ĎTo Doí list was generating a sense of frustration.

Now, I write a ĎCould Doí list, instead of a ĎTo Doí list. When I draw up my daily lists of tasks I refuse to see it as stuff I have to get done. When I did that in the past, Iíd feel a sense of dissatisfaction at the end of the day when I didnít have everything ticked off, despite the fact that I knew when I wrote it, it was highly unlikely Iíd get to everything.

Itís a tiny shift, but by viewing it as a list of things I could do today, Iím relieving the pressure to get them all done. It feels like thereís more of an element of choice around how I spend my time Ė I donít have to do x today, I could leave it till tomorrow and focus more attention on y today instead.

Now, at the end of the day, I donít mind how many ticks I do or donít have against the items on my list, and I feel better about my dayís work because there is no shadow from what I should have done and didnít.

I think that’s a fantastic idea. It’s a subtle shift inside your own mind that is likely to help you get started. In my experience, taking the pressure off yourself makes you more likely to get stuff done. Which is of course a sharp contrast to traditional business thinking which holds that greater pressure = greater performance.

If you’re still not getting your could-do items done, you can also read my previous post on How to procrastinate effectively.

The Chief Happiness Officer’s Monday tips are simple, easy, fun things you can do to make yourself and others happy at work and get the work-week off to a great start. Something everyone can do in five minutes, tops. When you try it, write a comment here to tell me how it went.

Previous monday tips.

Monday Tip: Make a happy email signature

EmailI don’t know about you but I get a LOT of email! Even after the spam filter has done its thing I’m still more or less deluged and of course every single mail must be answered, which means I also send a lot of mails (btw: If you’ve sent me email and I haven’t answered – have patience, I will :o)

Every email says something about the person who’s sent it. It serves in some way to tell people who you are. So your mission this Monday is to make yourself an email signature that somehow expresses who you are and what you do and which will make whoever receives your email a little happier.

I’ve seen many great examples. My Iowan buddy Mike Wagner signs all his emails:

Keep creating,
Mike

Phil Gerbyshak who blogs at Make It Great of course has no choice but to sign his

Make it a GREAT day!
Phil

Some people end their emails with a funny quote or a wise saying, such as these:

All generalizations are false.

I don’t suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.

“Very funny, Scotty. Now beam down my clothes.”

So think about how you can sign all your mails in a way that expresses who you are AND makes whoever reads it a little happier. If you come up with something cool (or if you already use a great email signature), please post it here in a comment – I’d love to see how you do it :o)

The Chief Happiness Officer’s Monday tips are simple, easy, fun things you can do to make yourself and others happy at work and get the work-week off to a great start. Something everyone can do in five minutes, tops. When you try it, write a comment here to tell me how it went.

Previous monday tips.

Monday Tip: Use your strengths at work

The Chief Happiness Officer's monday tipsI talk to a lot of people who are struggling to find a sense of their contribution to the workplace. They keep wondering what their role is, how they create value and, in a certain sense, what their identity is at work.

Do you know what you’re really good at in your job? Where you shine? Do you have a good sense of your contribution to the workplace?

Your mission this Monday is to learn more about your strengths at work by taking the VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire. This test has been developed as part of Martin Seligmann’s work in positive psychology and indicates what your top 5 signature strengths are out of a total of 24 potential personal strengths.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Go take†the VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire. You’ll be asked to register as a user first but it is free.
  2. Take the test. It has 240 questions so this can take a while :o)
  3. Make a list of your top 5 strengths.
  4. For each of your top 5 signature strengths, try to write down some situations at work where you use those strengths.
  5. Take a look at your list. What strengths do you get to use often at work? These represent your main contribution to the workplace.
  6. What strengths do you rarely or never use at work? These represent untapped potential for you and your workplace. Is there any way you could get to use them more often?
  7. If you like, come back to this post and write your top 5 strengths in a comment so we can get to know each other a little better. I already wrote my top strengths in a comment :o)

This is a great exercise because it helps you discover your personal contribution to the workplace and also to find out of you have strengths that you are not currently using at work. Using your strengths daily is an important factor in becoming happy at work and in life. It will also make you more successful at work.

Finally, a strength-based approach where you look at your personal strengths and how you can use them more at work is a lot more effective and a lot more fun than looking at your shortcomings and problems.

The Chief Happiness Officer’s Monday tips are simple, easy, fun things you can do to make yourself and others happy at work and get the work-week off to a great start. Something everyone can do in five minutes, tops. When you try it, write a comment here to tell me how it went.

Previous monday tips.

Monday Tip: Ask a co-worker about his best vacation ever

The Chief Happiness Officer's monday tipsI know this seems too simple to actually work, but trust me, it does!

Your mission on this Monday is to ask a co-worker, at a suitable time of your choosing, what his or her best vacation ever was. Then listen interestedly to the answer and ask some follow-up questions. Good question might be:

  • So what did you like about it?
  • What was the best thing about it?
  • How did your family like it (assuming they traveled with their family?

This is a great way to get people talking because:

  • Everybody has vacations.
  • Everybody likes vacations.
  • Everybody is passionate about their vacations and put a lot of effort and thought into them.

If you feel you need an excuse to ask, you can always do it in the guise of asking for tips for your next vacation.

Why is this a good thing? Happiness at work is very much about good workplace relationships. It’s about making genuine connections between human beings, rather than between co-workers or bosses or employees.

You can’t really make these connections if you only ever talk about work, and you make the best connections when you get people talking about their good experiences. Sitting around the lunch table bitching about the weather, the taxes or your commute does NOT create good workplace relations or, indeed, much happiness at work.

The Chief Happiness Officer’s Monday tips are simple, easy, fun things you can do to make yourself and others happy at work and get the work-week off to a great start. Something everyone can do in five minutes, tops. When you try it, write a comment here to tell me how it went.

Previous monday tips.

Monday Tip: Get som gourmet coffee (or tea)

The Chief Happiness Officer's monday tipsWhat would happen, if just for one day the regular, anonymous coffee in your workplace had been replaced by some kind of delicious gourmet brew?

Maybe some Indian Willoughby AA, some Sumatran Green Mountain or if you’re feeling especially adventurous, how about some weasel coffee where the coffee beans have been eaten and then chucked up by weasels. No, I’m not kidding.

That’s your Monday mission this week. Hit up your corner coffee shop for some good coffee and enjoy that in the office. If you print out a little sign explaining the new coffee and what kind it is – even better!

Of course, this works with tea too :o)

The Chief Happiness Officer’s Monday tips are simple, easy, fun things you can do to make yourself and others happy at work and get the work-week off to a great start. Something everyone can do in five minutes, tops. When you try it, write a comment here to tell me how it went.

Previous monday tips.

Monday Tip: Workplace fun and games

The Chief Happiness Officer's monday tipsYour mission this Monday is to have some fun at work. Even Tom Peters thinks this is an absolute necessity:

Don’t do it [work] unless it’s fun.
Make it fun. (Always possible, per me.)
Make it fun for others. (Which makes it fun/more fun for you.)

– Tom Peters (source)

How do you make work fun? Here are a few ideas you can try out this Monday.

Amber recommends Silly Putty.

I bought a pound of Silly Putty in bulk and gave a chunk to each of my team. It is amazing the pen holders, stress relievers, sculptures, etc. that have evolved. Well worth the $15!

Shel recommends candy and workplace toys:

I put a bowl of peppermint lifesavers (you can buy them in bags, individually wrapped for hygene) on my desk. Lots of people stop by and grab one – which has lead to some great conversations – work and other wise. I also have a Rubicís Cube, a Magic 8 Ball, and this bizarre plastic ball made up of geometric parts that cause it to flip inside out (changing its colour) when tossed in the air, a mini Zen garden, and other items to busy oneís hands while talking – or just hanging out. Itís a great way to create a relaxing atmosphere!

I’ve always been partial to foosball myself, but maybe that’s too Silicon Valley, dot-com-boom for your workplace.

If you need inspiration, there are plenty more toys here…

How do you create some fun at work? Write a comment, I’d really like to know!

The Chief Happiness Officer’s Monday tips are simple, easy, fun things you can do to make yourself and others happy at work and get the work-week off to a great start. Something everyone can do in five minutes, tops. When you try it, write a comment here to tell me how it went.

Previous monday tips.

Monday Tip: Complain

The Chief Happiness Officer's monday tipsBet you never saw this one coming: Yes, the Chief Happiness Officer wants you to complain at work.

Complaining is good for you and for the workplace. Show me a workplace where no one ever complains, and I’ll show you a workplace where people are so afraid of conflict and uncomfortable conversation that very little change is possible.

However, you must complain constructively following the tips in this post. This means complaining at the right time, to the right person about the right problem. As opposed to just moaning all the time to whoever will listen about whatever bugs you the most.

So pick one problem that’s been bugging you at work and decide:

  • Who to raise it with
  • When to raise it
  • How to raise it

Then do it. No point in just letting that problem annoy you day after day – speak up and get it fixed.

Related:

The Chief Happiness Officer’s Monday tips are simple, easy, fun things you can do to make yourself and others happy at work and get the work-week off to a great start. Something everyone can do in five minutes, tops. When you try it, write a comment here to tell me how it went.

Previous monday tips.