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Jaclyn Margolis Says Four Simple Changes Can Make Your Workday Better in Psychology Today

Is your workday leaving you drained and uninspired? Do you find yourself longing for a more enjoyable and fulfilling professional experience? You're not alone.

According to a 2018 Gallup survey, approximately 23 percent of employees in the United States reported feeling burned out often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes. The impact of employee stressis staggeringcosting businesses nearly $190 billion annually in healthcare expenses in the United States alone.

Jaclyn Margolis, an Associate Professor of Applied Behavioral Science with Pepperdine Graziadio Business School who teaches in the Part-Time and Full-Time MBA programs, writes about four simple changes and interventions designed to improve your workday and enhance your overall well-being based on organizational and psychological research.

Although these interventions won't completely eliminate stress and burnout, they can set you on the path to a better workday by offering practical strategies to enhance your overall experience.

  1. Three Good Things

The "Three Good Things" intervention is a simple practice that involves writing down three positive things that occurred during the workday. Research conducted with healthcare workers demonstrated that the Three Good Things practice reduced burnout levels and increased happiness, with the observed effects lasting for up to a year after its implementation.

  1. Give Yourself a Mini Recess

Just as children benefit from a rejuvenating recess break at school, incorporating a "recess" into your workday, even if it's just for five or ten minutes, can greatly benefit you. Schedule short, intentional breaks to disconnect from work and recharge. Academic research refers to these as "micro-breaks," and studies have shown that they have a significant impact on employee well-being and productivity.

  1. Gratitude at Work

At the end of each workday, set aside a few minutes to reflect and write down what you are grateful for, embracing both significant and minor aspects. Make an effort to identify new and fresh elements of gratitude daily. Researchers found that employees who engaged in gratitude journaling about work for two weeks experienced an increased sense of control over their work tasks and improved their interactions with their coworkers.

  1. Transition Ritual

As you wind down your workday, transitioning your focus from work to home can be challenging. To facilitate this shift, take a few moments to jot down any urgent tasks or lingering thoughts related to work. By shifting these matters from your head to a piece of paper, you can prevent them from hindering your ability to fully engage in your personal life. Consider revisiting these notes at the start of your next workday as a helpful reminder of your priorities. This practice can assist you in transitioning from your role as an employee to other significant roles in your life, such as being a parent, friend, spouse, or simply being yourself. Engaging in a transition ritual such as this one is vital in promoting healthy psychological detachment from work and facilitating effective recovery from the stresses of the workday.

Read the full blog in Psychology Today.