Most of us don’t lead Instagram-perfect lives by spending our days traveling the world’s white sand beaches or indulging in picture perfect meals at gourmet restaurants. Frankly, by comparison, most of us live pretty mundane lives. Whether you pull on dress slacks every morning and spend your days in a cubicle or freelance as a graphic designer, life probably isn’t necessarily all that exciting on a day to day basis. That’s why it’s up to each of us to wake up with a purpose and make magic of the more mundane aspects of our lives.
If you take public transportation to and from work every day, make an attempt to really cherish this time. While you’re riding along on the bus or subway, you could take the time to mentally prepare for your day by doing the 3x3 exercise or practicing meditation (Reading Recommendation: The Buddha Walks into the Office by Lodro Rinzler). If you’re interested in practicing mindfulness on the go, we suggest the HeadSpace app for meditation. On the way home after a long day, let go by indulging in a favorite hobby or practicing a new skill like sketching, writing poems, or memorizing Shakespeare (hey, we’re all a little different!).
If you drive yourself to work, multitask safely by listening to an audio book, practicing a new language aloud, or enjoying interesting podcasts.
Whatever you decide to do, the key is to utilize your time in a way that is personally fulfilling.
We know, we know… answering emails is an unavoidable responsibility in the workplace, and one that is rarely enjoyable. It’s an undeniable time-suck, and can even be the root of miscommunication and confusion. But, nevertheless, we challenge you to make the best of it.
Emails should ultimately serve the purpose of conveying clear and concise information, but they can also serve as an avenue to share your wit and personality with coworkers. The occasional well-placed gif or meme can be a great comedic relief in the middle of a stressful day. Try using a conversational and friendly tone when composing emails and don’t be afraid to compliment a coworker on a job well done or wish him a great weekend. You might just brighten his day.
Know your audience, be professional, and always check your spelling before hitting send--but don’t be afraid to have a little fun, too.
Even when your workload seems unbearably high, never underestimate the benefit of a well-spent lunch break. The lunch hour is the perfect time to catch up with coworkers and old friends, or shake it up and dine with someone new. Feeling adventurous? Get a regular group together and strive to try a new restaurant (or a new food) every week. If you’re determined to step outside of your comfort zone and make an effort to build professional relationships, check out Keith Ferrazzi’s book Never Eat Alone.
If you prefer to pack your lunch, be sure to treat yourself with a favorite snack or goodie every once in awhile. And on the days when you’re so busy you can barely step away to use the restroom, at least take a few moments to enjoy some deep breaths and stretch your muscles, call an old friend, or listen to a favorite song.
Sometimes we all need a little reminder that life is full of opportunities to experience happiness and joy in the little things.
Sometimes the best magic is created by doing nice things for those around us. Make it your personal mission to brighten someone else’s day every day. This can take so many different forms: Pay bus fare for the person behind you, bring in donuts ‘just because’, call your parents and tell them you love them, or just give your time and attention to someone who needs it most.
Every day can be a great day--it’s up to us to make it so.
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