Project Happiness: Work

In an effort to fill my 2 books a month quota, I picked up a well-loved copy of The Happiness Project and threw it in my teacher bag before I headed to work one morning. I had read this book many times, and always appreciated the stories and speckles of advice that were thrown in between the pages.

I used to think it was silly to read about happiness and create a project around it - it seemed immature and sort of ditzy. But, as I grew up, got more stressed out, and noticed how quickly life was flying by, I realized that making sure you live a happy life isn’t dumb or immature, it actually shows a lot of strength. As a person who is paralyzed by anger and annoyance most of the time, I think having my own happiness project shows an effort to change for the better. What’s stupid about that?

During this month I wanted to focus my energy on improving my happiness and productivity at work. Lucky for me, I get to do what I am passionate about every single day, but I know I have areas to improve on. At the end of this month I’ll be transitioning into a permanent, much more difficult position. I’ll be in charge of a lot of paperwork, and finally have my own classroom that I can claim my own (mainly by organizing and decorating it myself). It’s so thrilling to think about this, but also nerve wracking. I’ve got a page-long to do list for the next few weekends to prepare, but my happiness project goals will hopefully keep me on top of things throughout the month.

1// Have a clean desk:
I am notorious for having a disastrous desk. It’s a huge flaw of mine, and a habit I really want to change. As I’m starting my new job this month I want to make sure I have a clean desk when I get in every morning. Hopefully I can come up with some type of filing system so mountains of paper don’t end up taking over my workspace.

2// Build relationships: Because I’m going into a new specialty, new colleagues are going to be a part of my daily routine. That means getting along and building solid relationships with them. I want to use the people around me to learn, and I also want to do my best to help them. I want to interact with the new people I’ll be working with, and hopefully create some solid friendships. I know myself well enough to recognize that sometimes I isolate myself from colleagues, and that does no good. I like where I work and I’ve enjoyed getting to know the people in my 7th grade position, so hopefully that trend follows into my new EC position.

3// Give 110%:
My dad always said this too me when I started a new chapter in life. Give whatever you are doing 110% - and it’s something that I really want to focus on this month. Work has always been fun for me; I truly enjoy teaching. But, certain days I just don't put my all into what i should be doing. Those days I feel crappy and like a bad teacher. On the days that I know I’m giving this job all I’ve got I feel motivated and inspired. I want to stay that way. I’m not sure exactly how I’ll be giving 110% into this SPED job, but I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

4// Create a routine:
This is so vital to me as a person. If I don’t have a routine for the day mapped out, I’m mentally and physically frazzled. It’s a huge flaw, but is something that came along with the crippling anxiety I get from time to time. My anxiety skyrockets on days I don’t follow a routine. I know that I’m going to have a schedule of classes, as well as a certain time for lunch and planning, but I want to make sure I have a more detailed way I’m spending my time. I need to make sure I’m productive, and that my kids are productive too. I haven’t spent too much time getting to know my new kids, mainly because I have to finish teaching my 7th graders, but I have a feeling a strict and solid routine is something they need (along with every other child in middle school).

Creating my Happiness Project goals has been a lot of fun, because I get to look back over my long term goals, track my progress, and start identifying ways that I can improve myself and my everyday life. Gretchen Reuben’s Happiness Project book is a great read, and I say that with complete confidence - I’ve read it at least 4 times.