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In an increasingly demanding workplace, producing results often requires the ability to handle multiple projects at the same time. For most people, this has come to mean multitasking, or literally doing several things at once. Beyond the obvious negative impact this juggling act has on our productivity, the effects on our stress level and overall happiness are even more profound. Without the ability to focus and deeply appreciate a task, it becomes very difficult to identify what we love in our work and what we don’t. As Cal Newport describes in his book “ Deep Work ,” one key to great work - and to work happiness too, I would argue - is to develop the ability to focus on one thing at a time. (Here’s a nice video summary of the book and here’s Cal’s TED Talk on quitting Social Media ). And if you have to manage multiple things at once? Prioritize, don’t multitask. See if you can tackle them one at a time with deep focus, even if only for 20 minutes each. -- Written by  Younes Lattenist
Dreaming about what we want is exciting. It’s also the first step to actually getting it. But when it comes to work, there’s nothing like doing the stuff to get a real feel for it . We can dream and imagine all we want, but the ultimate test is how we feel while performing the task. Management consulting firms get that. That’s one reason they use case-style interviews . The truth is, if you prepare enough you can ace a case interview and potentially fool the employer ( and yourself ) into thinking you’d be great at the job. The smart way to do it is to take full advantage of that “free sample” of work. Ask yourself if you enjoyed tackling the scenarios presented to you. Then trust your feeling. If you did not enjoy the case interview, regardless of your performance, you’ll be better off not taking the job. Whether we are assessing a new job opportunity or simply trying to figure out our next move, getting a real taste of the task is critical. Whenever possible, ask for and taste that “free sample.” -- Written by  Younes Lattenist
As we move up the corporate ladder, one of the easiest ways to stop doing the parts of our work we find unpleasant is to get someone else to do it for us. There is a catch, though. Finding happiness by making other people unhappy is unsustainable. One way or another it’ll come back to bite us. But there is a way everybody can win: when you become a teaching hand instead of a tasking hand. Whenever you need to get rid of a task you don’t enjoy, try to find a way to use that task to teach someone a skill, a habit or a mindset that will develop that person professionally. Then make sure they know and understand what’s in it for them. Help them connect the dots. Teach them. You’ll win twice and the positive effects will continue for a much longer time than you could have ever imagined. -- Written by  Younes Lattenist
One of the most simple yet powerful definitions of happiness is finding the balance between enjoying the present moment and being excited about the future. What if worrying about the future prevents you from enjoying the good things that are happening to you now? Finding balance actually requires the ability to focus on one thing at a time . Trying to do two or more things at the same time will surely put you out of balance. Ever find yourself thinking about work while spending time with friends or family? How enjoyable was that moment - especially for your friends and family? As an aside, I like to picture a pendulum rather than scales when I think of balance. The good news is that once you realize that balance actually means alternating focus, you will be able to use one of your most important mental tools: your off switch. Literally picture a switch in your mind to make it clear that you are making the conscious choice of focusing on one thing over another for a certain period of time. That’s it. Worry is usually a result of overthinking that leads to fixating on possible negative outcomes rather than possible positive ones. When that happens, use your off switch to come back to a more positive environment for a while. This will make it easier to return to the right way of thinking about your future: being excited about it. -- Written by  Younes Lattenist
Just because reminding ourselves about all the reasons we have to be happy now is so important to our future happiness, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. Sometimes, we might even feel it’s impossible to think of reasons to be happy. But when that happens it is even more important to find a way to get back on track and realize that things are not that bad after all. (They usually aren’t.) Here’s a good way to approach these most challenging times: Whenever your mind ventures into negative territory, use it to your advantage. How? By thinking about the things you have right now that you would not want to lose. These are the things you would not trade for anything in the world - even to get rid of the thing that is making you unhappy right now. These are the things that are at the core of Your Happy. Make sure you keep them top of mind. Because they have the power to put you back on your happy track whenever you need them. -- Written by  Younes Lattenist
Here's one of the most paradoxical but important truths about happiness: “To be happy in the future, we need to know how to be happy now.” Why? Because happiness (or unhappiness) is not imposed on us by the world around us. It comes from our ability to take control of our emotions by deciding how we perceive our world. At any given time we have an unlimited number of reasons to be happy - and an equally unlimited number of reasons to be unhappy. Our level of happiness is simply a reflection of our ability to focus on the reasons to be happy and disregard the rest. Before you start planning a brighter future, take a moment to remind yourself about all the reasons you have to be happy now. Then you’ll be well on your way to an even happier one! -- Written by  Younes Lattenist
We're social animals (at least most of us). So, what do we do when we're not crazy about the work we do - but love the people we work with? I wrote about something very similar a while ago: a bad boss might be a blessing while a good boss could be a curse, depending on our fit with the job. The people we work with are only one part of the equation, like salary and other important considerations. I believe it’s a mistake to prioritize our relationships with co-workers over the work itself. That’s not to say we shouldn’t befriend our colleagues. However, we cannot build professional foundations on social relationships alone. We have to start with the work itself, then we can build great relationships on top of that. -- Written by  Younes Lattenist
What kind of work would you gladly take a pay cut in exchange for making it your full-time job? Warning: this might be your true calling. Is your current job on that list? Mine wasn't. -- Written by  Younes Lattenist
You need a job. What do you do? If you’re like most people you’ll go back to your resume, update it with your latest experience and start applying to positions similar to your last one. You’ll go after what you know you can do. Whether or not it gets you what you want seems irrelevant at this point. “Let’s get some job offers first, and then I’ll pick the best one,” you say to yourself. It’s the safe thing to do… But is it really? Going after what you want might be scarier - but it’s not riskier. In reality, smart employers (the ones you want to work for) are craving applicants that truly want to do the job more than those who simply can. Forget about your resume. Instead, picture your ideal position, identify the gaps between where you are now and where you want to be, and look at positions that will get you there. Those positions do exist - and they are the ones that can truly make you work happy . But the only way to find those jobs is to look for them. Now, onward and upward! -- Written by  Younes Lattenist
Have you ever felt like you could do more than what you currently do if only you were given the opportunity? If you are good at your job but your manager does not give you more opportunity, it might be because you don’t have enough visibility. Bosses are busy (usually with poor performers and with their own crises). And if you are doing a great job, this might actually remove you temporarily from their attention because “your work is under control.” Here's a simple experiment that can show the people who matter in your organization your true potential and accelerate your professional growth. Objective Increase your responsibilities and get you closer to your next promotion. Materials The job description that goes with your next promotion. Steps 1. Have a conversation with your direct manager to confirm that you are good at your current job and identify any aspects of your current work that need improvement. Then make those improvements. 2. Once you’re positive you are above average in your current job, trigger conversations with every person who influences the decision to promote you. During these conversations, ask about their priorities. Then ask which priorities they wished they had more resources to help with. 3. In the next couple of days, compare and find the overlap between the priorities discussed above, the job description of your next promotion and which tasks you feel you can ace. Then re-engage the person and offer to take ownership of a side project to help out. Outcome Opportunity to take on new responsibilities and ace a project aligned with the priorities of the people who will make the decision on your next promotion. Managers have a challenge when it comes to promoting people. They know that doing your current job well is not necessarily an indication that you will do well in your new job after being promoted. So anything that helps them predict your success in a new role will have a huge impact on the decision to promote you. But of course this will only happen if you have the visibility that comes from working on things that matter to them. -- Written by  Younes Lattenist