In our last webinar, Nomensa’s Principal UX Consultant Luiza Frederico hosted a webinar on ‘20 tips for a happier work life’. In this blog, we’ll take you through Luiza’s tips which vary from workload management to personal confidence and everything in between.

At Nomensa, our leadership team are committed to creating a culture of happiness. We understand that people spend so much time at work, so it should be fun and rewarding. We hope you find Luiza’s tips helpful and that they help you to be happier at work.


Workload

Workload: 1. Learn to say no, 2. Sometimes you have to compromise, 3. Turn on the f*** it button

Tip 1: Learn to say no

Now, this may seem obvious, but so many people around us struggle with this concept. Understandably, it can be particularly hard when you are a junior member within a team and someone senior asks something of you. You don’t want to say no but understand what you can and cannot push back on. Otherwise, you may risk putting too much on your plate, which can result in you not doing a job right or delivering work under your normal standard.

Don’t feel guilty, just learn to be realistic with yourself and the workload you can efficiently take on.

Tip 2: Sometimes you have to compromise

Linked to the previous tip; when you do say no to something and you are feeling that push and pressure, you may need to have that frank conversation that involves you asking yourself ‘where is the compromise going to happen?’ Something has to ‘give’, and in the broad scheme of things, you will not be happy if you are trying to achieve the impossible and failing whilst trying to do so.

These conversations tend to happen around the planning stage; trying to balance out how you can do the best within the time you are given. Ultimately you cannot have it all and once you come to terms with this, you can go forward and plan realistically. This gives you a higher chance of meeting not only your own expectations, but also your clients.

Tip 3: Turn on the f$ck it button

A personal favourite of Luiza’s after a rather stressful time at her previous job. Her Mum’s advice: “turn on the ‘f*** it’ button”. This is something you switch on when something is out of your control and/or causing you to stress out. Pressing this ‘button’ does not mean you do not care about your job. it just simply means you are taking care of your mind and improving your ability to deal with problems and challenges; knowing what to stress out about and what not to stress out about is an important skill when talking about taking control of your own happiness.

Communication

Communication: 4. Say what is on your mind, 5. Be assertive, 6. Have courage

Tip 4: Say what is on your mind

No one is a mind reader; you cannot expect others to understand how you are feeling if you do not communicate. Say what is on your mind, this means being clear, open and honest. It is the same when asking for help, it is okay to be vulnerable and you should not be ashamed. Vulnerability does not mean incompetence and you will see that expressing your feelings can be a very powerful skill in leveraging your team and team support.

Tip 5: Be assertive

Luiza describes this as one of her main themes for growth in her personal and professional life. She has learnt that being assertive does not mean being rude or barging your way through, but rather speaking up with confidence and being heard at the right time. Sometimes a situation calls for us to hold back on over accommodating, it is not wrong for us to respectfully hold our ground.

Tip 6: Have courage

Have you ever been on a phone call, and someone has used a term that you do not understand? You feel silly for not knowing, so you keep quiet? Then, a ‘hero’ speaks up and asks the questions you were going to ask. You can be that ‘hero’, the person who helps clarify a situation for others. Don’t assume someone knows everything, a basic question to some may not be so very basic to others. No matter how simple, it is important to ask questions. Practise this and you also practise shedding your ego.

Relationships

Relationships: 7. Really get to know your colleagues and clients, 8. It's just a job, 9. Do good for others

Tip 7: Really get to know your colleagues and clients

We are social animals, so it is important that we are open and get to know our clients and colleagues as people. By understanding one another, we can get the best out of each other. You may have heard of the phrase ‘treat people the way you would want to be treated’. We should focus more on treating people the way they want to be treated.

Tip 8: It’s just a job

It’s good to know everyone on a personal level as people are so much more than their jobs and roles. This includes you. Connect with your team and the individuals who you work with on a weekly basis - and have fun! When things become a little stressful and consuming, it is important to remember ‘it’s just a job’. If you had to list down the most important parts of your life right now, you would probably find that your job doesn’t even make top three. Ultimately, nothing is worth sacrificing your health or personal relationships over.

Tip 9: Do good for others

Simply making others feel good, makes you feel good. Research shows that when you do something of a generous nature, it has big mood boosting benefits on the brain. This can come in many different forms – from offering someone a cup of tea or lunch when they are too busy at their desk or offering to stay behind one evening when someone is trying to meet a deadline. Maybe just complementing someone and giving out positive comments, as this can raise others confidence. Do good and share good.

Confidence

Confidence: 10. Everyone's winging it, 11. Your natural gift, 12. Collective success

Tip 10: Everyone is winging it

Luiza was a few years into her career when she overheard a senior member, who was preparing for a team presentation, say, ‘don’t worry, everyone is winging it and just doing their best’. It’s true! Everyone is just doing their best and no-one has it all figured out. Those who suffer with imposter syndrome – most people who care about what they do – remember that you are worth it. Be confident in yourself and most importantly be honest about what you know. As you become more senior in your career you may find that you will need to give yourself that ‘pat on the back’. Be your own cheerleader!

Tip 11: Your natural gift

We are all born with that one thing. That thing that comes naturally and has done since we were kids. It is inherent to you and part of your personality. For Luiza, this was always planning. Her parents say she would spend more time preparing and planning the game she was going to play, than actually playing it. This ‘gift’ has benefited her throughout her career in UX and she has only seen benefits from using it. So, it’s good for you to ask yourself, what are my natural gifts?

Tip 12: Collective success

You will make mistakes; you are human after all! But just because you make these mistakes doesn’t mean everyone is judging you for it. It’s more likely they’re rooting for you and supporting from behind the scenes. Don’t let your lack of confidence stop you from seeing the truth. We all want you to succeed! Your success will usually be the beginning of someone else’s.

Your worth

Your worth: 13. You are not a tree, 14. You are not a charity, 15. Know your worth, 16. Don't ask don't get

Tip 13: You are not a tree

You can move from one place to another, if you are unhappy with your job don’t stay there for years on end complaining about the same problems. When you have challenging times think, what can I change about this, how can I make things better. Nothing will change if you don’t decide to get up and do something about it.

Tip 14: You are not a charity

We exchange our services and skills for money – there should be no reason for working for free, unless you are willingly doing pro bono work or some type of work experience. Make sure that you are not taken advantage of in certain circumstances. All these favours that you find yourself doing for colleagues, seniors, connections, you should simply see as value exchanges.

Tip 15: Know your worth

There’s nothing worse than finding out that you are being underpaid, it can make you feel undervalued. To ensure this doesn’t happen, do your research. This means finding out and understanding what the market rate is for someone in your position in the local area. Unfortunately, we do still live in a world where women, ethnic minorities, and those with disabilities are at a systemic disadvantage when it comes to equal pay. Also, remember that financial pay isn’t the only form of payment. You may find that you aren’t being paid loads, but gaining in other ways, such as training and development, or support from a big team. It’s all about asking yourself, is this value exchange fair?

Tip 16: Don’t ask, don’t get

This is a big part in being proactive. If you want something, just ask for it. The worst that can happen is that the response is, no. And this isn’t just about money/salary, pay rise and promotions – for instance, you may find you want to spend more time at a certain location and it doesn’t cost the company any less or more for you to do so. These little things, unless you ask for them, will be overlooked.

Effort

Effort: 17. Be present, 18. The right level of challenge, 19. Ask for feedback, 20. Get involved in the success of the company

Tip 17: Be present

Luiza is a big believer in a healthy work life balance and giving your all wherever you are. If you are at work, be focused and productive. If you are at home, turn your laptop and emails off. Having a clear and healthy boundary with where you work and where you relax is extremely important. And now more than ever – with COVID and remote working – it is more important to find and maintain.

Tip 18: The right level of challenge

Challenges, if you are up for them, are a great way to keep things fresh at work. Making sure that you force yourself into those slightly more difficult scenarios helps you to develop and can benefit your mental health as well as growth. It can be fun when you ask for the right type of challenge, just make sure you understand if it is the right one for you in that moment. You may find that a slow cruising job works best due to your present life situation. Don’t feel guilty for understanding your limitations. Happiness at work isn’t a string of more challenging and higher paid jobs, it means having the right job for you, at the right time.

Tip 19: Ask for feedback

It takes a lot of effort not only listening to feedback but also actioning it, especially when it comes to changing behaviours. But, if you put in the hard work and dedication, you will notice improvements in yourself. You will even start hearing positive comments from those around you. It is another long-term tip, but it will take you that step closer to being happier.

Tip 20: Get involved in the success of the company

This is not just in terms of projects and initiatives, sales, or important strategic decisions, but the culture of the company. An employer can state what they stand for but a lot of the time these principles come from the top-down. Culture is built from the ground-up. When we think of success, we should think of the environment in which we work, the feeling you get when stepping into the office. Be the person who builds or adds to the positive and happy setting.

And because some tips are a little easier and self-explanatory, here are some of Luiza’s extra suggestions to help you reach your ‘happier work life’:

Bonus tip

Bonus tip

“Do small things that bring you joy”

Such as…

  • Listening to music
  • Sing, hum, or whistle
  • Eat something tasty
  • Hug someone you love
  • Pull funny faces in the mirror
  • Stretch and take deep breaths
  • Go for walks to clear your head
  • Watch cat videos on Youtube
  • Look at your favourite photos
  • Laugh with friends

If you’re pondering your next move and you’re interested in joining team Nomensa, we would love to hear from you!

Check out our latest roles on our careers page, and don’t worry if you can’t see something that’s the right fit for you – we’re always on the lookout for talented individuals to join our team so please do get in touch all the same.

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