Get the most out of your day at the office

What would your life be like if you could make every day at work a great day?

Julie Alexander, president of Great Days Presentations in Garland, Texas, and author of Make Life Count! 50 Ways to Great Days, asks people in her seminars to complete this sentence: "I have a great day at work when…"

"Most people complete this sentence by adding, 'I have a great day at work when I get things done,'" Alexander says. "I'll never forget one woman's comment. This was a woman who worked for a large hospital as an administrative assistant and had to take directions from three bosses. Instead of complaining, this woman said, 'I have a great day at work when I choose to have one.'"

If you've been feeling like a victim at your job, you may be able to change your approach to work. Even if your situation is difficult, you can make choices to create better days at work. Here are a few.

Start the day before

"A great day at work really starts at the end of the day by clearing off your desk, figuring out what you need to do the next day, then prioritizing those things the best you can, realizing you're probably going to be interrupted," Alexander says.

Focus on your work

"People who have great days are the ones who are able to focus on their work a little better than others. Some people use work time to take care of their personal stuff," Alexander says. "They're caught up with making personal phone calls or chatting with people about their problems, then they get stressed when they don't get everything done."

To help you set aside your personal distractions, write them on a piece of paper or in a journal. When you write out personal problems that are bothering you, it keeps them from swirling around in your head and distracting you from your work.

Give 100 percent

"People who have great days at work are the ones who give 100 percent," Alexander says. "Many people do just enough to get by or stay out of trouble. People who give their best tend to get caught up in their work and, therefore, enjoy more of what they're doing."

Reward yourself

Your supervisor may not notice your extra efforts all the time, so it's your responsibility to reward yourself for giving extra effort to your job.

Make a list of 10-minute rewards—things that are fun for you: taking a walk outside, reading a joke book, listening to music. Then take a short reward break, in the middle of the morning and in the middle of the afternoon. Taking a couple of short breaks during the day also will help lower your stress so you can accomplish more when you get back to work.

Get along

"People who have great days at work are good at getting along with others," Alexander says. "They make a sincere effort to get along with their coworkers, supervisors, and clients or customers."

While you may not like all the people you work with, you can show everyone respect and consideration.

"All through the day you're making choices," Alexander says. "The ways in which you do your work, get along with people, and view your job are some of the choices you make, and you can choose to make it a great day."

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