IT is a question that has preoccupied a lot of people since the pandemic inspired a big re-think of many lives: how can I be happier at work?

Poole-based Chris Croft literally wrote the book on the subject – The Big Book of Happiness, which contains 87 practical tips on living more enjoyably.

Chris, who advises thousands through online courses and free smartphone apps, offered some tips to Daily Echo readers.

1. Get a project.

“One of our sources of happiness is a feeling of progress towards a worthwhile objective – a project, basically,” said Chris, who has written books and taught many courses on project management.

“It might be knitting a sweater or making a rug or building a shed or building your own house, but we love the feeling of a project. We like to build something and to feel our time’s not being wasted.”

2. Work hard.

“We actually get happiness from working hard,” Chris said.

“I know lots of people who go ‘Why should I work hard because I don’t get paid very much and my boss is horrible and why should I?’ The answer is, do it for yourself. Because if you’re always skiving and trying to find easy ways out and doing the minimum, you’re telling yourself that you’re wasting five days a week of your life.

“At work and in your personal life, we actually get happiness from doing a job that we’re proud of and working hard, so even if you hate your boss, work hard.”

That is not the same as doing a lot of unpaid overtime, though. “It’s not long hours. It’s just when you’re there, do the best you possibly can,” he added.

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Author and trainer Chris Croft

3. Be creative.

“We get happiness from being creative. Make sure there’s some creativity in your job and look for places where you can be creative. If you think you’re not a creative person, then you’re wrong, because everybody can be creative,” said Chris.

“Creativity is the number one role of management – because if everything stays the same, you don’t really need a boss. You need a boss to make sure everybody doesn’t skive off home early, I suppose, and health and safety perhaps, but really the purpose of management is to think ‘How can I make things better?’”

4. Keep learning.

“We get happiness from learning new things and that allows us then to be creative,” said Chris.

“Go on courses and learn as much as you can. If the organisation has online learning, then use it, or if you’ve got someone coming in to do a training course, then take it.

“I like to ask people: how long could you do a job for if you weren’t learning anything new?”

He remembers the six weeks he spent as an apprentice making washers on a lathe.

“By the sixth week, I was absolutely climbing the walls. I was trying to calculate how many washers I would have made by lunchtime and I was putting them in pyramids and trying to calculate how many washers were in the pyramid. We have to be learning new things,” he said.

5. Come out of your comfort zone.

“If they say ‘Who wants to do a talk at a conference?’, say ‘I’ll do it’,” said Chris.

“And in your personal life, go on a holiday that’s a little bit more scary than you would normally.

“I read ages ago, and it’s always haunted me, that we only regret the things we didn’t do.

“If in doubt, do it. Within health and safety, of course.”

6. Remember: your brain doesn’t know what’s good for you.

Our brain is still pretty much that of a cave dweller, Chris said.

“So for example, our brain tells us to eat the most food we can while it’s there, because what if there’s no food tomorrow?

“Your brain tells you that laziness is more efficient, so save energy and be lazy, but nowadays we don’t need to be lazy. We don’t have to go and hunt a mammoth.

“We’re so in our comfort zones nowadays and then our brain focuses on problems, on worrying about what might come up, which doesn’t make us happy.

“You have to push against laziness, you have to push against the urge to eat and drink as much as you can. And push against the belief particularly that money will make you happy. Because all the research says that money does not make us happy.”

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7. Get rid of negative emotions (or at least don’t wallow in them).

Guilt, anger, fear, jealousy… They’re not helping us.

“Can you choose not to get angry or not to be jealous?" said Chris.

"You really can, but you have to say to yourself ‘I’m not going to wallow in this. I’m not going to stoke the flames’."

8. Make sure you enjoy and achieve.

“I think a lot of people’s plan is to achieve at work and enjoy in their personal life at home, outside work,” said Chris.

But you need also to find enjoyment in work and achievement at home, he argues.

“If there’s something at work that you like doing, then set a goal to do more of it. If you set a goal to speak to 1,000 people at a conference in Miami or something, you can achieve that.

“Linked to that is self-talk. Say to yourself ‘I love my work’ as well as finding things that you like.”

9. Help people.

“Helping other people at home and work will make you happy,” said Chris.

“You actually get a triple gain. First of all, you make them happy. Secondly it makes you happy to help other people. But also it makes them more likely to help you in the future and then you get more happiness again.

“At work, if one of your colleagues is struggling or even if you just see a bloke in the corridor trying to carry seven boxes, say ‘Do you want a hand with that?’”

10. Choose to set the temperature.

“You set the temperature in every situation you’re in, whether you’re miserable or whether you’re happy,” said Chris.

“If you do nice things, you’ll get better treatment from other people and then you’ll feel good and then you’ll end up doing more nice things.

“You can control what you do and to an extent you can control how you feel.”


And if Chris had to pick any one of those tips to start with?

“I think I’d go for negative emotions,” he said.

“Identify your number one negative emotion and then become conscious of it and choose not to have it. Say to yourself ‘I’m not going to be a slave to guilt or worry’.”

  • Chris Croft’s The Big Book of Happiness is available as an e-book from Amazon for £7.99 and in print from His courses can be found at Udemy and LinkedIn Learning and at