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Written By: Robin Madell, Corporate/Executive Writer

It seems like everyone is “crazy busy” at work these days. But being happier in the office or working from home doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Whether you’re a flex worker or a 9-to-5 employee, you can improve mood and your overall job performance by making just a few simple changes.

Try out these quick routines to stay healthier and happier all day long, while increasing your creativity and productivity.

Here are three habits that can improve mood and your job performance:

1. Break it up.

Conventional wisdom suggests that powering through hours on end of work will help you achieve as much as you can. But ample research has shown that the opposite is in fact true: skipping breaks can actually increase your stress levels and decrease productivity.

Don’t have time for a 15-minute breather?

No worries, just take breaks in smaller doses when you feel your focus waning. Even two minutes of stepping outside for some fresh air and a change of scenery can help you feel refreshed and recharged.

Try to take several two-minute breaks each day—a brisk out-and-back walk is a great use of this time—to clear the cobwebs. Simply time yourself for 60 seconds as you stride purposefully away from the building, and then turn around and come back.

If you’re able to take a slightly longer break, that’s even better. Walks of 20 minutes per day have been proven to boost your mood.

2. Turn down the mental noise.

If you feel overwhelmed or discouraged at work, check to see if you have too many competing priorities vying for your attention. You may need to set some limits to be able to focus and think creatively again.

To carve out some additional headspace for innovation, it helps to figure out what you should keep and what to temporarily eliminate from your to-do list.

Take two minutes to jot down your top 3-5 priorities while nixing the rest. If other activities surface during the day, just say no to anything else that vies for your attention.

By identifying and sticking to daily limits, you can generate more mental breathing room for your most important goals.

3. Flip to a more positive channel.

It’s easy to get pulled into a downward spiral when something goes wrong at work, or with a colleague or client. But rather than letting life’s daily annoyances hijack your mood, you can “flip the switch” on this potential tailspin.

To do so, take two minutes to simply recognize when you’re starting to feel down about a job-related event, and then intentionally refocus your attention on a recent victory at work or a supportive coworker.

There’s no sense in dwelling on your pain points—especially since research suggests that thinking about good experiences from the past can trick your brain into thinking the positive occurrence is really happening.

If you practice these three lightning-fast tips regularly, you’ll have a better chance of feeling more positive at work and achieving your daily goals.

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