Work Happiness Tip – Buy a Plant

bamboo-officeI was having a rough day at work. I couldn’t seem to get any words strung together to teach you about work happiness.

How could I teach you when I wasn’t feeling it?

I couldn’t give up that easily!

Then I realized what I did when I first sat down. I got a cup of water, was about to sip it, then I looked over at my bamboo plant. It needed water more than I did.

I leaned over and slowly poured the water into the small pot.

The world felt right again. I’m not going to blow smoke up your butt and tell you that I went on to write three blog posts, book a keynote, and sell a Work Happy Now package to a company. This would feel great, but it would also undermine everything I stand for. Working happy is not just about feeling great. Working happy is also about finding ways to stay emotionally balanced so we don’t fall into a depression and wreck any chance of achieving good results over the next few weeks.

We have to find ways to appreciate the little things.

I recently posted a quote on Twitter that is still jumping around my brain:

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”
– unknown

I may not be dancing in my seat and knocking out great work, but I can still relax and enjoy the small things.

That means having a plant on my desk that I can baby when I feel like being babied. By taking the focus away from myself and putting it on to someone (or in this case something) else, I am able to feel much happier.

Do you have a plant at work?

Do you think it helps your happiness?

*Need a boost to your work happiness? Then check out the Happy at Work Project and start one yourself.

* Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership wrote a stunning piece called Conan O’Brien’s ‘Tonight Show’ Farewell Speech: A Class Act

If you enjoyed this post then you will probably like this one too:

Work Happy Tip – Lucky Pen

Image courtesy of TKCS

23 thoughts on “Work Happiness Tip – Buy a Plant”

  1. Actually, plants are nature’s air purifiers, so having a couple next to the computer actually could make you perkier. 😉

    Here is a book for folks to look up: “How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office”

  2. I am a huge fan of having fresh flowers (or a flowering plant) at work. I buy whatever is cheap and long lasting. For less than $10 a month, I am greeted with a boost of warm color every time I look up, AND everyone else at the office is cheered as well. So many visitors comment on how beautiful the flowers are. I get an enormous happiness return on my small investment.

  3. Staffing Agency Philippines

    I agree with the quote. It just like looking the bright things of life rather than on its bad side. Being optimistic at all times. In that way, you can have balanced emotion when things get worst. You can coup up in everyday situation in workplace even when your not well.

  4. Karl,
    I have a plant very near my desk. And it is something that makes the environment feel more like home, more connected to nature. So – yes, I do think it helps.

    And – there are certainly days when we all feel challenged at producing our greatest work. So, having something to lift our spirits can be a real help. I have a rubber duck by my computer. Sounds strange, perhaps. The rubber duck has special meaning, though, and just seeing it makes me think of a group of people who hold special meaning to me. And that can definitely help in those moments when it seems like I’m not at my best.

  5. Hi Karl

    What excellent advice! I love sharing with people how therapeutic plants actually are. We always knew that yes, it’s nice to have a plant, etc, etc….but they do so much for us like help clean the air in the home or office, some plants even neutralize the electromagnetic radiation from all the electronics we use today, which is so valuable today to I would think most people in an office!

    Plants in fact are even emotionally tied to us….lots of research on this. One great book that comes to mind is “The Secret Life of Plants”

    Anyway great tip again!

  6. Hi Karl,
    Yes I do believe plants make a difference. I was raised on a farm and lived with plants every spring in the green house, outside in the fields and my mom ALWAYS had them everywhere in our home.

    It’s one think I miss in AZ. It’s just too hot here and because we downsized our life I don’t have room for them inside. (honest) I have found one of my favroite flowers Lavender thrives here. So my back yard has several.

    The bushes bloom 9 months of the year. A couple of weeks ago I must have had 30 little happy bees in each one. I moved my chair across the back yard near a different variety to find a humming bird in heaven there.

    So yes I think plants have living, loving energy and like us when ignored long enough will die.

    Nice honest post.

  7. Hi Karl,

    I used to have a plant (a dracaena) on my filing cabinet at work that was good for helping with air quality, and interestingly enough, as things became more dysfunctional and toxic in the office, the plant also began to fail to thrive no matter how well I looked after it. So maybe plants are a good indicator of the overall health of the office–both physical and emotional atmosphere. I also used to have a tulsi plant (also known as holy basil) on my desk,so if I was getting really stressed I would use a few of the leaves to make some tea! (Tulsi is an ayurvedic herb used for helping to release stress and improve mood.)

    I definitely agree that having a plant or two on the desk or in the home is a great idea for bringing some greenery inside and connecting with nature.

    Well, I have a full day of unpacking boxes (and doing another round of purging too much stuff!), so I’d better get going! Have a great day everyone.

  8. Hi Karl! You’ve made a very important point here – to take just a moment, perhaps a good breath or two as well, and just look at nature – whatever it is – to get grounded/centered. Having a plant on your desk is a great way to do that – to get “out” of yourself for a moment and just focus on that, breathe deeply and you can’t help but feel refreshed! GREAT post!

  9. Karl,
    The rubber duck has special meaning from a training session I attended. It’s special in many ways, and hard to fully explain, except that I know there is a small group of other people out there that have this very same duck, likely in some place that holds meaning for them too. I guess, then really, it’s like a connection back to a group of people that are deeply important to me. (thanks for asking!)

  10. Hi Karl – I don’t have a plant on my desk but I’m sure going to get one. Your post is serendipitous for me, because I just learned of a book, “59 Seconds,” by Richard Wiseman. It’s a compendium of quick, science-based, self-help strategies. And yes, according to Wiseman, putting a plant on your desk increases creativity and original ideas by 15%! Wow. So you’re really on to something here. Here’s video of Wiseman talking about this if you want to know more:

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