To be happy at work, set "anti-goals"

To achieve the perfect day, imagine your worst one, advises Andrew Wilkinson for Medium.

Success can come at a steep price, writes Wilkinson, founder of MetaLab and Flow. While many of his peers have achieved considerable wealth and success, he notes that their personal health and well-being are often "in shambles."

Once Wilkinson and his business partner sensed their own lives heading down a similar path, they decided to focus on making work more enjoyable, he writes.

To do so, the pair borrowed a trick from Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet's business partner, who explains that problems are sometimes best solved in reverse, writes Oliver Staley for Quartz.

In other words, identify what "you don't want [rather] than what you do," notes Wilkinson. Once you've imagined your worst work tasks, deliberately avoid them by creating "anti-goals," he writes.

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For example, Wilkinson's worst day includes a packed calendar full of long meetings. To avoid this, he created anti-goals that prompted him to cancel unnecessary meetings and limit scheduled time to two hours per day, he writes.

Of course, not every unpleasant task can be avoided, he admits. But for those with some say over their workday tasks, the anti-goal is a simple and powerful strategy to improve work experience, he argues (Staley, Quartz, 8/30; Wilkinson, Medium, 8/30).

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