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How Happiness Benefits Productivity at Work

How Happiness Benefits  Productivity at Work

Conventional wisdom says that if you work hard, you will become successful, and then you will be happy.

What science has proven is that happiness and optimism fuel performance and achievement.

You frequently hear “do what we love and the money will follow”. But whether you are an entrepreneur, the CEO of a publicly traded company or fresh out of college you still have bills and rent or a mortgage, perhaps a car payment  or payroll and you probably pay everyone who works for you before you pay yourself so how does happiness fix that? Here are some facts that will explain it

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Fact 1- The better your brain is at identifying positives, the greater your chance at success.

Input comes to us in 11 million pieces of stimulus every day. Our brain doesn’t just see things like a still photo from a camera. It is tasked with interpreting and processing all the input. Our brain has to decide what focus on. Thus your reality is a choice.

The better your brain is at using its energy to focus on the positive, the greater your chance at success. But this doesn’t mean you only have happy thoughts and experiences at work. It means you can choose to interpret most input as positive.

Fact 2- This optimism must be rational (but for 80% of us it isn’t).

What this means is no matter how much cold calling and following up and meeting and greeting and networking if you do, if you don’t have a great product, it won’t be effective. When you have a great product or service being happy and optimistic is the fast track way to success.

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I am sure you have heard the stories of Michael Jordan not making his high school basketball team and of Thomas Edison having 10,000 unsuccessful attempts before inventing the light bulb. The attitude here is the key. It wasn’t failure – it was one step closer to success.

Science shows that 80% of American men think that they would be in the top half of the population in their social skills. SeE the problem- there are only 50% in the top half but 80% think they are in the top half. This means happy people tend to overestimate their abilities and will actually have confidence in situations where they have no skills backing this confidence. Having awareness of this and calculating into decisions is vital to making accurate predictions for future success.

Do you have a FIXED MINDSET- believing you have all the skills you are ever going to have and that success relies of your current skill-set or do you have a GROWTH MINDSET ( this is not the same as ignoring your weaknesses or chanting affirmations) it is a mindset that says “ I may not currently have that skill but I can change through experience and application”.

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Fact 3- It is often the perception of stress and not the actual stress that derails you.

You know it’s a vicious circle when you have so much stress that you are stressed about being stressed. The definition we use at the Chopra center for stress is what happens to you when something comes between you and something you want. The average person encounters a minimum of 8 sources of stress in a day.

FIGHT OR FLIGHT happens when your body encounters stress

  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Releases stress hormones
  • Increase in insulin
  • Decreased growth, sex hormones
  • Weakened immunity
  • Clotting of blood platelets
  • Decrease circulation to digestive tract

Long Term Exposure to Fight or Flight can lead to

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  • coronary heart disease
  • anxiety, insomnia, addictions
  • diabetes, obesity
  • Premature aging
  • Infections, cancer
  • heart attacks, strokes
  • Digestive disturbances

Fact 4- We all have a base level of happiness but it can be elevated.

It’s like our happy homeostasis. Things like winning the lottery might temporarily change our happiness but scientific research has shown that our happiness returns to the prior level quite quickly unless we train ourselves to think differently. Nature accounts for approximately  40%, circumstances like having enough food, shelter, and not being scared for your life count for 10% and the remaining 50% is up to you. So really quickly, here are a few simple and scientifically proven steps to becoming happier

  1. Have a sense of purpose
  2. Feel connected to those around you
  3. Let go of the past
  4. Be authentic
  5. Have some fun
  6. Take mindful moments
  7. Be grateful.

Remember, work can be a chore or work can be full of joy, the choice is always yours.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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