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20 Ways Gratitude Improves Productivity

20 Ways Gratitude Improves Productivity

Gratitude is a word that is thrown around a lot. But what does it really mean?

We are told to be grateful but often it seems as if gratitude is more an obligation than anything else. Another item on our already overburdened to-do list. We may end up feeling resentful when we are expected to feel grateful particularly under difficult circumstances.

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The key is to understand what gratitude really is and the impact it has on your life and the lives of those around you. In fact, gratitude has some hidden benefits that can improve your productivity and your life.

Why We Want To Cultivate Gratitude

Gratitude is not a feeling. It is really a way of life and a way of meeting life and all of its challenges.

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Gratitude is a frame for reality, which enables us to align with the good in the world as well as the evolutionary progress of the human race. It is the opposite of resentful entitlement. Gratitude allows us to accept things as they are even as we try to improve them. It enables us to see ourselves as participants in creating the good in life.

Gratitude puts us in more positive relationship to life and others around us. It separates our attitude from our circumstances so that our current reality does not drag us down. Gratitude is a way of being that lets us participate fully in life without concern for rewards and status. It gets our ego out of the way.

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Gratitude lets us give what we can, knowing that we are one of many so that we do not have to carry the burdens of the world on our shoulders.

Gratitude comes from valuing the opportunity to be here on the planet. Everything else is up for grabs.

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How Gratitude Helps Us Live Productive Lives

When gratitude is the cornerstone of your life, a number of things happen:

  1. You can let go of controlling outcomes by simply working toward the best possible outcome and letting the chips fall where they may.
  2. You can be a work in progress and let the rest of the world be a work in progress as well – we are all learning. Mistakes do not make you or another person “bad.”
  3. You can give your all to anything you do and trust in the best possible outcome whatever that is. Gratitude lets you throw yourself into what you are doing. Happy to be able to participate, you can give your all and generally do better work as a result.
  4. You are free to completely immerse yourself in your life without reservations about comparisons and status. You can be yourself.
  5. You are free to love since loving is what makes life good for you and everyone else. There is no need to hold back.
  6. You are free to create since you are aligned with the positive. This means that even mistakes are positive since they help you get closer to creating something better.
  7. Emotional issues no longer affect you since you are not spending your time comparing yourself to others and fighting for an agenda.
  8. You can more easily accept others and yourself. We are all imperfect people seeking the best possible life. There is no reason not to be friends.
  9. You no longer take anything personally. Life presents difficult challenges for everyone; it’s not just about you.
  10. You let go of the need to immerse yourself in unnecessary adversarial relationships since you seek only the best for everyone. There is no one to harm.
  11. You trust that when something does not work out it is for the best. It fits your view that we are learning.
  12. You can embrace a trial and error mindset without fear. It is OK to experiment.
  13. You can have a positive attitude toward your choices by accepting what matters in the present without rejecting what may work at another time. Anything can be productive or counterproductive depending on the wisdom of its use.
  14. You can be more process oriented which raises the quality of your work. When you do not spend your time forcing outcomes or fighting other people, then you are more focused on the work at hand: the process and the details involved. You are able to do better work.
  15. You get rid of your own agendas so that you have a more accurate perception of what is needed at any given point of time. Each point in time has certain possibilities but not others. You embrace the current possibility, work with it, and let others go.
  16. You can let others make their own mistakes. We all make them as we learn. Letting people make their own mistakes is a way of trusting others to know what is best for them.
  17. You more easily align with what is necessary and what is good because everything else is a waste of time and energy.
  18. You do not need discipline since you are more naturally aligned with positive forces, so you are more comfortable with yourself, your actions and less likely to have regrets.
  19. You do not fight yourself or others since there is no reason to.
  20. You can be very relaxed because you are unfolding along with everyone else. Life works for you.

Gratitude Helps You Enjoy Life

Gratitude is a generous and relaxed quality that lets us be with life and a part of life. It is trusting, a quality that is often lacking in our social space. Because of that relaxed trust, work and love are easier and more enjoyable.

We only live a short period of time. Gratitude helps our time on earth be one of joy.

Featured photo credit:  Baby with a Thank You Sign via Shutterstock

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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