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This Is Why People Who Laugh More Are More Productive Than You

This Is Why People Who Laugh More Are More Productive Than You

“He who laughs last, thinks slowest.” — Anonymous

The above quote is worthy of a good LOL, but it also speaks volumes about laughter and the workplace. Answer honestly: how happy and productive do you feel at work during dreadful days devoid of laughter? An inability to laugh at work can make the daily grind an excruciating process that seems to drag on at the rate of a blind, crippled turtle crawling through a pit of quicksand. Laughter isn’t merely an escape, but an asset that will help you be more productive. Below are seven reasons why laughter increases your productivity.

1. Laughter lightens your load.

“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” — Mark Twain

Workplace stress is only as bad as you allow it to become (and if it really is too much to handle, stop reading this and start hunting for a more satisfying gig). That said, look for the amusing, funny, or interesting parts of your day for a much-needed laugh that will help you lighten your load: the lower-level manager who acts as if they are royalty; that awkward moment when a customer confessed something super inappropriate to you while you could do nothing but stare in horror; those ridiculous office pranks your co-worker plays on the rest of the crew. If you can’t find something to laugh at, you’re not looking hard enough.

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2. Laughter fosters a positive work environment.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” — Charlie Chaplain

People who laugh together grow together. A team is much more likely to be successful if they are comfortable enough to laugh in each other’s presence.

3. Laughter draws people together.

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.” — Audrey Hepburn

It’s a bit difficult to remain caught-up in workplace drama when you’re so tickled by a person that you can’t keep a straight face. Forget about your differences, search for your similarities, and yuck it up. You’ll all be better off for it.

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4. Laughter helps you re-charge.

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” — Victor Hugo

Do me a favor and smile right now. Feel silly? Too bad. Just do it!

Now: didn’t that make you feel a little better about whatever stressful thought is living inside your head? Smile even when you don’t feel like it. Remaining in a perpetual state of upset over your problems will not make them go away. Smiling, however, will give you a much-needed breather from all of that negative thinking you’re subjecting your poor, exhausted brain to.

5. Laughter cuts through tension.

“No matter what your heartache may be, laughing helps you forget it for a few seconds.” — Red Skelton

The stress response is a nasty state to find yourself in. Rushed breathing, sweaty palms, overwhelming inner-chatter, and an inability to think are some of the reactions you can look forward to when stress takes over. But it doesn’t have to be this way! A quick bout of laughter will stimulate your circulation and relax your muscles, reducing the stress symptoms and improving your ability to focus.

6. Laughter boosts creativity.

“Laughter is America’s most important export.” — Walt Disney

Laughter is like creativity-juice for your brain. Being able to laugh at work frees you from stress and anxiety, two things that will drain your creativity faster than you can say “bruhaha.” Free from a fear of being criticized or judged, you’ll be more likely to think of creative solutions that are innovative.

7. Laughter makes people happy to work.

“If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy.” — Proverb

Let’s face it: if we don’t like being at work, we’re just not going to do an amazing job. It’s hard to be interested in work that leaves us feeling apathetic, drained, or depressed. But if we work at a place where smiles and laughter are the norm, we’ll be more than happy to apply ourselves because we feel good while we’re there.

Laughter is contagious so make sure you share this with your co-workers so you can all be more productive at work. Oh, and I do love to laugh myself, so would you be kind enough to tell me a funny story from your work life in the comments?

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Making Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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