Productivity and Happiness

Productivity and Happiness

It’s a circle: happy people are more productive and being productive makes you feel happy.  If you want to know how to be more productive, read on to get in that circle!

Are Productive People Happier?

Productive people are happier because they have more work-life balance.  They can get work done during its allotted time, so it doesn’t spill over into the rest of their lives.

Productivity is not a character quality; productive people use strategies.  Here are some tips for being more productive.

Tips for Being More Productive

1. Set a Deadline for Yourself

No one can wade through a hundred to-dos by simply saying, “I’ll get to it.”  They swirl and blend and something is always forgotten or left undone.  When you have a task, give yourself a deadline to complete it.  

2. Batch Work 

If you think multitasking is the secret to productivity, get ready to be shocked.  Working in small, highly-focused chunks, called batching work, is actually much more productive.  

Think about it: multitasking means you are balancing multiple to-dos, and that means inevitably something will fall through the cracks.  You are distracted and unfocused.  Batching work means whatever you do will get 100% done–not 40% or 99%.  You can focus in on a task, execute it, and then gloriously scratch it off your list and out of your life.

How to Be More Productive and Happy

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3. Move While You Work

The seven dwarfs whistle while they work, but you should move.  This can seem counter-intuitive; surely you should just sit down and work till you’re done?  But if you want to know how to be more productive, you have to look at the science.  Movement gives your brain optimal blood flow and improves cognitive function.  

So get moving!  Take breaks every ten minutes to move around–walking up and down a flight of stairs or doing some simple stretches. 

Do you work in an office?  Don’t email a coworker for little things–walk over and tell them.  Are you working with someone?  Hold standing meetings instead of sitting ones; it boosts creativity.  

You can also work on a computer while moving.  Sit on a stability ball; this keeps your core activated (more productive and better abs?  Yes, please!).  Try a standing desk or a bike desk (get your work out and your work done!).

4. Have an Accountability Partner

Having an accountability partner will help motivate you to do what you said you would do.  Ideally this would be a coworker, but it can be anyone in your life.  You can be accountable for large or small goals.  

Itemize your top five to-dos for the day (or your top three goals for the week), and check back in with this person at the end of that time.  Give them permission to contact you and ask you about your progress.  

How to Increase Productivity and Happiness

5. “Eat the Frog”

Mark Twain famously advised, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”  

If you have a large or unpleasant task on your to-do list, get that done first.  Don’t push it off and spend the rest of your day or week in dread of it.  Eat the frog.  Everything after that will taste delicious.

6. Set Timers

Turn productivity into a game: beat the clock to get a task done.  This will help you avoid distractions (Twitter, I’m looking at you) and make quicker decisions.  Apps such as Stayfocused and Strict Workflow take the concept one step further by blocking sites like social media until your timer goes off.  

7. Use the Calendar

Knowing how to be more productive means knowing how to use a calendar for all it’s worth.  Forget using it just to figure out which day Thanksgiving will be this year–a calendar can be an accountability partner, deadline-setter, and timer all in one.  Purchase a dated calendar with time-slots and plan your days ahead of time.  When you make a plan with assigned times, you are taking control of your day (instead of the other way around).

By following these tips for being more productive, you will soon find yourself in the happiness-productivity circle–and checking that item off your list!

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