A satisfied employee is a productive employee, right? Wrong: a happy one is.
In 2009 a group of researchers at the University of Warwick did an experiment aimed at proving a link between happiness and productivity. By artificially increasing some subjects’ happiness levels with a comedy video, the Warwick researchers were able to improve those subjects’ performance on a subsequent math test. The researchers repeated this process over several days: they showed some subjects either a comedy video or a bland video before the test. Each time, the “happier,” comedy-video group scored better on the test. In fact, the happier subjects did 12% better on the exam.
The Warwick researchers had found a “striking statistical link...between well-being and productivity.” But they did not explain why this link exists. A few years earlier, in 2005, researchers at Cornell University concluded that happiness increases motivation, which, in turn, boosts productivity. In other words, a happier, more motivated person is more likely to prioritize “responsible work behavior.” This mechanism of action - happiness to motivation to work - helps explain why happier people are more productive.
Depression kills productivity by reducing happiness and sapping motivation. But, even when we are depressed, we can do things to boost our happiness enough to be productive. Just like the Warwick researchers, we can make ourselves happy enough to do what needs to be done.
Here are some strategies I use to improve my mood, motivation and, ultimately, my productivity:
Research tells us that happiness and productivity go hand-in-hand. Maximizing productivity means more than just being satisfied with your job: it means being a happy person. The Mood and Productivity Journal is made for people who understand that being mindful about happiness prepares you to rise to life’s most difficult challenges. Order your copy today or sign up for the mailing list and get a free digital lite version and experience the difference a better mood can make.
Either directly or indirectly, suicide touches us all. It costs Americans $69 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity annually. In the United States, suicide rates have spiked by more than 30% in half the states over the last two decades. Globally, it is the second leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 29. There are 25 suicide attempts for every completed suicide and a person dies from suicide every 40 seconds.
It is also telling that men are 3.5 times more likely than women to die by suicide. Even children aren’t immune: between 1999 and 2015, over 1300 American children between the ages of 5 and 12 took their own lives.
Suicide transcends race, gender, ethnicity, culture, and religion. Suicide is such a societal crisis that this month was named National Suicide Prevention Month.
It is more likely than not that you have known someone who has contemplated suicide. Signs of strong suicidal ideation can be hard to spot. But, when you see those signs, it is crucial that you take them seriously. You can be an ally to someone struggling with depression by helping that person get the professional help she needs.
If you are struggling with mental health issues, you need to know that you are not alone and that there are people out there who can help. If you are actively suicidal, get emergency help now. I’ve been there and it isn’t pleasant, but getting help when I most needed it is why I’m here today.
It’s easy to isolate yourself and ruminate over your negative thoughts and emotions. Isolation can lead to hopelessness and a sense that you are beyond help. But making that one human connection - whether through friends, family, a hotline, or even a supportive online forum - can break this destructive thought process by drawing you back into reality and the realization that you are not alone.
People who kill themselves are not selfish cowards. This misconception drives me crazy. People who commit suicide are people who are people who are simply overwhelmed by their emotional pain. They are not revenge-seekers or attention-greedy narcissists. They are people who just couldn’t take it anymore. As someone who has lived with active and passive suicidal ideation, I can say, firsthand, that the thought of ending your life is not driven by superficial reasons like egotism or self-indulgence.
I am not naive enough to think we can eradicate suicide. But awareness and support can reduce the number of people who end their lives and devastate their loved ones. So, during the month of September, and beyond, I am urging us all to stay vigilant, stay well, and understand that suicide impacts every one of us.
Editor: Peter P. Khalil
I’ve written a lot about productivity, including posts on how to be productive while depressed and using an hourglass for productivity. I like thinking up ways to be productive because productivity is essential to happiness, which is essential to productivity, and so on.
We have finite mental resources, like time, talent, and opportunity, and maximizing our potential with what we have to work with is challenging. So let’s make this short. Here are five things I do to maximize my productivity with my minimal resources:
Only you control your productivity. Being mindful of your resources will ensure that you harness all your potential with the time and talent you have.
Looking for more ways to boost your productivity while managing your happiness? Check out the new Mood and Productivity Journal, created for people who understand that mood and productivity are deeply connected.
We have all been there. You finally have that block of time you need to start on your project - suddenly you hear a knock at the door, a buzz from your phone or your mind just starts wandering. With all the stimuli that we are exposed to everyday, it is very easy to become distracted and unproductive. Here are some ways you can fight the urges we get when distraction rears its ugly head:
Distraction happens. But it is what we do after we’ve lost our focus that matters. By being proactive, you can turn the tide of distraction and reclaim your time. So put up your “do not disturb” sign, put down your phone, and get to work.
If you want more ways to increase your productivity and bring focus to your day, order the Mood and Productivity Journal. This journal is for those who understand better productivity leads to a better mood and a better mood leads to better productivity.
Editor: Peter P. Khalil