The Co-relation Between Happiness and Productivity

The one thing that distinguishes top performers in an organization to others is how they utilize their time and prioritize the things they perform. Many people already realize that effective time management can make or break someone’s career. Most often when employers ask for multi-tasking skills they are actually asking for highly productive people who can handle many moving parts and make sense of it. Therefore there is much emphasis on being more productive, which most people equate to working hard and long hours.

For decades people have been told1:

You do great work -- > You get Success -- > You get Happy

The problem with that thinking is that every time you reach a goal that you define as success, a new higher goal is there for us to reach and the happiness is only fleeting as you go back in the loop.

This is where we have been wrong about the pursuit for happiness. Research shows that happy people are 30% more productive. Sales people who are happy have 37% more sales. It just means we have been getting the equation wrong and happiness should precede work, that can then lead to success.

You get Happy -- > You do great work -- > You get Success

This equation makes a lot of sense as most people like to feel accomplished and arrive at their definition of success. Whatever your definition of success may be, if you start by being happy it leads to greater productivity that then gets you the rewards you seek. If you want to be productive then the simplest thing you can do is be happy and it will reflect in your work.

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The Better Way2:

If all you have to do to be more productive and reach your definition of success is be happy, here are 7 simple things that cost absolutely nothing but improves our overall state of well-being:

  1. Walking: A half hour brisk walk especially in nature is supposed to do wonders. Being present in nature decompresses the brain and lets you relax. A relaxed and rested brain works better than a highly stressed and overworked one, that in turn improves the quality of work we do

  2. Replay: A 20 minutes replay of writing about positive experiences in your life helps them sink in and makes you feel much better about a current situation

  3. Random acts of kindness: We are social animals and the feeling of being connected to others and being part of something greater helps us feel good about ourselves. Making a conscious effort by including random acts of kindness will take you far

  4. Completely unplug: Downtime from all sorts of digital interruptions and work related tasks after a work day lets our brain relax and work with its full ability after the pause

  5. Hitting the Flow: Trying new things, challenging ourselves to a difficult task and accomplishing something out of our reach gives a feeling of accomplishment and growth that helps us feel more engaged at work

  6. Gratitude: Thanking someone and showing gratitude is not only a great gift to the receiver but also to yourself. In fact studies published on expressing gratitude support an association between gratitude and an individual's well-being. Research also shows that managers who remember to say "thank you" to people who work for them find that those employees feel motivated to work harder. Keeping a gratitude journal, writing thank you notes or even mentally thanking someone are great ways to cultivate this habit3.

  7. Meditations: Practicing even just 2 minutes of meditation everyday has been proven by research to cause permanent rewiring of the brain and leading to growth of parts of the brain associated with compassion. It helps with focus and increases a feeling of calmness that helps in dealing with stress and difficult situations

So next time, you think about increasing your productivity start with taking a walk around the block !

About the Author:

SalmaSultana Salma Sultana has over six years experience working in various roles in Research, System Analysis and Project Management. She holds a MBA from Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.


  1. The Happiness Equation – Neil Pasricha

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