Is It Possible to Be Happy at Work?

Published on September 28, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

Happiness is a serious business. The spaces in which we work and the people we work with make up most of our lives.

happiness at work

I don’t know if everyone is able to feel it, but happiness at work exists. Most of us have experienced what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls a state of flow, a time when you’re absorbed in your creativity and feel a great satisfaction developing your work. Even if you are working, those moments of happiness are perfectly comparable to those you spend with your family and friends.

If you can experience those states of flow recurrently while you work, the work is no longer a mere instrument to pay the bills and becomes an important part of your happiness. Some say, and I strongly agree, that you cannot be happy in your life if you are not happy at work.

It is in the interest of your company for you to be happy at work. A happy worker is a more committed and less stressed worker, gets the job done faster and with fewer errors, has 65% more energy, makes better decisions and stays in the company for up to 4 times longer. And since you try harder and are more productive, the company’s results improve. That is why more and more companies are concerned about generating this intangible in the workplace, looking for happier and more committed workers that produce better results in terms of efficiency and profitability.


Why You Get Stuck in the Status Quo

Published on September 15, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

We have a strong tendency to leave things as they are, even though it can be a big disadvantage.

status quo

All of us, some more than others, are victims of the default effect. When we have a lot of options to choose from, among which there’s a predetermined one—a default choice—most of us just go with the standard option. In other words, we choose not to choose.

It is true that default options make our life easier since we avoid making a lot of decisions actively. Some decisions are so complex—how to choose a good retirement plan? or life insurance?—that we appreciate that there is a default option to give us shelter.

Renegotiating existing agreements (between friends, at work, with the telephone company, etc.) can bring great benefits, but let’s face it, it really is a hard and often unpleasant task.


Modern Prioritization

Published on September 07, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

Prioritizing is not as simple as making a list of tasks and sorting them in a certain order.


It doesn’t matter if you are running a business or organizing your family vacation. Prioritizing on multiple available options is the kind of decisions that bring the most value to the development of your life. You constantly do it, with big and small things, sometimes thoughtfully, sometimes in a more intuitive way.

You observe all the possible options and choose the ones you think that should have your immediate attention or in the near future. You are always prioritizing at all levels: in your daily chores, in the projects which you take part of, in your long-term goals… You want to be doing the right thing at every moment.

In the workplace, the traditional way to prioritize was to assess all the available options and classify them with a letter or number indicating the importance of performing that option at that time, with respect to the other options which were also present at the same time. Then, these priorities were followed strictly. This was useful at a time when work was stable, well defined and would hardly vary over time.


Convention Over Configuration

Published on August 31, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

What does this concept mean and what has it to do with your personal productivity?


Convention over configuration is a simple concept that is primarily used in programming. It means that the environment in which you work (systems, libraries, language…) assumes many logical situations by default, so if you adapt to them rather than creating your own rules each time, programming becomes an easier and more productive task.

The goal is to decrease the number of decisions the programmer has to make and eliminate the complexity of having to configure all and each of the areas of application development. The immediate result is that you can create many more things in less time.

Highly successful programming environments such as Ruby on Rails are based on this concept. If you follow the established conventions, you can develop a Rails application in much less time and with many fewer lines of code than you would need developing a similar web application in Java, for example.


Micro-Tasks. The Pleasure of Checking Off

Published on August 24, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

Why we like to cross out and how to use it to be more productive.

checking off tasks

It is a fact. Crossing out tasks or marking them as completed with a simple √ within a to-do list makes you feel great.

The reason is that whenever you recognize a task or project as completed, your brain releases a load of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for generating feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness. This release of dopamine not only makes you feel good but also motivates you to continue completing tasks and extend that pleasant feeling.

But this does not help you be more productive by itself. Quite the opposite. If you don’t know how your brain works and don’t exert some control over it, this phenomenon will always take you to try to do the smaller and easier tasks on your to-do list. The worst thing is that you will feel great, you will have the feeling that you’ve done a lot (which is true) and think you’ll have had a very productive day (which is not true).


What "Satisficing" Is and How It Affects Your Personal Productivity

Published on August 17, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

When aiming for the optimal solution requires needless expenditure of time, energy and resources.

“Satisficing” is a term that the economist Herbert Simon coined in 1956. It’s actually a cross between the words “satisfying” and “sufficing”, and comes to say that when we have to make a decision, we generally don’t waste much time evaluating all possible options, we just choose the first reasonable option we find.

We might think that, when we face a problem, the logical model to make a decision would be: (1) collect all possible information, (2) identify all possible solutions, (3) compare them and (4) choose the best one. However, Gary Klein, author of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions, after studying for a decade how decisions are made in critical situations—short time, little information, and changing conditions—concluded that people usually don’t make comparisons. We take the first reasonable option that comes to our mind, we quickly evaluate potential problems and if we don’t find any relevant issue, we have the solution.

This is mainly because humans do not have the cognitive resources to optimize decision-making: we cannot accurately assess each of the possible outcomes, we cannot properly estimate the probabilities of each outcome, and the capacity of our memory is quite limited.

This behavior is taken into account in environments such as marketing and design of websites, where users and customers are always in a hurry and choose the first thing that catches their attention and covers a minimum threshold.


Why Do You Want to Practice GTD?

Published on August 10, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

To successfully implement GTD, you should know why you do it. And that, sometimes, is not so obvious...


“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” ~ Proverb

Undoubtedly, some people have a greater desire to be organized, to have everything under control. They are people who need to know how is the map on which they move, where they want to go and where they are at all times.

Others, however, want to be organized because their life is somewhat chaotic and have seen somewhere—read or heard—that a particular method or tool or application can help them better control the situation, simply because it has already helped others.

RSS for FacileThings Blog FacileThings on Twitter FacileThings on Facebook

Try it FREE for 30 days

Learn how to live a more productive, less stressed life.

Start now!


Don't you know FacileThings?

Quick Tour


Productive blogs

  • 43 Folders ~ Merlin Mann

    Time, attention, and creative work.

  • GTD Times ~ GTD Times Team

    The hub for all things GTD.

  • Lifehacker GTD ~ Lifehacker Team

    Tips and downloads for Getting Things Done.