Productivity and HappinessAUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
Here I leave you something to think about this holidays…
It seems clear that happiness helps make people more productive. But what about the reverse? Does productivity help make people happier?
Some people see productivity from a somewhat simplistic perspective. “Doing more with less” seems something of a dogma imposed by systems and organizations, in order to get more benefits or incur lower costs. And that is true, in part. Of course, productivity is something that does no harm at all to businesses and governments, since they do not have unlimited resources. But for the same reason, it is also something that comes in handy for your family or yourself as an individual.
Aside from the potential economic benefits that you will surely attain by being more productive, the pursuit of personal productivity has more to do with other kinds of motivations. We all want to be happy, for as long as possible. Although happiness means something different for everyone, scientists say that an important part of our happiness comes as a result of our daily interaction with our environment (another part is due to our genes and external circumstances, but this is beyond our control).
Yes, it turns out that the part of your happiness on which you can influence comes mainly from the things you do in your everyday life. This means that your personal productivity can have a fairly significant impact on your happiness.
So what should you do? How should you spend your time? Obviously, you must fulfill your obligations, although not all of them make you happy, because not doing them has consequences—and it will subtract points to your happiness index.
But you must also do the things you love. And you must also seek new experiences, enjoyable and fun, because when you do something stimulating for the first time you feel very good. As the experience is repeated, you get used to it and pleasure decreases. Note that there are experiences, like reading books, which are apparently repeated but are actually new each time. Each book is a new story that can stimulate you positively.
If you care about your personal productivity, you will keep up with your routines and avoid crisis situations. Also, you will always have in mind other areas of your life that have nothing to do with work, but require action on your part to achieve a balance that allows you to be happy (family, friends, hobbies, leisure, etc.) To be happy you have to have the intention to be happy, you have to be proactive and find time to devote to your happiness. For that you need to be productive.
Also, think about how your long-term goals and plans affect your daily life, albeit indirectly. Therefore, you also need to manage them effectively to be happy. And you need a system to do that.
In short, the possible sources of happiness are three: Your genes, against which you can do nothing; your external circumstances, which in practice can hardly be changed; and your day-to-day activity. You can only influence on what you do, and what you do will depend largely on your personal organization and productivity.