How to Work Smarter—and HappierNone By Dixie Wright
It’s completely normal to struggle to be productive when you’re unhappy. And if you've ever experienced clinical depression, you know that it's incredibly hard to go beyond the call of duty when you're dealing with a mood disorder. You may not be surprised to find that happiness and productivity are, in many ways, synonymous. In fact, research shows that high levels of happiness are directly correlated to improved productivity.
The research on this concept continues to grow, including findings such as:
• Happy employees are 12% more productive.
• Happy employees generate 37% more sales.
• A positive brain is 31% more productive.
Companies are taking action, too. The 2015 Employee Benefits report found that more than two-thirds of U.S. companies offer some type of employee wellness program. So how can you create optimal happiness to perform at higher levels? Two things are clear: It's necessary to find enjoyment in productivity, and to work smarter, not harder.
How Do You Find Enjoyment?
One way to enjoy productivity is to focus on helping others. Think about it: When you show up to your job, aren’t you and your coworkers working toward one common goal? What about when you’re cleaning dishes at home that aren’t yours? While it’s natural to want to complain about your job, or to complain about cleaning the dishes your partner left on the coffee table, shifting your thinking to how you can help others changes everything.
Researchers have found that in the workplace, helping others is actually more important to happiness and engagement than receiving is. Those who provide social support are not only 10 times more likely to be engaged at work than employees who keep to themselves, but are also 40% more likely to get a promotion.
However, there’s one caveat: Those with high pro-social motivation (read: people who care deeply about the welfare of others) can feel exhausted after helping coworkers. Michigan State University found that employees with high pro-social motivation feel more depleted after helping others than their less pro-social counterparts. The takeaway? Be mindful of your well-being—if you're noticing that your efforts to be helpful are actually depleting rather than energizing you, you may want to take a step back.
Furthermore, not taking the time out of your life for personal int