What do you think the top way to be more productive at work is? Time management? Delegation? Clear goals and strategies? Singular focus? Prioritization? Managing interruptions?
The winner is: Be happy.
The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley (GGSC) posits that we are not only more productive, but also more successful in our work when we are happy. To get a pulse on your happiness at work, take their quick quiz.
Here are a few suggestions GGSC gave post-quote about improving happiness at work even more.
Make It Meaningful
I noticed this one right away in the questions asked. Find work that is more than a paycheck. As Malcolm Gladwell says, “It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between 9 and 5. It’s whether our work fulfills us.” When our work serves a greater purpose, contributes to our personal growth, and aligns with our personal values and beliefs, we have found something we can’t wait to wake up in the morning to do.
An interesting question in the quiz which I believe is tied to the meaning of our work, is having curiosity in our work. To learn and grow, we need a certain curiosity, a desire to explore. This may as part of the actual work – like a scientist who wants to know how and why things work – or it could be how we approach the work – like someone on a production line who wonders if changing the sequence will speed efficiency. It helps to have an open, child-like curiosity leading us throughout our day. When we are open and growing, we are improving our work and our lives – and we are happier.
In the Flow
Hopefully your work allows you to fully engage. It is not too boring or too stressful for you. Sports often uses analogies of “being in the zone” when all our energy and focus is centered on our actions. Our work can be this way too. When we are distracted, not interested in, or overwhelmed by our work, we are not in the flow. Working smart not hard is one way we stay in the flow.
Back in the day, I was very (underline very) bad at being in the flow. I was a bull in the china shop. Pushing. Rushing. Ruled by the checklist. Pushing up stream did not make me more efficient. It made me, and those who had to work with me, less happy. I find now that being in the flow, I can be as, if not more, efficient and I am a heck of a lot better to work with.
I have written about work-life balance ad nauseum, mostly because we still need to learn and embrace the concept. Constantly check your work-life balance, where do you need to make adjustments to find equilibrium. Be present in each moment and in each task. Gift yourself with breaks when and how you need them. Reassess your relationship with time. Manage your stress levels. Don’t let your work consume you; it should add to, not take away from your life. We work to live, not the other way around.
Be in It Together
Our Western society it based on independence, but we really need others and a sense of community to make us happy. Don’t go it alone. Ask for help. Give help. Give recognition. Accept recognition. Be compassionate to those around you. Laugh with your co-workers. Make real connections. Celebrate group wins. Be understanding. Mentor. Be mentored. Being connected not only makes you happy, but it decreases your stress level as well.
How did you score on the quiz? What are things you can do to be happier and therefore more productive and successful at work? Share your thoughts with us here.