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Ultimately my goal is to enjoy my life and be happy.

I would get satisfaction out of making the world a better place, making a tangible contribution.

I also want to advance in my career, so I that I can have an enjoyable job, and earn enough money to support a family, and do fun activities, and buy things that I like.

In order to do this I need to be productive and be able to get things done.

Will improving my productivity make me happy?

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Hey guys - I posted this question with the intention of answering it myself, because there's a cool resource I want to share. :) – dwjohnston Nov 9 '13 at 20:01
I appreciate your directness and honesty :-) – MostlyHarmless Nov 10 '13 at 7:57
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Shawn Achor, an expert in positive psychology, argues that the notion of happiness coming after success has things the wrong way around.

He argues that with success - as we approach our goal, we quite naturally and reasonably, redefine success and move the goal posts further away (eg, I've got a job, now I want a better job, I'm exercising regularly, now I want to run a 1:30 half marathon). If happiness depends on our definition of success, then we never quite reach happiness, as Shawn puts it 'happiness is beyond the cognitive horizon'.

Rather than seeing happiness as something that is determined by external circumstances, Shawn argues that happiness is something that you train your mind to do, regardless of your circumstances.

He argues that once you are happy, you will then be more productive.

Some suggestions he has for training your mind to be happy:

  • Three gratitudes - Once a day, write down three things that you are grateful for.

  • Journaling - Five minutes a day, write down something positive that has happened that day.

  • Random acts of kindness - Once a day, email people in your professional and social circles acknowledging something good they've done.

The argument is, that by practising these things, your brain gets in the pattern of recognising good things.

This produces optimism - believing that your actions do matter, and this helps with productivity - knowing that the work you are doing now, is going to have a real result.

Here a couple of videos by Shawn Achor:

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+1 thanks for sharing. Are you Shawn Achor? – MostlyHarmless Nov 10 '13 at 7:56
No. I just saw the Ted talk recently, and found it particularly useful for my current situation. – dwjohnston Nov 10 '13 at 8:57
And, there's science behind it. – dwwilson66 Nov 11 '13 at 16:38

Yes improving your productivity make you happy. By increasing productivity increase you can earn more money by better career and can use it make your lifestyle better.
Some people say that you cannot buy happiness by money, according to me those people don't know where they need to do shopping for buy happiness.

Actually productivity and happiness are vice-versa means happy people are more productive and more productivity also increase your happiness.

For example we can take an example of Bill gates. Bill gates did what ever he always want to do(means IT business) that's why he always happy with Microsoft business. He earn lot of money then his views changed and he started to spent his money for poor people's health problems(polio vaccination) and for other social issues and this me him happy. So this is all its productivity which is helpful to make him happy and also reason for lot of people's happiness. If he don't be productive during his young age I don't think he can be happy like today he is.(His famous sentence if you born poor its not your fault but if you die poor its your fault.)

You just need to look in positive side of life. Let me explain this, there are two type of people. Those always look positive side of thing and those who always negative side of things. And there views about different thing are given below

Life is good / Life is hard
Money is what I use to create opportunity. /Money is the root of all evil.
Coaches are for people who are moving. / Coaches are for people who have money.
Goals are necessary to achieve more. / Goals are nice, but I am always busy enough.
Work is what I do to express myself. / Work is never over.
Organized people are productive. /Organized people are anal-retentive.

Do you have a perspective on a certain aspect of your life that might be worth changing? Improvement doesn't mean something is wrong to begin with. It indicates a move toward something new and possibly better.

I love what Benjamin Disraeli said: "Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action."
So If you productive in right way, by legal way, and for good reason then productivity always brings happiness.

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Good answer, awesome. :) – dwjohnston Nov 12 '13 at 4:01

Dopamine is responsible for happiness ...and you can be more happy by being more productive but it's not exclusive to productivity.

If something is perceived as reward-worthy by the cerebral cortex. it releases dopamine and as a result you feel happy.

When you eat food you like, receive comfort from another person, or experience a victory in everyday life, it feels good - that's when dopamine is released into your system - as a reward.

Under evolutionary theory, there are some benefits to the above mentioned simulations. Our brains teach us, via dopamine, to engage again in whatever behavior lead to that stimulus. Emotions like happiness, then, are nothing more than motivators that enhance an organism's chances of survival.

So yes, being more productive is a victory - and victories make us happy.


Additional materials on the subject

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Sorry, the simple answer is no.

Productivity is work, and much of the consequences which drive work are negative. I find I'm most productive when I'm somewhat scared.

There is a deferred sense of "happiness" when I'm done, but happiness is a complex emotional state that is not tightly coupled to productivity.

Second, different kinds of productivity produce different emotions.

Making something like a craftsperson from start to finish tends to produce more "happy feelings" than doing something in an assembly line (a part). The assembly line system is "more productive" (ask Mr. Ford). The slower, craft based method is more "happiness" inducing.

That said, craft products tend to command more money in the market, and you are perceived to be more important in the product (which you are). A smart consumer will favor the assembly line product which is less individuated but more cost effective.

Good luck.

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Should one only pay twice the price for a bottle of wine that makes him twice as happy as a cheaper bottle? What if you value your happiness at a much higher rate? – JeffO Nov 12 '13 at 2:13

Happiness is only a temporary emotion. On the other hand, joy is the manifestation of that happiness, something that's much more lasting than being happy you ate a burger or listened to your favorite song. I would argue that finding happiness and joy does not come from what you do but your outlook and perception of a situation.

For example: You might be in a job that makes a lot of money and may better other people, but if that is not where you personally are being fulfilled then you will not find yourself happy.

Making the world a better place is noble goal but having a nice car and a nice home is not. While those are comfortable things to have, be careful not to place those as a means to an end but as an end in itself. That means to not say, "I'll be happy once I get xyz," but rather saying, "I am making the best of my talents and what I have to ALREADY make the world a better place." Not all busy work is productive! Productivity too, is not just making money, productivity comes in a variety of forms.

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