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Life Optimizer - 5 Reasons Why Relationships Should Be Your Top Priority mentions that the most important thing in a productive life would be relationships. I tend to agree that we do need relationships so that we don't need to solely work for ourselves but also for the others around us, it gives us some kind of boost.

Now, on the other hand, having more relationships also means more interruptions. There are more people that tend to keep you busy; be it a simple phone call to something you need to do to maintain the relationship with them. I feel that this contradicts with the kind of boost you would get from relationships.

So, are there studies that show metrics on the relationship between relationships and productivity?

Is it a real boost to your productivity, or is it merely a way to introduce more interruptions that slow you...

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"Now, on the other hand, having more relationships also means more interruptions." Maybe the key is to keep it at a manageable level (and not like somebody I know who tries to know everyone he encounters) –  Jonathan Merlet Aug 19 '11 at 15:57
    
Possibly a question for skeptics.stackexchange.com? –  Brian Carlton Aug 19 '11 at 20:30
    
What KINDS of relationships are we talking about here? Love, deep friendship, being friendly with coworkers? They all have rather different effects on life and productivity, I imagine. –  weronika Aug 22 '11 at 1:02

2 Answers 2

1) It depends on your personality. If you're an extrovert, on average you'll need more relationships to always have people you can recharge by talking to; if you're an introvert, on average you'll need fewer relationships so you can always have some time to recharge by being left alone. You may also

2) The ratio between personal satisfaction/fulfillment and the number of interruptions depends on the kinds of relationships involved: you'll presumably get about the same number of work interruptions from marriage and from a surface friendship with a coworker, but probably vastly different amounts/kinds of personal fulfillment. (Children, on the other hand, are considered high-fulfillment but also VERY high-interruption; and all this also depends a lot on the other person involved, with some friends/partners being much more inclined to take up your time in not-necessarily-pleasant ways than others...)

3) As per John's answer, it's also important to note that while love can be more fulfilling, friendly relationships with coworkers or other professionals, while they can generate lots of interruptions and are rarely life-changing things you'll think about on your deathbed, CAN also let you get things done more efficiently.

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There are times for stemming off interruptions, and times for welcoming them.

Investing in relationships helps you to become more likable, which is probably the most important factor in getting a job (ref. within Richard Wiseman's 59 Seconds). One might think that you could get things done a lot more efficiently by knowing the right people, and by ensuring that they know you by name and like you enough to bump your task to the front of the line.

It's all balance. If you put headphones on and ignore your coworkers, you'll probably get more tasking done, but you'll also be doing your tasking yourself.

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