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November 1, 2022

A Happy Life Is A Productive Life

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I wasn’t surprised to hear the findings of a set of studies on productivity and happiness. The results are two-sided. As you’d expect, happy people tend to be more productive. Their elevated mood leads to them feeling inspired and energized to be active and get things done. What’s less obvious but equally important - Those who are most productive tend to be the happiest as well.

Through my own self-exploration I’ve found that my best days are my most productive days. It’s when I’m completing the things I need to do, limiting distractions, and spending my time in intentional ways. I am happiest at night when I look at myself in the mirror and (to take Brendon Burchard’s criteria) I feel like I lived, I loved, and I mattered.

I understand that my optimal level of fulfillment and satisfaction is faster-paced than most, but that doesn’t take away from the correlation that productivity leads to happiness. That’s because productivity isn’t just about keeping yourself busy doing things all the time. Productivity is simply a matter of doing the things you want to do. Anything can be considered productive behavior, even playing video games or scrolling social media, when it’s what you genuinely want to be doing.

And that’s why happiness is so closely tied to productivity. If you’re doing the things you enjoy to the extent that you enjoy them, and you’re choosing to do them with full understanding of what the tradeoffs are, you’re going to feel good! 

That can be on the disciplined side of getting yourself to workout even if you don’t feel like it, as well as on the entertainment side having a few extra drinks with some friends. It’s about choosing to do what you want to do. The more aware you can be of the choices you’re making in the moments, and the more reliably you can relate it back to your vision for your best-self, you’ll feel good about yourself and your life. It’s pretty simple. 

I call this living intentionally, which is just choosing as often as possible to do the things you’ve determined you want to do. Being intentional sets the expectation, productivity delivers on it, and happiness is often the result.

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