The Secret to Happiness and Productivity at Work

The secret to unlocking happiness and productivity at work, according to Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile, is surprisingly simple. It's not the big wins, it's the small ones. And oh, yeah, you've got to keep track of them:

Speaking at the 99U Conference, Amabile describes a study that analyzed thousands of daily diary entries from more than 200 professionals. The research showed that keeping track of challenges, successes, and other experiences enhanced creativity and motivation.

Some of her tips:

Don't make a big commitment to it; tell yourself you'll do it for just one month. Five to 10 minutes a day, focusing on just one project, one issue, that you want to work on. Pick a time in the day when you're likely to have about 10 minutes uninterrupted. It's a good idea if it can be the same time every day. Attach a reminder to that time. So if you want to do your diary before you leave work, you might set a repeating calendar alert for 15 minutes before you take off ...

From Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg of The Atlantic: Link

Imma gonna pat myself in the back for finishing this post!


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I don't understand the aversion myself. It works for me. It helps reduce that Groundhog's Day feeling of endlessly spinning my wheels by giving something of a sense of forward progress.

It's also very handy when it comes time to write performance reports or resumes. I suppose if you work in fast food or a call center it might only add to that feeling of going nowhere though.
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My work experience and reading the comments on the linked page have taught me that half the population inexplicably reacts with abject horror to the thought of documenting their workplace accomplishments.
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