The happy secret to better work

I’m inspired to see if 21 days of positive actions for 2 minutes a day can create happiness and better productivity! Really, yes, it’s true and it’s all Shawn Achor’s fault.

In some ways it is actually my friend Kay Gillard’s fault.  She posted the link to Shawn Achor’s TED talk (which is here).  And it was that TED talk that inspired me to take on yet another personal improvement daily activity.

The TED talk includes simple activities that I can undertake.  Each of these is designed to start the brain thinking in a positive manner when a person commits to do them every day for 21 days.  Shawn Achor has used these in companies and created positive improvements there.

Of course, I may be going slightly overboard with my enthusiasm.

The actions are:

  1. Jot down 3 new things I am grateful for
  2. Spend two minutes journaling about one positive experience I had over last 24 hours
  3. Exercise for 10 minutes
  4. Meditate for 2 minutes at my desk
  5. At the start of the day, send one positive email praising or thanking someone in my social network

The TED talk gave me the impression that you do all of these things.  This may be a comment on the conciseness of the format.  However, an article in the Jan-Feb 2012 edition of Harvard Business Review, to be found here (but you need to be a subscriber) talks about choosing to do ONE of these things.

So, what am I going to do?  Well, I want to do them all.  I’ve created a beautiful PowerPoint file, using an Autumn-leaf-coloured design I’ve never used before.  In the file, I’ve listed the 5 actions to remind me.  I’ve placed a shortcut to it in the middle of my desktop so it is easily accessible.  I’ve also created a little table with my 21 days marked out and established a key so I can record the actions I’ve taken:

  • The gratitudes are “3Gs”
  • The journaling of a positive experience is “J+”
  • The positive email is “RAK” – for Random Act of Kindness
  • Exercise and meditation are simply “E” and “M”, respectively
  • And to indicate I’ve done them, I am going to use a thumbs up symbol

This all makes me happy – so that’s a plus then!

In addition, it is worth noting that I am already working to include exercise – swimming – and meditation in my life so this isn’t an additional thing, really.  In fact, I recognise the serendipity of all these influences moving into my life.  And that makes me smile too.

You can read all about Shawn here.   I have not studied his research or work.  I merely love the video and think that it is worth giving it a go.

I’ll report back in due course how it went for me.


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