Two words for my readers

I just want to say:

Thank you!

It is so gratifying to get the messages that you like my posts or you are following my blog.  It really does mean a lot.  And, it makes me smile!

Feel free to add some comments too: big or small!

I notice that more people seem to notice the blog when I have posted regularly.

You may have noticed that I’ve just had a fortnight hiatus.  We had family visiting and we took the time to play the tourist with them.  I didn’t even manage to publish this post, which was waiting in draft!

Today we are off on a road trip to Country New South Wales.  So, in case the posting dries up a bit – or a lot – this is just to say:

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

The results of “the happy secret to better work”

Back in February of this year, I set out to see if 21 days of positive actions for 2 minutes a day can create happiness and better productivity! So, how did I do?

This was all inspired by Shawn Achor’s TED talk where he talked about happiness improving personal productivity and gave some 5 practical daily exercises he’s used with many people in many organisations. Read all about the inspiration here.

Yes, yes, but, how did I do?

  • I struggled to complete the morning tasks at weekends and when I was out and about.  It fell apart when I was not feeling well or too busy.  I wondered if it was because I was doing it on my own, not as part of a team.
  • I really struggled to remember in the morning what were my gratitude points during the day before.  I also wondered if you could count things like: lovely weather.
  • The idea of sending a random act of kindness to someone felt artificial.

On the other hand, the exercise:

  • Got me writing my diary again, which I find makes me feel better.
  • Made me appreciate the value of having a moment to consider what you are grateful for every day.
  • Supported my attempt to learn meditation because doing meditation is one of the 5 exercises.
  • And I liked the idea of a random act of kindness. Thinking about others and reaching out to them is a good discipline when I tend to be so introverted.

What I realised is that my negative thinking at the time was about a very specific situation. I only started to feel better and happier when I started to look for positives in that situation.

In summary, I’m not sure it works so well in isolation, better in a team, and it wasn’t as simple as the TED talk made it seem.  However, I actually enjoyed doing it and it had some benefits.

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.

“Find the good and praise it!”

Personal motto of Alex Haley, author of “Roots”,
as quoted by Sen. Alexander (R -Tenn.)
at US Presidential Inauguration on 21 January 2013

For Senator Alexander’s remarks in full, go here.
For the Alex Haley Foundation, go here.