It’s true that productivity can make us happier people. There are characteristics and attitudes built through being productive that overflow into other areas of our lives and cause a boost in our mood. Nobody can be happy all the time, but when you feel good about what you’re accomplishing it shows inside and out.

What makes us happy?

This is a question that holds a different answer for every person. Puppies might make one person happy and playing basketball might make someone else happy. Circumstances and our interpretation of those circumstances are also a factor in our happiness. There are studies that suggest various things that may make people happy. One study suggests that simply enough money to live on makes people happier, but hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even millions of dollars, do not make people much happier than if they were simply paying the bills with a little extra left over for spending.

Other studies have found that as social beings, we also need some type of socialization and interaction to be truly happy. There are so many things that can affect our happiness. Some people enjoy the rain, some enjoy sunshine. Some like it hot, some like it cold. We could make comparisons and list things that make people happy all day, but we’re here to talk about one important thing that has been found to make people happy long-term – being or feeling productive.

Being Busy vs. Being Productive

Have you ever ended your day and thought “Wow, I accomplished so much today!” It’s one of those days you did a lot and you did it well.  You got things checked off of your to-do list. You and others around you are happy with your job well-done. What about those days that you are juggling multiple things. You are getting many things done, but you are stressed and scrambling. You are checking things off of your list as fast as you can go, but you’re not satisfied. There is no sense of accomplishment at the end of the day because you know you have not fulfilled your duties to the best of your ability. There is a big difference between being busy and being productive. Productivity involves quality. That quality is what you and others can be proud of. A job well-done gives us the feeling of accomplishment that we often seek.

A job simply done with no quality behind it, just allows us to move on to the next thing. Being busy is certainly not as much fun as being productive. Productivity means that you get to put a strategy or a plan into place and carry it out to accomplish your goals rather than rush through things. You never know what you might miss out on when you’re hurry through one thing to get to the next.

Productivity Increases Happiness

When people are productive they develop other characteristics and tools in life and it all contributes to being a happy person.

1. Productivity can make you more successful.

When you are productive and others see it, they will acknowledge it. If an employer sees this, it can lead to promotions and raises and success in your career field. According to Fast Company, growth in a company and not being still for too long creates happiness in a job and in life as well.

2. Productivity makes you feel accomplished.

We mentioned this before and it’s worth mentioning again. There is nothing like the feeling of getting things done and knowing that you did a great job. This can increase happiness on the job, at home, and anywhere else you are putting in effort to accomplish things. “Think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things.” Stephen R. Covey

3. Productivity allows you to contribute.

The feeling that you are contributing to something greater than yourself or being helpful to others is a wonderful thing. Whether you’re running your own business, or working as part of a team, we as humans feel better when we are working for something or someone that is not entirely about ourselves. Even if you own a business and are in it to make money, you are still providing a service or product to others that is needed and contributing to others.

4. Everything you do becomes more enjoyable.

Productivity requires balance. A productive person learns to make things happen in various areas of their life. It’s not all about work, or the kids, or all about a favorite hobby. It’s about finding a balance between all the things you need and like to do, and making them work together. This makes everything easier and more enjoyable, therefore making a happy, productive, and well-balanced person. “Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things…I am tempted to think…there are no little things.” Bruce Barton

5. Productive people gain a positive attitude.

This is closely related to general happiness, but having a positive attitude can make all the difference in how happy you actually are. Once you master the art of being productive, you see that there are various ways to accomplish things and can learn to take challenges and see through them to a positive outcome. It will translate to other areas of life and you can be a positive happy person overall.

6. Productivity makes you feel trusted and appreciated.

When a productive person shows what they are capable of, they receive praise and acknowledgement by those around them. People will start to give you more opportunities because they know you are capable of great things. It’s a great boost to your joy and your ego when people show you they appreciate your hard work. “Trust is the highest form of human motivation.” Stephen R. Covey

Being a productive can make wonderful things happen, not just for you, but for others.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of productivity is becoming a happier person. In turn, happiness can make you even more productive. A happy person takes things in stride and is motivated. Things sometimes go wrong, but a happy person is able to see the positive and find a new way to accomplish a goal. Things continuously come full circle and things get even better over time. What are you doing to boost your productivity? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author: Matt Smith works for Dell and has a passion for learning new leadership qualities, and writing about technology.