You’re more productive and creative when you’re happy, so smile!

According to science, when you keep a positive attitude, you’re more likely to have great things happen to you at work.

Science has even quantified this likelihood: Studies say that positivity means you’re 31% more productive, you’re 40% more likely to receive a promotion, you have 23% fewer health-related effects from stress, and your creativity rates triple.

Now, these exact numbers seem pretty dubious to me but suffice it to say that being happy is good for your work.

Can you actually make yourself be happy, though? Slapping on a fake smile (or as countless moms used to suggest, holding a pencil between your teeth) does actually work a little. Other ideas: pinpoint the problem (having a concrete reason for your unhappiness gives you something to work on), think of three things you’re grateful for, and take one single concrete action, whether it’s making a phone call you’ve been putting off or choosing a healthier lunch. This can set off a positive “mental avalanche” to get you unstuck.

Also, if you can, get outside, if even for 10 minutes. The fresh air and change of scenery does wonders for your mood.

(h/t Harvard Business Review)


The book is ‘in production’

This is my least favorite part – I’ve written and started to edit the text, and at the same time I’m starting to format it for e-readers. This is time-consuming and fiddly and not the most fun part of writing a book. 🙂

It is coming along, though, albeit slowly – so “late 2015” is still a pretty reasonable launch date.

Stay tuned, basically!

It’s almost Halloween, so let’s be grateful that we don’t work in offices

Hey, office Halloween parties can be fun. But they’re also minefields since there’s always that one coworker who doesn’t understand that yes, blackface is still racist.

Honestly, I’m thankful this year that I can wear a costume to a couple parties tomorrow but don’t have to learn uncomfortable truths about my coworkers.

Jack-o'-lanterns carved from pumpkins and lit with tea lights
Jack-o’-lanterns carved from pumpkins and lit with tea lights – by William Warby on Flickr

On working: Sometimes less really is more.

Sometimes it feels great to have worked your butt off for eight or ten hours straight. Sometimes (most of the time) it totally feels like crap.

The good news is that “effort” doesn’t really matter.

Via 99u:

It’s dangerously easy to feel as though a 10-hour day spent plowing through your inbox, or catching up on calls, was much more worthwhile than two hours spent in deep concentration on hard thinking, followed by a leisurely afternoon off. Yet any writer, designer or web developer will tell you it’s the two focused hours that pay most—both in terms of money and fulfillment.

And in fact, in the 2013 book Daily Rituals, which looked at the work routines of 161 writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, poets, and more, almost nobody reported spending more than four or five hours a day on their primary tasks.

The takeaway: Sometimes more is not more. Or as 99u’s Oliver Burkeman says, “Remember that tiring yourself out—or scheduling every minute of your day with work—isn’t a reliable indicator of a day well spent. Or to put it more cheerfully: The path to creative fulfillment might take a lot less effort than you think.”

Drink this

via - used under CC license
via – used under CC license

Know what this is? Yeah, it’s water.

We need…well, a lot of it. Some people say eight 8-ounce glasses daily. (The reality may be more like 9-13, or more depending on your health, activity levels, and more.)

Water keeps you healthy, helps you feel full and boosts your energy levels (seriously). It’s kind of a miracle beverage.

Hate plain water? Put a lemon wedge in it, or use this stuff, which is a miracle in a shaker, because when I buy real, live lemons they always turn into desiccated husks in the back of the fridge. Carbonate it, put fruit in it, or make it into iced tea (sugar free, please).

I know. Water isn’t sexy. But it’s so, so important.

And right now I’m drinking, The good news is that coffee doesn’t actually dehydrate you, despite what popular mythology says. But I should probably go get a pitcher of water.