They say you get what you give. And it turns out the same could be true for time. You have to invest time into meaningful tasks in order be more efficient in your day-to-day life. If you’re someone who feels like there are never enough hours in the day, adding a dose of gratitude might actually give you more free time.
According to research by Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullogh, carving out just a few moments of your day for gratitude is an investment of time that increases “progress toward important personal goals.” A Berkeley study found that gratitude could improve sleep and decrease your chances of getting sick. With all of that on your side, it’s no wonder you’re more likely to get things done.
Neuroscientist Alex Korb explains that giving a simple “thank you” releases dopamine in your brain. With more of this positive energy, your work can be completed more efficiently and effectively, and since you’re running on more/deeper sleep — another perk of gratitude — you are set up for daily success.
Want to be more productive and make time for the activities you care about most? Make gratitude a part of each and every day. Here are a few very simple ways to start:
- Journal it. Writing down a few words of appreciation before bed can make you sleep better and feel better the next day. Keep a simple notebook next to your bed and make a list of three things from the day that you are thankful for. Review it the next day and start again that evening with a new list.
- Brighten your breaks with thanks. Give sincere thank-you’s to your servers and baristas when you’re out. Write it on the check, say it with eye contact, or leave a generous tip. Some of the hardest working and most underappreciated people are in the service industry, and your gratitude can really have a big impact on them and you.
- Have gratitude on hand. It’s one thing to think about saying thanks; it’s quite another to do it. Make it easy on yourself by completing the first step to a thank-you card in advance. Keep a stack of blank notes with you at your desk, in your car, or in your laptop bag — anywhere that is most convenient — and whip them out when you think someone deserves a big thanks.
The act of appreciation can have a very profound effect on your everyday life, from your relationships to your attitude and even your energy levels. But aside from all the obvious effects on your well-being, spending time on gratitude each day will make you a more productive person in the long run. Start practicing those thanks today!