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Is increasing positivity the key to happiness? What about increased productivity? Would you believe that just might be true?!

I recently read Harvard researcher and TED Talk super guru, Shawn Achor, discovered a correlation between positivity and productivity.  In fact, his research concluded that people who are positive tend to be 31% more productive.  (Watch Shawn Achor’s Ted TalkTake a moment and consider the notion that you could inevitably get an additional 31% out of your day, spending the same amount of time on tasks, or you could work 31% less and get the same amount done, just by being positive.  In doing this, you could create greater work-life balance as your productivity rises and have more time to do the things you love.

Over the years, coaching entrepreneurs, and being one myself, and additionally parenting five children, I can share with you, from an anecdotal perspective, that a positive mindset does precede a desired outcome.  The most successful people I have ever worked with have also tended to be the most positive.  They are the ones to whom business appears to be effortless, money tends to flow, and they have a much better overall work-life balance scenario than those who are negative.

The bottom line is this – if you want to become more productive, you must become more positive. Here are 7 tips that you can use to start becoming more positive today.

  1. Be Intentional

Recently, I gave a fifteen-minute inspirational talk, to two hundred volunteers who would be working at a six-thousand-person event.  I shared with them that one of my best tips was to be intentional.  Writing intentions such as, ‘I travel with Divine ease, I am calm, I am rested, I am energized, and I am meeting some great people,’ would inherently create a better result.  At the event, several volunteers came up to me and shared how the intentions had indeed worked and they were feeling extremely positive about the experience.

Write out your intentions for the upcoming day, the night before.  If, for example, you want to have some new sales, write, ‘thank you God that I easily have three, or more, new sales.’  If you work in a high stress environment, you may wish to write, ‘my day is full of ease, peace, and productivity.’  It is written, ‘ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find.’  The bottom line is that when we are setting intentions, we are asking for a specific outcome.  We tend to experience what we focus on the most; intentions help us to develop a positive focus.

  1. Exercise

There is numerous research to support the benefits of exercise on mood however I want to caution, having been a personal trainer for years, that not all exercise is considered equal.  A 1988 study, by Steptoe and Cox, published in the Journal, Health Psychology, found that high intensity exercise led to increased anxiety in subjects whereas low intensity exercise improved overall mood.

If you are under a tremendous amount of stress, pushing yourself to do a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or Crossfit™ style workout may not be the best thing.  NYC Super Trainer, Jeff Bell, and his business partner, Carlos Leon, (yes that Carlos Leon!), ascribe to a different model when it comes to their high stressed clientele.  Gentle, multi-muscle exercise, they report, causes their clients to lose more body fat and feel better overall.  Yoga, Tai Chi, a long walk, an easy cycle, a hike outdoors, or even running around the backyard with your kids can improve your mood.  Conversely, if you are already fit, an easy five to ten k.m. run can help you destress and improve your outlook.

  1. Water

When we are dehydrated, we are cranky.  A simple fix to improve your mood is to improve your hydration.  Work on having ten glasses of pure, filtered water at a minimum.

  1. Write a Gratitude List

One of the fastest ways to shift perspective is to write a gratitude list.  Think about something you are powerfully grateful for.  It could be your child’s smile, your grandma’s note that she wrote, the sunshine, a roof over your head, laughing with a friend, or anything at all.  It has been my experience, that the most successful people I have ever met, tend to be the most grateful

  1. Listen to Music

Music can elicit very powerful emotions.  Put at least ten tracks that make you feel good on a playlist and simply label it, ‘feel good music.’  To get yourself into a positive state, play one, or two, tunes and then dive into whatever needs to get done.

  1. Watch, or Listen, to Something Uplifting

I generally start Monday’s with a Ted Talk, or video from YouTube, by someone that I respect.  I love achievers and I admire people who aren’t just talking about things, they are actually doing them.  Even three minutes of an uplifting talk can put you into the right headspace to become more productive.  If I am running, or at the gym, I listen to podcasts and audio books.  Subscribe to the speakers, and trainers, that resonate for you and make a habit of plugging in.

  1. Let Go

The ability to let things go, is powerful.  There is absolutely no need to take everything so personally, or be the pessimist who feels the sky is falling.  At the end of every day, I work to ‘let go, and let God.’  I literally put my life into His hands.  Make a decision, at the end of every day, to simply and let it all go.  We can never relive any one day however we can consciously choose to let the past be the past and look optimistically toward another day.



Susan Sly is a keynote speaker, best-selling author, entrepreneur, and mother of five.  She resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Susan is available for corporate consulting, and speaking, on the topics of work-life balance, time management, productivity, and transcending challenges.  Contact our office today at






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