How Happiness Benefits Productivity at Work

happy-face_veer_3x4Following on from my own recently published article about HAPPINESS [see PDF version here], I thought this article, written by Tamara Lechner and published on, was really apt and appropriate.


Conventional wisdom says that if you work hard, you will become successful, and then you will be happy.  What science has proven is that happiness and optimism fuel performance and achievement.

You frequently hear “do what we love and the money will follow”. But whether you are an entrepreneur, the CEO of a publicly traded company or fresh out of college you still have bills and rent or a mortgage, perhaps a car payment or payroll and you probably pay everyone who works for you before you pay yourself so how does happiness fix that? Here are some facts that will explain it.

The better your brain is at identifying positives, the greater your chance at success.

Input comes to us in 11 million pieces of stimulus every day. Our brain doesn’t just see things like a still photo from a camera. It is tasked with interpreting and processing all the input. Our brain has to decide what focus on. Thus your reality is a choice.

The better your brain is at using its energy to focus on the positive, the greater your chance at success. But this doesn’t mean you only have happy thoughts and experiences at work. It means you can choose to interpret most input as positive.

This optimism must be rational (but for 80% of us it isn’t).

What this means is no matter how much cold calling and following up and meeting and greeting and networking if you do, if you don’t have a great product, it won’t be effective.

When you have a great product or service being happy and optimistic is the fast track way to success.

I am sure you have heard the stories of Michael Jordan not making his high school basketball team and of Thomas Edison having 10,000 unsuccessful attempts before inventing the light bulb.  The attitude here is the key. It wasn’t failure – it was one step closer to success.

Science shows that 80% of American men think that they would be in the top half of the population in their social skills. See the problem- there are only 50% in the top half but 80% think they are in the top half. This means happy people tend to overestimate their abilities and will actually have confidence in situations where they have no skills backing this confidence. Having awareness of this and calculating into decisions is vital to making accurate predictions for future success.

Do you have a FIXED MINDSET – believing you have all the skills you are ever going to have and that success relies of your current skill-set or do you have a GROWTH MINDSET (this is not the same as ignoring your weaknesses or chanting affirmations) it is a mindset that says “I may not currently have that skill but I can change through experience and application”.

It is often the perception of stress and not the actual stress that derails you.

You know it’s a vicious circle when you have so much stress that you are stressed about being stressed. The definition we use at the Chopra center for stress is what happens to you when something comes between you and something you want. The average person encounters a minimum of eight sources of stress in a day.

FIGHT OR FLIGHT happens when your body encounters stress:

  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Releases stress hormones
  • Increase in insulin
  • Decreased growth, sex hormones
  • Weakened immunity
  • Clotting of blood platelets
  • Decrease circulation to digestive tract

Long Term Exposure to Fight or Flight can lead to:

  • coronary heart disease
  • anxiety, insomnia, addictions
  • diabetes, obesity
  • premature aging
  • infections, cancer
  • heart attacks, strokes
  • digestive disturbances

We all have a base level of happiness but it can be elevated.

It’s like our happy homoeostasis. Things like winning the lottery might temporarily change our happiness but scientific research has shown that our happiness returns to the prior level quite quickly unless we train ourselves to think differently. Nature accounts for approximately 40%, circumstances like having enough food, shelter, and not being scared for your life count for 10% and the remaining 50% is up to you.

So really quickly, here are a few simple and scientifically proven steps to becoming happier:

  1. Have a sense of purpose
  2. Feel connected to those around you
  3. Let go of the past
  4. Be authentic
  5. Have some fun
  6. Take mindful moments
  7. Be grateful

Remember, work can be a chore or work can be full of joy, the choice is always yours.

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11 Differences between Busy People and Productive People

This article by Conor Neill published in the Productivity section of is so good and thought-provoking, I decided to share it on my blog; I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.


I spent a day with the world’s number one ultraman Kilian Jornet back in 2010. He told me about the difference between his life in the mountains and the life he sees in the city.

Kilian spends most of his life in the mountains. He will run up and down Everest next year. He has already run up and down Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Montblanc and Cervino (setting the record for the fastest ascent on each). He says that he knows his destination, but is often doubtful about the exact path – he is very aware of surroundings, of changes in the weather, of loose rocks. He is constantly adjusting his path.

busy picHe told me that a few times a year he arrives into the city of Barcelona in his campervan. He parks. He gets out. He sees people walking confidently up and down the street. Everyone is walking with such confidence. They look so sure in their intention. They are sure of their steps … but they have no idea where they are going.

This is one of the differences between busy people and productive people. Read on to find out what this difference is and to get to know 10 more differences.

  1. Busy people want to look like they have a mission
    Productive people have a mission for their lives

Busy people hide their doubt about the destination of their lives by acting confident in their little steps.

Productive people allow others to see the doubt in their little steps because they are clear on the destination.

  1. Busy people have many priorities
    Productive people have few priorities

Nobody is ever too busy, if they care they will make time. Life is a question of priorities. If you have 3 priorities, you have priorities. If you have 25 priorities, you have a mess.

The pareto principle is that 80% of your desired results come from 20% of your activity. Henry Ford built a fortune not by building better cars, but by building a better system for making cars. Busy people try to make better cars, productive people develop better systems for making cars.

  1. Busy people say yes quickly
    Productive people say yes slowly

Warren Buffet’s definition of integrity is: “You say no to most things”.

If you don’t say “no” to most things, you are diving your life up into millions of little pieces spread out amongst other people’s priorities. Integrity is that your values are clear and that your time is going to serve those values.

  1. Busy people focus on action
    Productive people focus on clarity before action

To focus on the top 20% of activities, you must gain clarity about what those activities are for yourself. The greatest resource you will ever have to guide you to live a good life is your own personal experience – if well documented. Sadly, most people only document their life in facebook status updates. Keep a diary and take 5 minutes every day to reflect on the past day, on what worked, on what didn’t work; and some time on what inspires you.

  1. Busy people keep all doors open
    Productive people close doors

As a young person it is good to open options. It is good to want to travel, to learn languages, to climb mountains, to go to university, to work in tech, to live in another country. However, there comes a point in life where one must let go of most options and focus. If my goal this year is to learn Spanish – I will speak Spanish at the end of the year. If my goal this year is to speak Spanish, earn 30% more, travel to 10 countries, get fit, find a girlfriend, go to all the concerts… I will not speak Spanish at the end of this year.

  1. Busy people talk about how busy they are
    Productive people let their results do the talking

Stephen King says: “A writer is a producer of words. Produce words: you are a writer. Don’t produce words: you are not a writer”.

It is a clear binary thing. Talking about writing is not writing. Published authors don’t talk about their next book – they are focussed on producing it. I have grown to have less and less interest in what people tell me that they are going to do – I ask them what they have already done. Past performance is the only good indicator of future performance.

Feeling productive is not the same as being productive. This is important. I can feel productive while I’m playing minecraft. I can feel unproductive while I’m producing an excellent blog post that will help others take better actions.

  1. Busy people talk about how little time they have
    Productive people make time for what
    is important

Any time we spend on excuses is time not spent on creation. If you allow yourself to practice excuses, you will get better and better at excuses. Productive people don’t use time as an excuse. An action either supports their highest values and mission, or it does not. If it does not, they don’t do it – even if they have a whole day off.

There is an Irish saying: “It is better to do something than nothing”.

This is a lie! It is better to do nothing than to do an action that doesn’t connect with your highest values. Sit still.

  1. Busy people multi-task
    Productive people focus

Productive people know about focus.

Do you know about the Pomodoro technique? It is brutal, but it is effective. Identify a task to be done (for instance, write this blog post). Set a timer to 20 minutes. Work on the task until the time sounds. Any distraction (I must check email, I must get some water, I must go to the bathroom) and you reset the timer to 20. How many pomodoros can you complete in a day?

  1. Busy people respond quickly to emails
    Productive people take their time

Email is a handy list of priorities. The problem: they are other people’s priorities, not yours. If you respond to every email, you are dividing up your life into a thousand tiny bits that serve other people’s priorities.

There are 3 choices when you first review your email inbox: Delete, Do, Defer.

  1. Busy people want other people to be busy
    Productive people want others to be effective

Busy managers measure hours of activity, productive managers measure output. Busy managers are frustrated by others looking relaxed, looking like they have time, and looking like they are enjoying their work. Productive managers love seeing others enjoy their work, love creating an environment in which others can excel.

Busy people are frustrated. They want to be valued for their effort, not for their results.

There is a Hindu saying: “We have a right to our labour, not to the fruits of our labour”.

We have a right to enjoy being excellent at our work, not a right to enjoy the car, the house, the money that comes from doing good work. Productivity is about valuing the journey towards excellence, not any moment of activity.

  1. Busy people talk about how they will change
    Productive people are making those

Kilian Jornet doesn’t spend much time talking about what he will do. He talks about what he has done, what he has learnt, and what inspires him.

Spend less time talking about what you will do and dedicate that time to creating the first step. What can you do now that requires the approval of nobody else? What can you do with the resources, knowledge and support that you have now? Do that. It is amazing how the universe rewards the person who stops talking and begins.

We are born with incredible potential. At the age of 20, the best compliment that can be paid is that you have a lot of potential. At the age of 30, it is still ok. At 40, you have a lot of potential is becoming an insult. At 60, telling someone that they have a lot of potential is probably the cruellest insult that can be made about their life.

Don’t let your potential go to waste. Create something amazing. This is its own reward.

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In pursuit of happiness

I’m delighted to share my latest written work, as published in Issue 2 of the 2015 Career Success Magazine.

It was a privilege to be selected as a contributor especially as I was able to write about one of my favourite subjects – a healthy mind in a healthy body!

Please see the article below – an extract from the full magazine.

CareerSuccess Issue 2 2015_myarticle

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MACEY in 2015 …

When a three month contract, at a client’s site, turns into a permanent position … yes, Michelle has “gone back to work”.

However, as we passionate about helping people achieve their best, we still offer ad hoc virtual assistant odds-and-ends, and we are especially interested in assisting people to upgrade and improve their CV’s.  Please contact us at should you want more information about this service.  Although our focus is mainly on administrative-type roles … we here to help all people in all types of roles.

Furthermore, a reminder that we sell the following sugar-free treats and supplements, on an order only basis and when there is a high demand:

  • Caring Candies
  • Cape Dutch [Hot Chocolate Drinks]
  • Mannatech Glyco-Nutrients

Please contact for information about pricing and delivery times and any extra information about these products.

That’s it for now ….


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Pinelands Craft & Gift Fair

MACEY has been approved as a stall-holder at the Pinelands Craft & Gift Fair again this year.  Yipee!

The dates are 8 – 21 December and we will be selling the Caring Candies range of sugar-free + preservative-free treats as well as Cape Dutch’s range of hot chocolates and chai teas, also sugar-free and preservative-free.

pic of products


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Sugar-Free Easter Eggs

We make sugar-free Easter eggs that are incredibly delicious and contain only good stuff!

Our eggs are made with love and are a small attempt to provide a healthier and “junk”-free alternative to people [especially children] who are not able to enjoy the regular chocolate Easter treats.

Our 8-year old daughter is diabetic and since her diagnosis, we’ve made it our mission to find sugar-free treats that are delicious yet not filled with other nonsense.  Thank goodness for Caring Candies! [].

Our eggs are made in our own kitchen using only Caring Candies variants [we offering the Real Milk and Dairy-Free options as well as the 70%-Dark-Chocolate but only while stocks last for the latter].

Please see the images for shapes available as well as the sizes and prices.  Please email us at should you have any queries or special requests.

EasterEggs_14_Hen or Rabbbit EasterEggs_March14_MiniEggs

And then lastly, some answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

  • We in Pinelands, Cape Town.
  • We are taking orders already and final orders to be in by close-of-business, Friday, 11 April.
  • Orders take approximately two to three days to process.
  • Orders to be collected or delivered to anywhere in Cape Town free of charge [for orders over R100 and on weekends only].
  • We accept cash or EFT but if the latter, then prior to delivery/collection please.

Hope we can help you just a little with our love-filled but sugar-free treats!

Michelle + Storm Longman
March 2014

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naturezone waters – price list

naturezone waters are a fabulous, healthy alternative to regular flavoured waters and sugar-laden fruit juices.    They are low-GI and low-CARB and because they sucrose and glucose free, they are diabetic friendly.  They have no preservatives but are rich in antioxidants and electrolytes.  Sounds like the perfect drink!

MACEY is currently the only supplier in Pinelands, Western Cape!

Please click on the link below to see our price list.  We’ll be placing an order early next week so please email should you wish to place an order.  Bulk orders will attract a 50% deposit and should you order 5 or less bottles of flavour water, please choose from the flavours below, as these are the flavours I’ll have in stock:

  • Apple + Pear
  • Lemon + Lime
  • Naartjie
  • BlueBerry

macey pricelist naturezone

Please visit for more information about these products.

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