Happiness Tip: Be Unproductive for a Whole Work Day | Dr. Christine Carter

Happiness Tip: Be Unproductive for a Whole Work Day


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If you are like me (a recovering perfectionist and over-achiever) consider taking a break from your high-productivity this week. Loads of research make it clear that unrelenting work doesn’t lead to success and it certainly doesn’t contribute to happiness. (Or health, for that matter.)

We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that highly successful people manage their energy by working hard and then resting. They take time off and get enough sleep.

Sometimes, we need to let ourselves tinker and day dream and chat rather than produce, produce, produce.

Go ahead: Procrastinate. Linger at the water cooler. Don’t do the dishes. Take a long lunch. Answer your emails in any order you fancy. Don’t cross anything off your task list. If this isn’t your normal way of being, this might be quite uncomfortable for you. Try to breathe through the discomfort while resisting the urge to criticize your sloth-like pace. You can always put the pedal to the metal tomorrow.

Join the discussion: What’s your favorite way to procrastinate? Inspire others by commenting below.


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  • mem

    I agree this idea is important and has potential for improving one’s attitude and effectiveness. One suggestion, tho: take the day off (vacation or personal day), do not do this while AT work!

  • Trivedi Effect

    I think your procrastinating idea has a lot of potential! it is a great happiness tip. We need to pause, appreciate and realize what is truly important in life. Very enjoyable read. Thank you.

  • http://wildcaliforniagirls.com/ erica0407

    The Japanese have a word for death from overwork:


    I like the book “Quiet Mind” by David Kundtz; he gives several great ideas for slowing down and allowing the mind to daydream.

    • http://www.raisinghappiness.com Dr. Christine Carter

      The very idea, not to mention the actual occurrence, of Karoshi makes me so deeply sad. Thanks for the book recommendations — I’m definitely going to check it out!

      • http://wildcaliforniagirls.com/ erica0407

        Sure! Yes, it makes me sad, too. My dad is a small business owner and works 80+ hours a week. He’s 61 years old now and I worry about him in relation to Karoshi.