By: Mike Schultz, President, RAIN Group

A number of years ago, one of our clients said the following to us after a training delivery:

“The program and reinforcement were great. The people who are adopting it are seeing strong results. How, however, do I get more of them to adopt it? How do I get them to stop complaining they don’t have the time?”

Thus, we started a multi-year study of productivity and accountability. Soon after we started to achieve significant breakthroughs with client execution, and the pursuit of productivity and accountability – through both practice and research – became a top organizational priority.

Over the years we added and subtracted various pieces of productivity advice as we learned more about what worked for driving execution, behavior change, and results.

Eventually the system became effective to the point we were making minor changes at most. Then we began the process to validate (or invalidate) what we were finding in the field with a global research study on productivity.

A team of analysts and I at the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research conducted said global study, which culminated in the publishing of The Benchmark Report on Extreme Productivity, to find out which habits and behaviors drive productivity, and which don’t. And for those that do, which drive productivity the most. After analyzing responses from more than 2,300 business professionals, we not only identified the key drivers of productivity, but also discovered another finding:

There’s a strong correlation between productivity and happiness, assuming you approach productivity by following 9 specific habits.

In fact, each of the 9 Habits of Extreme Productivity positively correlate with happiness.

The Extremely Productive (The XP) are significantly more likely to strongly agree that they’re very happy:

It’s not that much of a surprise Extremely Productive correlated with happiness. But look at how much! Those who are extremely productive are 2.8 times more likely to be Very Happy. That’s a surprisingly large difference. Nearly half of The XP strongly agree (5 out of 5) that they’re very happy compared to only 17 percent of The Rest.

When we include respondents who agree they are extremely productive (4s and 5s out of 5), the numbers for being very happy jump to 86 percent.

Another study found similar connections between happiness and productivity with happiness resulting in a 12 percent increase in productivity. On the other hand, unhappy workers were 10 percent less productive.

Key Drivers of Happiness

In our study, six behaviors emerged as key drivers of happiness. A key driver is a statistical analysis method that allows you to identify factors that have the strongest impact on an outcome variable.

Interestingly, four of these six are also key drivers of productivity (represented in bold). All behaviors here correlated with both Extreme Productivity and Happiness.

  1. Take Treasured TIME: Whether it’s spending time with family and friends, watching sports, or going on vacation, they regularly devote the right amount of time to activities they treasure.
  2. Sustain Energy: They regularly sustain energy for long-periods of time.
  3. Recover when Derailed: They get back on track quickly when side-tracked from being productive.
  4. Do Not React to Others’ Agendas: They drive their own agendas, and don’t let their agendas get hijacked
  5. Maximize Investment TIME: They spend the significant time on activities that drive the best results and success.
  6. Are Active and Fit: They exercise and move around and are physically fit.

It’s interesting that two of the six behaviors relate to how they spend their TIME. The happiest people take more Treasured TIME and maximize their Investment TIME.

But that’s not all.

The XP are not only more likely to be happy, but also more likely to be top performers and satisfied with their jobs.:

Can you imagine being a top performer, while also being happy, and spending the time you want doing the things you love?

This makes a strong case for becoming Extremely Productive.

About the author: Mike Schultz is a bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling, Director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, and President of RAIN Group, a global sales training and performance improvement company. He and RAIN Group have helped hundreds of thousands of salespeople, managers, and professionals in more than 75 countries transform their sales results and unleash their sales potential. Follow Mike on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.