Productivity is not happiness

I must admit that the title is a little absurd. Happiness and productivity are two different words and last time I checked, they weren’t synonyms. Of course happiness would not be equal to productivity. You guys probably know that and I thought I knew that, but here’s something interesting.

Ever since I started my journey to “fixing my mindset”, which actually just means trying to be happier, I’ve been writing down at least 3 things per day that made me happy as well as an overall score for the day. 1 means I wanted to die that day and 10 means that I’d want to live this day for the rest of my life.






As you can see, my average score started increasing around the same time as I started my dopamine detox (May 8th). During the detox, I was even able to log in my first 8 (highest score I’ll probably put during the lock-down).

What’s weird is that when I look into every single entry that has a high score ie either a 7.5 or an 8, I notice a pattern emerging.

All my days with high scores were all ultra productive days for me.

This makes sense though. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I was able to find 3 areas that I wanted to concentrate on to ensure that I have a happier future (coding, badminton and this blog). Consequently, by being productive in 1 of those 3 areas, I’m aligning things that I SHOULD DO with things that I WANT TO DO.

And when we accomplish things that we want to do and that we should do, we get a sense of fulfillment and thus, it makes us happier right?

However, what happens when on a certain day, like today, I am not as productive? Since I’m not as productive, I don’t accomplish as much therefore I feel less fulfilled for that day right? And then, since I am less fulfilled, I can’t possibly have the same score as a day that I was productive and thus felt more fulfilled can I? Doesn’t this mean that happiness is measured by productivity?

That is exactly the train of thought I had today. I was struggling to power through my whole to-do list and started telling myself that I’d have to log in a bad day. I was wrong.

I do believe that it is possible to be happy and have a non-productive day. If I were to hangout with my friends or perhaps explore a different region or maybe go on a hike and enjoy the calming presence of nature or take a day off at the beach. I do believe I could be very happy doing those types of things.

I find it so easy for myself to fall into such pitfalls. Life is full of complex information and ideas that I constantly try to simplify in order to make better sense of them. In this case, I took the complex concept that is Happiness and I tried to dumb it down to a single factor: Productivity. Happiness = Productivity.

But no, happiness is not productivity.

The sooner I understand this, the sooner I’ll be able to have happier days 🙂