[YS Learn] Keen to boost productivity? Start small, says top happiness expert

Productivity isn’t only about accomplishing large tasks. It is about starting small and graduating to bigger tasks, says happiness expert Dr Raj Raghunathan.

The coronavirus pandemic has taught us the importance of people, relationships, and - most importantly - our health. And while it is a tough time for all around, it is important to understand, whatever the level of difficulty or emotional stress one may go through now, when you look back at this period with the wisdom of hindsight, you will be able to see the positives. 

Dr Raj Raghunathan, Zale Centennial Professor of Business at the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas, Austin, in his masterclass with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO, YourStory, said, “In these times you have to take care of your health, relationships, and also be productive. And to do so, what is important is to start slow.” 

Talking about his routine, Raj said he had a spreadsheet where every column was a new day and every row listed down a thing he wanted to do. 

“It could be as simple and basic as flossing your teeth or a two-minute mindfulness meditation practice. There will be days where you won’t be able to do everything. If you look at that sheet at the end of the month, you will realise that you do some things 20 to 25 times and some only a few times. The idea is to do one small thing every day,” Raj said. 

He explained that if starting with a work regime of three hours with no distraction is tough, start with one and half to two hours. If a 20-minute workout every day seems impossible, start with 10 minutes. “Work out with others for 10 minutes on a Zoom call; change is faster in groups,” Raj said. 

The idea is to start. Over time, you will get the confidence to take on more. 

“Bite off small chunks that you know you can chew. Also, enlist the help and cooperation of other people. Tell your family what you are aiming to do. They will be able to accommodate and help you in their own small way,” Raj suggested. 
Edited by Teja Lele Desai


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