Your happiness level plays a major role in your ability to build a successful business.
Customers can often feel when the products and services they buy are made with joy, care, and love. Those are the ones that earn their loyalty. Conversely, they can also tell when something is hastily thrown together by someone who's stressed out or unfulfilled by what they do.
Your emotional state impacts the quality of your work.
For instance, would you be eager to sit in the chair for a haircut if you just heard your stylist having a heated argument with his girlfriend? I wouldn't.
The good news is, science has given us more clues as to specific actions you can take to consistently increase your levels of happiness, satisfaction, and self-esteem. And as an added bonus, it'll make you more productive in your work too.
Studies show that hitting the 100-hour mark over the course of a year giving to others will make you happier and more productive. Other data hints to the fact that altruism reduces your stress load, gives you more energy and extends your life expectancy too.
How to find the time to make a meaningful impact
While 100-hours may sound like a giant number, it breaks down to just two hours a week.
Here's the way Adam Grant summarized this research in his best-selling book Give and Take:
Two hours a week in a fresh domain appears to be the sweet spot where people make a meaningful difference without being overwhelmed or sacrificing other priorities. It's also the range in which volunteering is most likely to strike a healthy balance, offering benefits to the volunteer as well as the recipients.
Traditional forms of altruism through volunteering your time to causes that are important to you works. But if you already have a packed schedule, you don't have to go and find an additional two hours to capture these benefits.
You can fit your good deeds within the space of activities you are already doing.
For instance, being generous can be as simple as helping people on your team, mentoring other entrepreneurs, and even connecting people in your network to contacts who can help advance their goals.
Why the way you give matters
The goal isn't to just give, give, and give to any and everyone who asks of you. That's a recipe for getting burned out and not getting any of your own work done.
You need to be very focused in how you give to maximize the impact of your generosity on both you and the people you are helping.
The key to getting the most out of your giving in a manner that increases, rather than zaps your productivity, is to schedule the time in which you do it.
That could mean holding office hours for two hours each Wednesday where people can come ask you questions. Another option could be dedicating your lunch hour on Tuesdays and Fridays to mentor new entrepreneurs.
When the time is scheduled, it prevents you from constantly being distracted by people coming to seek you out for assistance whenever they need it. By creating boundaries, it gives you the dedicated space to do the work necessary to advance your goals.
It is also good practice to allocate when you help into bigger chunks of time.
Studies also show that when you sprinkle your giving into little pockets of time here and there, you're less likely to experience the happiness and productivity gains than if you were to do it less frequently but in larger increments.
If you find yourself a little burned out, and need to inject more happiness into your world, make it a priority to give more.
You'll feel better emotionally. You'll make a big impact in the lives of others. And your customers will feel more of the love you put in your work as a result.