Want to maximize your productivity and contribution to the world? Try this: share professional good news. Did someone perform well in their role, assisting you? Did a process work well? Did an instructor, committee member, or graduate program manager shine? Did a paper get published, or a grant get funded? Did a fellow student help you learn something? Share it with them. Share it with someone that may care about their success. Do it simply, with a hallway high-five or quick “nice job”, or by email. It doesn’t have to be formal.
So, how on earth does this contribute to productivity? Your colleagues and professional companions will smile to see you if you are the good-news-bearer and will be more excited to work with you. But be careful. If your praise and positivity has even a whiff of pandering/brown-nosing or forced-ness, you will not smell good. It has to be authentic. The biggest bonus of this is its impact on your own mind. By truly noticing the good things happening around you, your mind will get a little jolt of happiness. You will feel a bit more right with the world. And this, no matter how small, will support your mind and your work.
You may notice that this is in line with the movement toward practicing gratitude, and positive psychology in general. These things work.
Do you feel that this just isn’t “you”? I challenge you to ask yourself why. Consider moving the needle just a bit.