Results Revealed: How Your Attitude Affects Your Productivity

A little over a month ago we posted “The Productivity Paradox: Pessimism vs. Optimism” on our blog where we examined the numerous ways your attitude can influence your productivity. Of the various studies we presented, the results were highly mixed and no definitive conclusion regarding a glass half full or half empty outlook was made. Taking matters into our own hands, we asked our community to participate in a very short personal survey about their attitude, their productivity, and their Todoist Karma scores to see if we could reach more definitive conclusions. Today, we’ll share the survey’s numerical results as well as tips on how to stay productive, no matter your disposition.

Of the 223 readers who responded to the survey, the majority (36%) identified themselves as “mildly optimistic” when asked about their outlook on life. Trailing closely behind were readers who consider themselves “mildly pessimistic” (29%).

Todoist productivity

Next, we asked users to rate their weekly level of productivity on a scale of one to 10– one being not productive at all, and 10 being as productive as possible. Here, we see a negatively skewed bell curve, with the most frequent response being seven, and then six, and then eight. We’re glad to see they’re above average ;)

Todoist productivity

Conversely, we see a very slight positive skew when we look at the participants’ Karma scores, ranging from zero (Beginner) to 11,500 (Enlightened). The most frequently reported score is 5,000 (Expert) with 15% of the responses, and then both 4,500 (Intermediate) and 6,000 (Expert) with 7% each.

Todoist karma

Survey conclusions

We are able to draw some preliminary conclusions regarding Todoist users’ positive or negative outlook on life and the effect is has on their productivity. First, we were able to determine a statistically significant relationship between optimism/pessimism and self-assigned productivity (the scale from one to 10). People who consider themselves “totally pessimistic,” for example, assign, on average, 1.4 fewer points than those who are “mildly optimistic.” That result is expected for reasons you can read about in further detail in our original post.

Another conclusion drawn from the responses is a subtle, yet statistically significant relationship between Karma score and self-assigned productivity. One point on the 1-10 ranking scale is, on average, worth 447 Karma points which basically tells us that a better Karma score means a more productive week.

Todoist karma

Of the results, we did not see a relationship between an unbiased measure of productivity (Todoist Karma) and either optimism nor pessimism.

Staying productive, no matter your state of mind

In light of the survey’s results there are some recommendations we can make to ensure that you stay productive, even if you’re feeling pessimistic.

  1. Pick a productivity method that works for you: Not everyone is the same and not everyone is going to thrive using the same productivity method. That’s why it’s important to choose the one that works best for your personality and your workflow. Do you struggle with organization and feel overwhelmed? David Allen’s GTD might be best for you. If you have a short attention span and are tempted easily by distractions, the Pomodoro technique could help boost your productivity.
  2. Integrate walking into your daily routine: Walking offers some of the richest benefits for both your mind and your body. It can help you increase your creativity by up to 81% and your brain regions associated with memory and planning, and walking is also proven to enhance your mental well-being which, as we can see from our survey, is important for productivity.
  3. Add productivity-friendly food to your diet: Like going for daily walks, your diet and overall health have a profound influence on your productivity. Staying properly hydrated will strengthen both your short- and long-term memory, and beverages with caffeine like coffee and tea can help increase your energy and cognitive performance. Saving carbs for dinnertime and eating healthy snacks like dark chocolate, citrus fruits, and nuts and seeds throughout the day will give your body and mind the fuel it needs to thrive.
  4. Organize your workspace for your specific needs: Office space is not one size fits all. If you lean more towards introversion or are having a glass-half-empty day, an open workspace could have profoundly negative effects on your productivity. Learn what works best for your specific personality and make sure to properly adapt your surroundings.

Do you feel that your attitude makes an impact on your productivity? What productivity methods do you employ when you’re feeling either optimistic or pessimistic? Please share your comments below!

[Disclaimer: We are aware that these results are not scientific :)]

Brenna Loury

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