One Simple Way to Be 31% More Productive | Writing Thank You Notes

One of the most common excuses I hear for not writing thank you notes is: “I don’t have time.” Actually, you don’t have time not to write them. Let me explain…

Thank you notes give you a 31% increase in productivity

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Now before I tell you why that is a lame excuse and tell you why you have to write them, I need to admit something.

The number one excuse I use is that “I don’t have time.”

Thursday rolls around and the calendar says “Write thank you notes,” just like it does every Thursday. Thursday, for me, is like Christmas for some, I know it’s coming. I know what it means, but I always act surprised when it comes around and I never budget the time to write notes.

Meetings at 10:00 and 2:00, interview at 3:00, phone calls to return, blog posts to finish, and lunch…I’d like to eat. And I have a mound of email. But no time for thank you notes.

That’s when I have the talk with myself. Yes, Virginia, I talk to myself. Usually in a bit of a Scottish accent.

I ask myself this question:

Oh, you don’t have five minutes to make yourself up to 31% more productive?

Bam! My inner Scottish voice is so smart.

Writing thank you notes can make you 31% more productive

Research shows that one act of positivity (like writing a thank you note) can increase your productivity by as much as 31%.

Why?

The reason behind this is that dopamine, which is the reason for the euphoric feeling you get when you express gratitude, is also the ignition for the learning centers of the brain. So when you fire up the thankfulness, you are also firing up the engines that fuel your ability to learn. (Read more about what really happens when you write a thank you note)

If you increase gratitude, you increase positivity. If you increase positivity, you increase…productivity. By 31%, according to researchers.

So…thank you notes make you 31% more productive.

Consider what that means – the math of gratitude and productivity

“I don’t want to be 31% more productive.” Said no one ever.

If you work an average eight hour day, five days a week (I get the feeling you work more than that, but let’s roll with it for illustration purposes), 31% more productive averages out to 12.4 hours more output each week.

12.4 hours each week! Or, for another perspective, 77 extra days each year. 

If you are in sales, would you like an extra 77 days each year to hit your goals? If you are an entrepreneur starting your business, how does an extra 12.4 hours sound each week? Without having to miss out on your family more.

But let’s say that it’s half wrong.

What if you only get an extra hour per day of productivity each day?

Five minutes writing a note gains you an hour of productivity. I like that math. Your net gain is 55 minutes. And that’s if I am half wrong.

31% more productive…and that doesn’t even count the other benefits like better relationships, a warmer network, and the many positive effects you’ll find.

Stop making excuses. Start now.

Join the Thank You Revolution

Question: If you’re a Revolutionary, share how you make sure to make time for writing thank you notes. You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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  • Geoff Franklin

    For me, it’s about doing it first thing in the morning. Not to “get it out of the way,” but to make sure it takes priority over the busyness of the day. I also set aside time three days a week. That way if I miss a day, it’s no big deal.

  • Dan Erickson

    What if I’m already too productive and want to cut back? Would I write mad notes? Just kidding, of course. I think there’s a good reason for thank you notes. For me it’s for the ones who help me out in my personal life more than my business life.

    • HA! Interesting idea Dan :)

      There are definitely many reasons, though that 31% is hard to ignore.

  • Polly~

    I will be honest here…I always, ALWAYS write thank you notes. As a matter of fact, I just wrote one this morning before I read your post. I think it is one of the small, kind gestures that we can do that does make a difference.

    • By definition, that makes you AWESOME Polly!

      What’s one really cool result of doing this regularly?

      Keep it up.

  • Jane Tuttle

    It’s become a Thursday habit. I actually think about who I can shower with some appreciation because there are so many people who make a difference. I’m glad I found this revolution because it’s improved my life although I don’t know about the productivity. That would be a happy by-product.

    • I think an improved life automatically leads to more productivity. I know that when I am happy, I produce more. I am more focused.

      Thank you for sharing Jane! Love it!

  • I LOVE writing thank you notes and just sending cards in general – and nothing beats a real card in the mail. People don’t get enough of these anymore, and it’s that personal touch that makes them feel appreciated. What you send out, you get back 100 fold! I like to sit down in the evening to think about people I interacted with during the day and write cards expressing my appreciation for having them in my life. I also like to check my facebook friends and if I see someone who is having a bad day or might just need a little encouragement. I’ll send them a card and maybe a box of brownies (hey chocolate makes everyone feel better!). Gratitude is a great way to end the day! Great post Matt!

    • Awesome stuff Debbie. You’re ending your day on the right note, which starts your next day off well, too!

  • I make time by not waiting until Thursday. When I think of someone to thank, I thank them right away! That way I’m not trying to 1. remember who I’m writing one to and 2. finding time to write 6 thank you notes at one time!

    Beyond that, if I’m writing them all week and I dont think about it on Thursday or dont have time, it’s ok because I wrote one Monday and two on Wednesday.

  • I have a reminder on my Outlook calendar every week which keeps me on track to write at least one TY note every week.

    • Funny Jon, I have that exact same reminder! Goes off at 10a and Noon!

      • Mine goes off at 7AM, and I keep it active until I complete the task.

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