Today’s topic focuses on inner work life. And by that, I mean how you feel about your work and how you feel while you’re doing your work.

When we have a positive mood state at work, we produce more positive outcomes, are more creative, more innovative, and more productive. We build better relationships with the people we work with and there are fewer quality defects. Across the board, our outcomes are far better, but our well-being, happiness, passion, and purpose also increase monumentally. There are a number of studies that have come out of Harvard, in particular. Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer have studied what really helps us get into a positive space while we’re at work, to create great outcomes, do good work, and to feel good in the process. The greatest predictor for great outcomes is our ability to focus on making meaningful progress each day.

Because much of the work that we do in the world and many of the projects that we engage in take place over extended periods of time, it’s important to pay attention, every day, to identifying the small things that moved you forward. Think of something that is important to you and pay attention to the progress you made today. A valuable project, a priority, a step that’s critical to advancing a goal forward. Amabile goes as far as saying, instead of having a “to-do-list,” we might just be better off having a “done list.” For instance, when we have a to-do list and we complete an item on the list, go to check it off, and realize it wasn’t on the list…what do we do? We put it on the list so we can check it off, right? That’s because the act of checking something off the list actually triggers brain chemicals that help build momentum and help us feel good in the process.

Something you might want to experiment with is how to make meaningful progress each day, and how you can consciously acknowledge that you made that meaningful progress on something important to you…something that will move you forward. And it can be the smallest step. Small wins matter. The most important thing is paying attention to the fact that you took that small step forward. Do this and you’ll be healthier, happier, and produce richer experiences and outcomes at work. All of this cultivates deeper engagement, more satisfaction, better results, and you’ll feel better in the process. Nothing but good can come of that, right?

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