emotional intelligence

How to Control Your Productivity With Emotional Intelligence

Just face it:

Productivity has become an integral part of contemporary culture.

Want to keep pace with time? Stay productive. Want to work better? Increase your productivity level. Want to succeed? Productivity is what you need.

Books on productivity.

Blogs on productivity.

Seminars, workshops, and lectures on productivity.

Professional productivity. Personal productivity. Your friends and colleagues are so productive and successful. You want the same: you are active, you look for ways to be productive and control your efficiency, and you see nothing wrong with trying several more tactics on productivity improvement. Why not indeed, if they work.

But there’s one problem:

For many active people, this race for productivity turns into constant emotional stress, and analyzing every step they take. But what we often need for success is a smooth emotional state, not blind rationalism.
And at this point you realize:

To influence productivity and, therefore, success, you need to understand and control your emotions. The concept of emotional intelligence (EI) is what can help here.

What Is Emotional Intelligence, And Why You Need It

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. (Source)

Sounds obvious, but it’s not all that simple:

Studied for decades, the concept of emotional intelligence got a new lease of life in the 1990’s after the article by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer went live. They determined it as “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” They called it a branch of social intelligence allowing us to understand people as well as manage them.

Later, psychologist and writer Daniel Goleman paraphrased the concept so it would sound more understandable for a wider audience. He published the book Emotional Intelligence in 1995, where he explained all aspects of this term. Goleman revealed the direct link between emotional intelligence and productivity for better leadership and business results.

EI Components

how to improve emotional intelligence

The classical model of emotional intelligence presumes four components:

  • Self-Awareness — you are able to recognize own emotions.
  • Self-Management — you can control own emotions.
  • Social Awareness — you understand emotional processes happening in society.
  • Relationship Management — you develop others, inspire people to change, and manage conflicts, both personal and group-wide.

Goleman agrees on the first two but combines and modifies the rest. Together with self-awareness and self-management, his EI model includes empathy, internal motivation, and social skills.

Why Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

I can almost hear you thinking:

“What does it all have to do with productivity?”

Hundred to one, you’ve heard of fellows able to build a career and support work-life balance “like a boss.” It seems they are top guns in everything: business, love, child-rearing, leisure, and any other area of life. How do they do that? Are they even humans?

Yes, they are humans but with highly-developed emotional intelligence. It allows them to realize goals more precisely and, therefore, meet them faster; also, it makes them build communication with people on different levels. Those emotionally intelligent are more cognitive and productive.

With the help of emotional intelligence, you can influence your leadership, job performance, communication as well as success, health, and general happiness.

So, why not grow your emotional intelligence to control your productivity?

How to Develop Emotional Intelligence for Better Productivity

First, learn the concept of emotional intelligence to understand its role in your productivity and success. Read abovementioned Salovey, Mayer, and Goleman for starters. You might want to check this list of the best books on the topic and choose the most interesting for you to check. The fastest way to internalize the concepts of emotional intelligence is to take a seminar on the topic.

Second, take tests to find out how emotionally intelligent you are. They are many, and the best are those allowing to learn your behavior in questionable matters. Try this or this one.

Third, listen to motivational TED talks able to boost your emotional intelligence. Or choose any other talk, article, or seminar on the topic. It should inspire you and offer you insights on better productivity.

Fourth, become more socially responsible as it’s one of the highest EI levels. Donate to charity, contribute to others, get involved in volunteering… But don’t do that because you have to; be sincere with your intentions.

And fifth, pay attention to your workspace. Even if freelancing, you need to organize the working environment so it could influence your physical condition, encourage creative thinking, and boost your productivity. For that, take care of light, temperature, furniture, and coziness of the workplace.

Anything Else?

Developing emotional intelligence doesn’t happen instantly. For better productivity, concentrate on self-awareness and self-management as it will help to organize thoughts, goals, and plans for prioritizing and time management.


  • Listen to your body. Seeking productivity, you might work day and night, forgetting about the “too much water drowned the miller” principle. Don’t ignore the signals your body sends because it’s what can prevent from burnout, stresses, or even depressions.
  • Connect feelings and thoughts. Listen to emotions, even if you feel they contradict each other. It’s okay to experience confusion when in doubt; just ask yourself: “What do I think about that? Does it make me better? Does it influence my productivity? Shall I try to control this feeling to be more productive?”
  • Practice understanding your unconscious feelings. For that, consider methods such as free associations, dreams analyzing, and keeping a diary of your emotions. Those repeating more often than others are signals for you to pay attention and concentrate on for better productivity.
  • Consider “self-talks.” Develop a habit of asking yourself the “How do I feel today?” question in the morning, and rate your well-being on a 0-100 scale. Then, think why you feel so and how it influences your mood and productivity. Consider associations it triggers. Is there anything you can do to change the situation for better?
  • Know when it’s enough. Don’t concentrate on inner self only but make sure you are present in the outside world, resonating with it and organizing it for better comfort.

But wait, there’s more:

You can’t be productive without self-awareness, as it’s a root of your character. When you understand who you are and what you want, you’ll find ways to let productivity in your life.

To cultivate and develop self-awareness, try this:

  • Meditation. This practice allows focusing on your inner self by asking a set of questions able to improve your self-awareness. Spend a few minutes meditating before going to bed, during a walk, or first thing in the morning. Answer the questions such as “What do I want? What am I doing to do that? Why do I fail? What can I do to change the situation?”
  • Asking friends or colleagues for feedback. Let them be your mirror and provide objective comments on your behavior. Direct and honest views about your deeds might help to understand what you can do to become better, more efficient, and overall happier.
  • Reading. It’s you and author-you talking, enhancing self-reflection. Make reading your daily habit: spend an hour or two with a book before falling asleep or just listen to audiobooks. Pause them from time to time to think about what you’ve heard.
  • Saying no. It’s hard to do when someone asks for help or assigns extra tasks, in spite of  already being overwhelmed. Learn to say no. It allows analyzing your gut feelings, building your willpower, and deciding on priorities for better productivity. How much time do you need to complete a task? Why do you want to take part in these projects? What does make you spend time with these people? Ask yourself these questions to activate mental triggers for better self-awareness.

Actionable tactics to influence self-awareness are many: walking, sports, writing, conscious breathing, tests and personality questions, apologizing, and more. Chose those fitting you most, and practice them.

reading enhances self-awareness

Together with self-awareness, consider the component of emotional intelligence such as self-management for better personal productivity. It’s all about your emotional self-control, necessary for efficient work, healthy relationships, and inner peace.

You can’t stay productive if losing temper too often. In contrast, mild reactions to stressful situations will help to establish creative surroundings for better work.

How can you enhance self-management?

Make a list of principles. Knowing your values and beliefs, you’ll naturally live by them and make faster decisions on actions to take for achieving them. So, write your personal mission and vision statements to remind yourself what makes you happy. Reviewing them periodically keeps them fresh in your mind.

Analyze your behavior. Does it align with your values and beliefs? What could you do to improve it for better results in the future?

Treat people the way they deserve. Never take a cue from job titles but apply the same policies to people surrounding you.

Keep your word and don’t be afraid of admitting mistakes. It’s not a weakness but strength to do so, and it will also build your credibility.

Sounds Good?

By now, you’ve realized the significant role emotional intelligence plays in people’s balanced life, productivity, and overall success. Do your best to develop it as well as you do with hard skills, but remember:

Emotional intelligence growth takes time and commitment.

Don’t worry if your life and career don’t skyrocket once you’ve started using the above-noted tips. Be sure: you’ll notice small yet crucial changes in self-awareness and relationship management before much longer.

By Lesley Vos, a text content specialist from Chicago, helping peers develop the confidence and skills for better articles creation and promotion. Visit her blog to discover the world of plagiarism-free content, and don’t hesitate to follow Lesley on Twitter.

Featured photo by Scott Webb from Pexels

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  • Abdullah June 12, 2021, 5:35 pm

    Thank you for the Knowledge