Home » Happiness Tip: Do a Few Quick Favors

Happiness Tip: Do a Few Quick Favors

There are countless things we can do for others that take very little of our time. We can make an introduction, help a fellow traveler with their luggage, hold a door open, send a helpful article to a friend who’s looking for information. We can do the earth a favor by using a reusable shopping bag or water bottle. My friends ask me all the time to post information about their work on my social media pages. It usually takes me less than five minutes, but it is a way I can give to my friends by supporting their work.

Acknowledging other people can also be a great gift. Public recognition is, for many people, the highest form of praise. So take two minutes to send an email to a co-worker who is doing great work, and copy the rest of your team. Or make a card for your kid’s teacher, and invite the whole class to write on it something they love about him or her.

Five-minute favors, a term coined by Adam Grant, include random acts of kindness. Google the phrase “random acts of kindness” for literally millions of ideas.

Want extra credit? Research shows that people tend to get more bang for their happiness buck when they do a bunch of five-minute favors together once a week than just one a day. My kids and I call the times when we string together a dozen or so five-minute favors “kindness scavenger hunts.” We make a nice long list of random acts of kindness (things like distributing care kits to homeless people and bringing vegetables from our garden to our neighbors) and then do as many as we possibly can in one afternoon.

Which favors can you do in a cluster? When will you schedule your kindness binge?

This post is from a series about social connections from the “Science of Finding Flow,” an online course I created as a companion to my book The Sweet Spot: How to Accomplish More by Doing Less. Want to go on to the next class or start the course from the beginning? It’s free! Just go to The Science of Finding Flow course page. Enjoy!