I have always felt bad about how fast time seems to go these days. And as I'm writing this monthly happiness report, I can't help but think the same thing. It feels like only yesterday that I just finished writing about June. It's actually a tribute to how nice July was for me. I think this might have actually been my most productive month ever.
I'll try to explain why in this article. But one thing I know now is that being productive is one way for me to feel happy.
Because I was pretty damn happy this July!
I've tracked my happiness on every single day of the month. Let's have a look at a simple overview of my average happiness ratings.
July was another nice month with an average happiness rating of nearly an 8. Great! 2018 is turning out to be a great year for me.
I don't want to jinx it though, so let me knock on wood for a moment. I only hope nothing bad happens and that I can continue to be this happy for the rest of the month!
Let's see how this month became such a happy month for me.
The chart below visualizes exactly what my happiness ratings looked like throughout July. Like always, I have sprinkled some comments to this chart to add some much needed context.
Apart from the slight dip at the start of the month, this chart is actually one of the most consistent I have ever showed you on this Monthly Happiness Series.
Hell, a total of 15 days in July were rated with an 8 on my happiness scale.
And there were a couple I even rated higher!
But these happiness ratings are only a part of my happiness tracking method. The happiness factors are just as valuable!
The table below shows all the happiness factors that influenced my happiness in July 2018.
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Let's have a look at a couple of the days that were key for my happiness in July.
It's only fitting that I start with the first and only real dip in my happiness in July. I rated the 3rd day of July with just a 6,5 on my happiness scale.
Why was this such a "bad" day? I'll show you in just a second. But I first want to point out why this day was not a bad day per definition. I still rated it higher than a 5.5, so according to my happiness scale, this was not a bad day.
It was however way below average.
You see, July was a seriously busy month for me. My work had already been crazy busy in June, and it looked like I was heading for another stressful period again. But I was mostly just sleep deprived, though.
When I got back from work on the 3rd of July, I was seriously drained and slightly agitated. And it resulted in my lowest happiness rating of the month. I wrote about it in my happiness tracking journal:
What a shit day. I woke up feeling extremely tired. It was relatively busy at work. Spent quite a bit of time in crunch mode, but I shouldn't exaggerate... I'm mostly just super tired.
My girlfriend was already home when I got back from work, as she had a day off. We had a meaningless argument over something stupid, and I couldn't really cope with it. I guess we both irritated each other, and I got pretty pissed because of it.
We had a good discussion about it and I guess it was necessary. I feel like you just need a solid argument like this every now and then. Or at least... It's unavoidable. That's what you get when you move in together, I guess?
I've been feeling a little cranky lately anyway. It's like I'm agitated real easily and my tolerance is pretty weak. I know that I need to sleep more, so that's what I'm going to try tonight.
Spent the whole evening just relaxing. Watched the World Cup and that's it. England is about to shoot penalties against Colombia. What a great tournament it has been... Going to bed straight after this game. Bye!
This was the only day in July that my happiness was slightly down, and it was clearly caused by my tiredness.
Luckily, the rest of July was much better!
I restored my sleep deprivation and managed to really enjoy my time spent outside of the office.
Spending quality time with my girlfriend
My girlfriend and I spent some great quality time together. And I think we foudn a new hobby in the process!
A new hobby?
Yes, we spent a lot of time going out on nice walks!
After a long day at work, there is nothing better than to just walk through the city or forest for an hour and to just chat and walk. We did this a lot in July. Not only is it good for our health, I feel like it also strengthens our relationship. We get to clear our heads, laugh about silly stuff and just connect on these simple walks.
It may sound boring to you, but I actually loved these little walks!
My most productive month ever?
As I said at the start of this post, the time really flew by in July. I felt like I was constantly running around doing one thing or another.
My work was pretty busy, with multiple peaks in workload. My job tends to be like that. One day, I'm just sitting around doing my thing, and then the next day comes along and BAM! Crunch mode and full throtle is required just like that. When a deadline is nearing, things usually DON'T go as planned, even though we try our best to plan in advance. This results in a lot of these peaks.
And I like it that way.
Or at least, when these peaks are just that: peaks. I don't mind working at 200% every now and then, as long as it doesn't become a standard. Luckily, that hasn't happened so far. 🙂
I actually enjoyed my job this month!
But I wasn't just productive at work. I also pushed myself in other areas of my life.
I tried to run as much as possible again. At the start of July, I signed up for a half marathon in September. I want to get back into marathon-shape again, and I don't want to have any excuses! I'm running this half marathon on the 16th of September, so I have to get used to running long distances again!
Also, I want to run my fifth marathon in the first half 0f 2019! And I'm aiming for another sub 4-hour time!
I was also pretty productive with my blogging (that's what you're reading right now on this website!). I have big goals for this entire website, and I am constantly busy with pushing it in the right direction. It takes a lot of hard work, but I like it! I spent a big amount of my time in July on this website.
Being productive like this seems to have a great influence on my happiness.
I want to show you what the best day of July was like for me. I wrote the following on the 18th of July, which was a fantastic day. I determined my relationship, running and blogging as positive happiness factors. I rated this Wednesday with an 8,50 on my happiness rating scale!
This is what I wrote down about that day:
LOVELY DAY. Work was chill. My manager will be on holiday for a couple of weeks, so he handed over some of his responsibilities to me. I'll be working without a manager for the next 3 weeks, and I'm looking forward to see how it goes.
I woke up this morning and noticed that another website had linked to Tracking Happiness. Yes! But it got better. At 4 in the afternoon, I posted one of my articles on a news aggregator site. I didn't expect much of it. One hour later, during my ride back home, I got a notification saying that I had 200 active visitors. Lolwut? My article was featured on the front page, and as I'm writing this right now, my website has been viewed 20.000 times. Fucking hell, that is awesome. This really made me happy today.
Anyway, I had a nice dinner with my girlfriend back home. We walked another 2.5 kilometers and I fixed her bicycle tire, which was nice. It's nice to spend time like this together, which I needed. I love her. She went for a drink with her colleagues at 8, so that gave me some time to do my own thing.
I started with a run, which went great. I finally got back to a speed of 13.5 km/hr, despite the freaking heat. Nice. Played some games and watched the Office the rest of the evening, which is always really relaxing.
All in all, this was a great day. I want more of these!
What's clear from this journal entry is that my relationship really had a positive influence on my happiness. I really loved spending time with my girlfriend like this in July. My relationship was actually the biggest positive happiness factor this month, but more on that later! 🙂
Let's have a look at the complete list of positive happiness factors.
Positive happiness factors
The chart below shows all the positive happiness factors of July 2018.
The clear winner here is my relationship. Spending time with my girlfriend has had an amazing influence on my happiness in July.
We tried to spend as much quality time together as possible. We even found a new hobby together, as walking has been a great outlet for us so far. In addition, we spent a lot of time doing other nice activities as well. We visited a lot of our families, went for nice dinners, picknicked with our friends and visited the zoo! 🙂
Ever since we moved in together, our relationship has really grown. I know my relationship has grown a lot as a happiness factor since we started living together. I want to find out in another analysis how much this effect has really grown!
Negative happiness factors
The chart below shows all the negative happiness factors of July.
Just two factors! This proves that July was a great month for me.
Being tired negatively influenced my happiness on 6 days. Man, I really need to get my sleep habits in order.
What didn't help was the weather. We got hit by multiple heatwaves in the Netherlands. It was the hottest summer since the '70's or something, and our apartment turned into an oven on some days. It had a direct negative effect on my happiness, as my runs were less enjoyable and it was something just very unpleasant to be outside.
But it also kept me from sleeping well. This then resulted in more tiredness. As I'm writing this, we've luckily had a couple of rainshowers again. I'm just really glad these heatwaves are over (fow now). I hope I'll be able to get some better sleep in August! 🙂
I hope these posts give you a general idea of what tracking happiness means to me. Because I'm tracking my happiness ratings and factors every single day, I am fully aware of what I need to do in order to become as happy as I can be. With that said, I hope I can somehow inspire you to also start tracking your happiness. 🙂
If you have any questions about anything, please let me know in the comments below, and I'll be happy to answer you!