Leadership

How doing things for others will make you happier, according to billionaire Richard Branson

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson says a few small tweaks to your day can help keep you from feeling down or stressed.

"We are at our most productive and creative when we are happy and being ourselves at work," Branson recently wrote in a blog post.

Some ways Branson has already worked to boost productivity and happiness at his companies include shortening the workweek, allowing employees to work remotely and implementing extended parental leave.

Branson also pointed to the work of Poppy Jamie, the founder of Happy Not Perfect, a company that uses the advice of scientists, therapists and breathing specialists to help others de-stress and feel more balanced emotionally and mentally.

He explained that in a letter Jamie wrote for a Virgin Spotlight series, she detailed a concept called "the others" mindset. As the name implies, this mindset allows you to focus on others to help them feel more confident, while also boosting your own happiness.

"Having a mission to your work that incorporates a purpose bigger than yourself is such fast track to enjoying life more," Jamie noted.

Here are the three ways Branson recommended adopting an "others" mindset in your daily life.

Create time during your busy day

Most full-time employees work about 8.6 hours, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means we spend about half of our waking hours at work, not including our commute time. Branson underscored the value of making time for others.

"The day can often slip by in a hurried blur so it's important to set aside time for the most important people in your life," he said.

Instead, make an effort to take a walk during your lunch break, make it to a family dinner "or even [making] a FaceTime call can really make a difference," Branson added.

Be a good listener

"When spending time with the people who are most important to you, make them feel important and valued by listening," Branson said.

Being a good listener is actually a top skill that great leaders and managers share, according to former Google career coach Jenny Blake.

"When someone is talking to you, don't just sit there waiting to answer and to tell them all about how this relates to you," Branson said. "Have empathy and think about what they are going through and really listen to what they have to say.

Fundamentally, Branson noted, the conversation "isn't about you, it's about them."

Make someone's day

After completing the previous two steps, Branson said you will be more informed on what is going on with other people.

"Once you've got an insight into what's going on in someone's life, think about what you could do to make someone feel better or make them smile," he said.

The last step is to think of what you might be able to do to "lighten someone's workload or make their life a little easier."

"Shifting to this mindset requires small change that could make a huge difference," Branson said.

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