What are habits? In its most basic form, it is based on the Law of Hypnotic Rhythm. It essentially states that when a thought or physical movement repeated over a period of time it forms into a habit or an organised rhythm which makes it permanent. Therefore routines that you perform on a regular basis over time will become a habit. It is automatic, very little effort required from your us and it is just a natural part of us. One of the simplest example of a habit is what you do first thing in the morning. Without much thought you will go about your day doing pretty much the same thing at pretty much the same time and in a particular order of how you would do them.
Habits are beneficial because:
- You don’t have to think about it, worry about it or work at it.
- It establishes stability and defines your comfort zone.
- It is a safe structure that protects and keeps your safe and secure.
- It saves you time and increases your competencies or skills as you perform the same function repeatedly.
What are productivity habits? In a nutshell, routines that help you to save time, get more done in less time and focused sessions for you to do your best work.
What are the critical success factors for successful productivity habits?
Key elements of all productivity habits are: Mindset, Discipline and Sustainability.
Let’s break down the 3 critical success factors for successful productivity habits:
Yes, everything starts with your mindset. To create or change a habit, you will need to have a mindset that is open to creating or changing a habit. You must not only want to create a new habit but must also believe that you are able to.
I have said several times, I will say it again, the direction of our life is determined by our strongest thoughts. Your mindset determines the direction of your life and the success of the path that you take. No one who is successful has a mindset of failure. Successful people have a learner or growth mindset. If you want to create or change a habit but have a mindset that is opposed to doing it, then it is a certain that you will not be successful in creating or changing your habit.
Questions to change your mindset:
- Why am I doing what I am doing?
- What triggers me to keep the motivation and excitement to keep to a habit or routine?
- What can I do to make this easier or simpler? Am I complicating this task?
- What can I do to have some fun or to make this task enjoyable?
Simple questions that will give you the answers to establish the right mindset. Once you have the right mindset, then we can move to the next step which is to establish routines.
Routines are what will help you create habits. A habit is made up of 3 components, a trigger, an action and a response. Routines help you to set up all 3 components. For example, I had wanted to learn to brush my teeth with my non-dominant hand because I read this book that suggested that if you do that at the start of the day, it will help the mind to learn better or something to that effect. Anyway, the trigger to brush my teeth with my non-dominant hand starts with how I position where the toothbrush was placed. It is usually on the right side of the basin and I thought that if I placed it on the left side, that might help trigger a different action because now I would have to pick up the toothbrush with my left hand and with that different action, to create a new response which was to brush my teeth with my left hand since the toothbrush was already on my left hand. Brilliant, isn’t it? I am sure you are dying to know if I have successfully learned how to brush my teeth with my left hand and the answer is yes, albeit not as fast or as graceful as with my right hand but I know that over time it will be efficient enough.
Routines are fundamental and starting point of creating any habits. Routines are designed for you to do a certain task repeatedly, in the same order until you have mastered it. You have mastered it when it becomes a habit.
You would have heard or read about routines whether morning or evening of successful people. Some people have strange wake up times like 2am and a very regimented schedule where they follow while others are more reasonable like 6am start to a day. No matter what the wake up time and what they do during that routine, the element is still the same. There is a trigger, action and response and the cycle repeats.
The key is to establish a routine that you are able to maintain and repeat over a period of at least 63 days. That’s right 21 days is not enough to create habit which basically answers the question as to why you have not developed a habit after just 21 days.
Questions to get you started on creating a routine:
- what is your work style?
- what is your current routine or habit that is working, what is not working, what needs to change?
- When are you most productive?
- What are some examples or enhances that you would need to learn?
- When does your work feel like a flow and not one where you have to dragged yourself to do it?
These set of questions will help you know how you can start creating a routine that reflects you, the way you work, the best time for you to do the work or task at hand and for you to find the best ways to be the most productivity.
Discipline is the critical superpower that will enable to do it. In order to execute on the routine, you will require not just the routines but the discipline to start and carry it through until completion. Discipline is what will enable to you do that. Without discipline, it is fairly safe to say that your best intentions will not receive its desired outcome.
I know that in today’s world, discipline is not a very popular word as it implies that effort, pain and discomfort is somehow involved. For the most part, it is true. For you to create or change any habit, will be uncomfortable, sometimes inconvenient and painful but if you believe that the benefits of the new habit that you want to create outweighs the downside, then you will need discipline to help you get over the line.
Discipline in itself can be argued as a habit because like a habit, it takes time to grow and with practice it does grow stronger.
Productivity Habits requires the right mindset which is based on 3 simple questions: 1. Why am I doing this? 2. What can I do to make this easier or simpler? 3. What can I do to make this take enjoyable or to have some fun doing it?
The second part is the routine that will create the habit. Think about what the triggers, actions and rewards that I would need to put in place in order to consistently execute the routine.
The final element is the acknowledgement for discipline, the magic source that will allow the routines to be sustainable especially when the going gets tough.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope that you have learned at least one thing that you are able to apply into your everyday life. As always, please subscribe, follow and share this blog with your friends. Take care and step into the everyday with purpose.