There is an old saying in the business world that states that 20% of your action drives 80% of your results and the same can be said about your character. So much of what defines us is our habits; the thoughtless, auto-piloted micro-actions that make up our day. Habits are really just preplanned reactions that help to reduce the number of decisions we make in a day.
What do you do when you first wake up in the morning? Chances are it’s the same thing you did yesterday when you woke up, and the day before that; and the day before that. You probably also fall into one of two groups of people. People who wake up and do what they did yesterday out of a lazy habit (ease, convenience, etc) or people who wake up and do what they did yesterday out of intentional habit (getting to the gym, waking up before the kids, etc).
The key to long-term success in business, in life, and in anything is to optimize your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day. Distracted or not the hours pass all the same. If you’re waking up and following lazy habits -it’s time to change that. It’s time to tell your time, energy, and effort where to go and it’s time to own your day.
These 3 Productive Habits will help you make the most of today and every day!
Productive Habit #1: Defining Your Goals
If you’re going to be successful at ANYTHING you have to know what it means to be successful. Goals are how we do that. Make a habit of setting goals, but not just big, vague, overarching goals like “building wealth” or “getting more customers”, but rather short-term, intentional, and actionable micro-goals structured towards your larger goals.
For example, let’s say you started a podcast and your goal is to be on the top 25 list. That’s a fine goal but right out of the gate that doesn’t define much action. Instead, let’s say you set a monthly goal to start your social media channels so that you could start reaching more potential listeners. That goal is much more focused and directed and gives you plenty of smaller action steps to start breaking out.
The same concept needs to be applied to your day when you plan it in the morning, or the night before. What are your top priorities? What deliverables need to be out of the door? What larger projects need to be completed? Then start breaking out the smaller steps towards getting those action items achieved and know exactly where to put your attention during your work hours.
Productive Habit #2: Knowing When Enough is Enough
Productive people know when enough is enough. This is so often overlooked by our culture that seems to fear slowing down and resents quitting, but it is essential.
There are plenty of times in business where it makes no practical sense to continue and walking away is the absolute right choice. There is no shame in that and many times quitting an unfulfilling or unreasonable project frees up more productivity than you would have gained in the first place. Quitting can be good.
On the same note, taking breaks is also great for productivity. Working a balanced life whenever possible often leads to a much more productive work life. You cannot be inspired or motivated when you’re exhausted, and it’s hard to give your job 100% when you can’t remember the last time you had fun.
Productive Habit #3: Avoid ALL Distractions
Distractions are the murderers of productivity. Research has shown that that tiny ding from our phone releases enough endorphins to make us smile and you’re probably less likely to remember the last time you worked a whole undisturbed day than the opposite. In order to own your day, you have to reduce those as much as possible.
There are countless ways to reduce distractions:
- Close your office door
- Turn DND mode on your phone (and all work apps)
- Set routines to automatically turn on DND’s and other volume settings during specific work hours
- Store the things you need close to where you need them (chargers on your desk, pens at reach, etc)
- Only check your emails at designated times
- Set office or call hours to keep all communications to one period
- Have you calendar app open on your screen or phone so you can keep track of your plan and what you should be doing at any given time
Reducing distractions will look different for each person depending on your situation and needs; the main goal is to just create a space where you can work without interruptions so that when that elusive motivation is pumping through your veins you are able to utilize it before it scared off by a pointless email reminder about a meeting next month or text message from your kid’s carpool lane group chat.
Continuing to build productive habits. . .
Habits are powerful. It only takes a few weeks to form a habit. Once your habits are created they become second nature which means you can continue to develop NEW habits. This means with a few focused and intentional months you can completely redesign the way you live and work to own every single day!
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