Creating Productive Habits

How often do you stop to think about your habits? Those things that you do repeatedly without (much, if any) thinking. Well most of us don't stop to think because these actions are so ingrained in our lives. Maybe it's time to pause.

Think of how many actions you'd taken today that you consider habitual.

Think of how many of them are things you feel good about.

Think of how many are things you don't feel as good about.

Now, in consideration of your work habits, what are some things you do regularly and how do you feel about those things?

The work I do with many clients comes down to building habits. Whether it's running a schedule for your social media profiles, adjusting your weekly calendar to allow enough admin time, or looking at your time across a day to make it more productive. Most of the solutions relate to creating a new habit, or adapting your old habits.

No, this isn't easy work but the power of what happens when you change your habits makes it worth it. So, how does one build more productive habits? First off, be sure that you want to make the change - otherwise, save yourself some trouble and frustration and revisit it when you are seriously ready for change.

Sometimes it helps to ask yourself what will happen if you don't change - often the answer gives you a clear picture of what you're trying to avoid and can motivate you into change.

habit creation

What makes a new habit stick?

Start with Why. Yet another case where Simon Sinek's mantra fits well. If you don't know why you want to make the change, you'll have a lot more trouble making it work. So take time to identify how this fits with your values and what you are working towards.

Make it Achievable. Don't set the bar too high straight away. Work up to it. Most people usually get down on themselves easily when building new habits - don't set yourself up to be one of them!

Get a Buddy. A little support (or accountability!) goes a long way. Tell someone about your plans and ask them to check in how you're going. When you know you have to answer to someone else, that gives you some extra motivation.

Try an App to Keep You on Track. There are tons of apps out there that allow you to track the progress of your habit and set yourself reminders so that you're taking action.

Work Backwards from Larger Goals. If the habits lead you to your bigger goals, this should certainly help with your "why" and staying on track.

Above all, be patient with yourself, take it slow and keep at it. Before you know it (or well 66 days down the track, on average) these new behaviours will be embedded into your life.

If you're looking for a more in-depth read about habits, head over to James Clear's Habit Guide for some excellent advice on the topic!