Improve Your Productivity By Creating Better Habits
When it comes to improving your personal productivity there are a number of strategies you can use to make this happen. One strategy that I like to suggest is to challenge yourself to add a habit or behaviour that will support your overall productivity.
Habits are semi automatic behaviours and routines which can either be irritating of distractions but in fact we also have some great habits which support us and make us successful.
You could approach this from the perspective of getting rid of a habit or behavior that currently hinders your overall productivity. It doesn’t matter as much which of these two you choose to do as long as you actually complete the thirty day challenge.
Why Thirty Days? Well that how long a behaviour can take to become a habit. Behaviours especially new ones take time effort and concentration. Habits are effortless.
Imagine having a new habit which just gave you the behaviour which would improve your productivity – effortlessly.
THE THIRTY DAY HABIT CHANGE CHALLENGE
What’s your motivation? New performance or get rid of an old one. Get your motivation here its easy!
- What will you get it you do this?
- What will you lose if you do this?
- What will you not get it you do this?
- What will you gain if you do this?
Wikipedia defines “Habit” as
“…A habit, from the standpoint of psychology, is a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.”
The thirty day challenge is based on three specific principles that make it work.
The first principle is the idea of “Awareness Is Curative”. This is the idea that as we make ourselves consciously aware of something then we can do something about it because it’s not happening out of our awareness. – Take a habit from unconscious competence to Conscious awareness you have a chance of change!
This is important because if we are trying to change a habit then we have to make ourselves consciously aware of when we are performing the unwanted behavior. Conversely, if we are trying to add a new habit then conscious repetition is one of the keys to making it an automatic behavior.
The second principle of “Focus Causes Growth” works on the idea that the things we focus on tend to grow. This is partially because that increased focus implies increased importance. Since we usually perform or tend to the things we deem important first then this is a way to leverage that mental strategy.
Finally, the thirty day challenge works because a “temporary commitment is easier to keep then a permanent one”. That is you can more easily make the mental decision to do something for thirty days then you can to say you will do it for the rest of your life. It’s a well-known psychological adage that a habit can be formed in 21 consecutive days. Once you have formed this habit then no more conscious input is needed on your part.
YOUR 60 SECOND DECISION MAKING PROCESS STEPS
Step 1. Identify a habit to create or change.
Step 2. Commit to daily execution.
Step 3. Keep track of your execution or lack thereof.
Step 4. Adjust your execution using triggers if needed on a daily or weekly basis.
Step 5. Add controls as necessary.
COMMON THIRTY DAY CHALLENGE ISSUES
Of course whenever you are given a new routine and set of behaviours there will usually be some form of resistance to it even if it was your own idea.
Let’s take a look at three of the more common issues that people have encountered with this and what they have done to get past them.
Issue #1 – Looking Past The Thirty Days
This is when instead of keeping their focus on just doing what needs to be done today their focus shifts to what happens a month or six months from now.
The biggest solution here is to just trust that if you do your part for the next thirty days that the rest will work itself out. The reason we know this to be true is that you currently have positive habits that are working for you right now that you are not even conscious of. We are just giving you a more direct way to add to that collection.
Issue #2 – Making It To Cumbersome To Track
There are two things that will allow you to be successful in the thirty day challenge. The first is to make sure you perform the new habit or substitute something in place of an existing habit you are trying to change. The second part is to make sure you track this.
Tracking your daily execution doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be as simple as adding a tally to a piece of paper or adding an entry to your digital diary or notepad. Keep it simple.
Issue #3 – Focus On The Habit Instead Of The Process
This is like trying to watch water boil and forgetting the fact that if it’s heated at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time it will boil most of the time.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
If you want something different in your life then you need to do something different – and really this means you have to physically do something different.
When you want to change big stuff you’ll do this much more effectively by doing something small, making a real change happen and discover your potential for change.