Replace One Bad Habit With a Good One
Becoming highly productive requires the elimination of habits which are not highly productive. The installation of good habits is required to fill the void.
Bad habits are like weeds. They grow strong and they grow fast. You barely notice them and before you know it, they’re causing trouble in your lawn or garden. They have really strong roots too. Think of a dandelion. You try to pull it out of the ground but to get the entire root out requires a lot more effort the just tugging the top.
Energy? Yes. Will power is driven by energy. Willpower is necessary for focused attention and especially to create new habits. It’s a very interesting subject. The subject of books, not short articles (though I hope this article helps), and the study of it is powerfully enlightening.
Will power comes in limited supply. We only get a little bit every day. It gets used up in short bursts and after that, the vacuum left in its place is fertile ground for weeds. Touch a button and you’re checking email. Touch a button and you’re checking Facebook. Open the fridge, reach for a smoke…it’s hard to break this habit cycle!
As business owners (and this is true for high-level executives), it’s uncommon to get in more than a couple of hours of truly productive work. What is “productive work?” Productive work is the focused attention and action which produces the highest-value. What is “highest value”? Highest value is determined by the results your work will produce now and in the future. To be truly productive requires focused attention on your highest-value tasks for a concentrated period of time and then a period of recovery.
Studies have shown, most people are limited to about one hour of focused attention at a time before their ability to remain focused begins to fade. A break of about 20 minutes, including water and a healthy snack, delivers the necessary recovery for the next hour. 2 of these sessions in the morning and 2 in the afternoon will give you 4 highly productive hours in the day. Do this, and you will still have a couple of good hours to spend in “reactive mode” such as responding to emails, returning phone calls and attending to the minutia on your to-do list.
One thing can make all the difference. What is it? Here’s a list of ideas:
When you invest time into your day in this manner, you’ll know you’re being productive. You’ll know the new you is more productive than 90% of other people. You’ll feel less worked, less stressed and you’ll be invested in your business or career at a much deeper level.
Tip #1: Set a timer to for your 1-hour segments. Your cell phone probably has a built-in timer. If you don’t, the hour will spill into longer periods. Even though it may feel easy for you to blow right through the first hour and keep going, it’s vital to stop and take a the renewal break. This serves more than just the renewal. It also trains your brain to execute at a higher level so your 1-hour’s worth of work gets finished faster and better.
Tip #2: Start your day early. Get the blood and body moving. Get some oxygen flowing through your lungs and brain. Drink water. If you must eat, keep it light. Get 2 sessions in before noon.
Tip #3: Keep the momentum going by having a nutritious lunch. Keep it as light as possible. You want to avoid afternoon-crash syndrome which is generally attributable to a heavy lunch. Don’t even open your email until this time of the day. Be vigilant with your time here and make sure you have your next planned hour of focused productivity scheduled for a specific time and stick with it.
Studies have shown most people accomplish less than 2 hours of productive work per 8 hour day. Imagine the difference focusing on 4 hours on highly productive work for you. Do it for yourself and then help your employees implement this strategy for themselves. Imagine the difference it could make in your business and your life.