“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” This Aristotle’s observation is backed up by research. It was found that our habits power about 40% of our daily actions. The right habits are a powerful tool to transform our lives. This is evident in the daily routines of successful people. By setting up a daily routine, they have managed to structure their lives so that they could be more productive and achieve their goals. The process of routinizing oneself is not as complex as it might seem. It just requires clearly defined steps to follow.
Step 6: Deal with something difficult when your energy level is the highest. Productivity fluctuates during the day. There are some individual differences, but it has been observed that many people have an energy spike in the morning. This is the time when you should deal with one of the difficult tasks such as replying to a stakeholder’s awkward e-mail. Once you are done with the task, you will not be distracted by it for the rest of your day.
Step 7: Be consistent. Actor Dwayne Johnson once said: “Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success.” There is a common belief that you can form a habit in 21 days. In reality, you need 66 days to turn a new behaviour into a habit. However, this is just an average. Depending on the type of habit you are trying to form, it might take between 18 to 254 days.
Step 8: Spend some time in silence. Practice meditation, yoga or some other quiet activity so that you can start your day well. 15 to 30 minutes spent in silence doing structured meditation or simply sitting with a cup of coffee contemplating the day broadens your perspective, and gives you “a calmer, more proactive outlook on the day”. Silence helps you smoothly transition to fulfilling your agenda.
Step 9: Don’t touch your phone. 49% of people check their phones first thing in the morning. Most typically, they check e-mails or scroll on social media. Very often they spend more time on their phones than they intended. Consequently, they have less time for important tasks. 53% of people who check their phones upon waking up experience low productivity, while 2 out of 5 people feel stressed.
Step 10: Set aside time for zero-interruption work. To increase your productivity, you need to include in your calendar time for ‘high-impact work’ which will not be interrupted. This work requires an environment which sharpens your focus. You should not use your phone, social media or news sites. If your mind is wandering, keep a ‘distraction list’ where you write down everything that distracts you. Also remember not to read or reply to e-mails.