Whether it’s personally or professionally, we live in a world of more. There’s always more emails to send, more customers to attract, more hours at the gym to fit in—and the list goes on.
With all of the items on our to-do list begging for attention, it’s much easier to feel overwhelmed than motivated. Rather than developing the processes and mindset we need to achieve our wants efficiently, we end up falling back on bad habits. They help us cope; to escape from the constant stresses and struggle to succeed.
They’re also easy to pick up from within our social circles. On account of social proximity effect, you’re likely to mirror the habits of those you spend the most time with. It’s a nonstop cycle of influence that can work against you at every angle.
When you’re building a business from the ground up, it’s important to come out with guns blazing. You want to set an example to those around you and instill the kind of positive workplace habits needed to meet deadlines.
Let’s take a look at the different ways you can go about building better work habits that stick.
First Things First: Break the Bad Habits
Building good habits starts with a deep dive into the bad ones. You have to be cognizant of the actions at work that aren’t getting you anywhere before you can effectively identify the ones that will.
For example, maybe your time blocked schedule for the day falls apart, without fail, every time an email notification pops into the right hand corner of your screen. Ask yourself why you feel so compelled to break focus and follow where that notification leads. Identifying your bad habit triggers ahead of time sets the groundwork for replacing them.
Start Small with Morning Rituals
Building better work habits is all about consistency. You’re trying to establish a routine—actions that feel as though they’re second nature.
One of the best places to start in building better habits is with your morning ritual. Whether you’re aware of it or not, this is something in your life that has probably already been established through a sequence of constant, daily events. Add a positive activity into the mix, like ten minutes of meditation or reading up on industry trends—something that feels both beneficial and attainable.
Scale Back on the Bigger Picture
You should think of your work habit-building goals in the same way you would quarterly performance goals. There’s a larger, main objective on the horizon but what you’re really focused on are the strategic tasks needed to achieve it.
Envision the positive work habit you want to practice as the bigger picture. Then scale backwards with actionable tools and “micro quotas” to use in measuring progress over time.
Commit to a Timeline
You can do anything for 30 days. Seeing as habits, as previously mentioned, are all about consistency and repetition, make it a point to act on your desired habits for a month straight.
This will prove much more effective in the long run than simply setting a goal of doing something two to three times a week for the foreseeable future. Give yourself a set timeline and check in with yourself regularly to measure against what is and isn’t working.
Your surroundings can either be the cause of your success or demise when it comes to forming better work habits. If, for example, you surround yourself with people at work that are constantly complaining, you’re likely to embody the same mindset.
Similarly, if you find it hard to disconnect and take a vacation because you’re tied to your phone, then keeping your phone close at hand when on a tropical getaway isn’t going to help. Remember your triggers and avoid them—replacing instead with a gradually developed sense of self-awareness.
Own Your Imperfections
It’s by no means easy to build better habits, especially when it’s harder to get rid of the bad ones you already have. But be kind to yourself. Know that every move you do or do not make is all part of a longer term game.
And when you do fumble—’cause trust us, you will—own it. Don’t waste time trying to pinpoint the right excuse. Take the blame and reflect on where things went wrong so you can easily jump back on the horse without ever missing a beat.