by Peter Luscombe

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein

We all have our ways of going about work. Some tried-‘n-true which skate us through the day. Unawares, however, we may be losing valuable energy, or in a rut, by going down the same road every day. Maybe it might prove beneficial if you give yourself a shake-up about your work habits?

Insight – The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not.

If you sit with this for a moment, then you realize that being productive isn’t necessarily to do with how much time you spend on a task, instead, how much attention and energy you bring to a task. The attitude of: ‘Right, let’s get this done!’ is empowering. With this in mind, you also focus on tasks rather than time.

starInsight – Having a ‘finishing line’ in sight makes summoning the energy to complete a task easier.

You’ve run the race, got to the finishing line, however, the race-time isn’t the crucial element here. It’s that you have completed a stage of the task you set yourself, or the task itself is complete. You had in mind the start to the task and set out with a clearly defined end-point. With this perspective in mind, time driven deadlines loom less. Time is less of a tyrant.

Also, with this perspective you can take a deserved break to foster your energy. You need not drive yourself further. Time to reward yourself! If you want to change your work habits then do so in stages and celebrate when you have completed what you’ve set yourself. Reward re-enforces habits, yes?

Insight – To build a new habit stack it on an existing one.

You don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. A change doesn’t always mean wiping the slate clean and starting all over again. You can just as easily, without too much fuss or effort, simply stack or add on. We all have existing habits. Many which we do without thinking? You can use these to trigger new, work habits. With that, remember, you can add on incrementally.

A good way to build a habit is have your ‘tools’ all set before you; right in front. You’re immediately orientated, feel you’ve already made a start and with repetition this then becomes a habit in itself. Of course, changing the set-up of your ‘tools’ will also help in changing work habits. A ‘mix’ or ‘switch-up’ in itself is a potent means.

Insight – You are primarily responsible for any change.

If you don’t like it, change it. If you can’t change it, then accept or change your perspective.

This in its way is a psychological truism and can be empowering. Any change begins with yourself and benefits you. The ways and means will vary from individual to individual and their circumstances, however, there are recognized qualities for making change:

  • Be a do-er/committed
  • Be a team player
  • Be able to take ownership
  • Be an active learner
  • Be organized and show spirit
  • Be proactive

As a tangential end-note, in an article in ‘Forbes,’ 9 Habits Of Productive People, IIya Pozin makes the point:

Stop multi-tasking. Stop trying to do 10 things at once! Changing tasks more than 10 times a day drops your IQ an average of 10 points. Get things done more effectively and efficiently by focusing on one task at a time.

Less is more when it comes to being productive during the workday. Stick to the basics for reaching productivity.

Work habits need not be seen as poor or even adverse, however, mixing up and switching around – giving yourself a shake-up – can often benefit.

Even so, procrastination can set in. Perhaps you procrastinate? What is procrastination about? What can you do? The next post in this series considers such questions.

The Work Habits series is published each Sunday