Everyday when I arrived at work, I would login to my computer and dive into my inbox and work furiously until it was emptied. Although, this is not necessarily a bad thing, it was a bad habit for me. It prevented me from doing anything else and stole from what I thought was truly productive. If you look at your daily routines, I bet you have a lot of bad habits and a lot of good ones too.
Our habits make up our daily routines and have become ingrained into our being. For the scope of this article, think about work. For many of us this starts with where we park our cars. Then our first stop might be the coffee maker or even swinging by a person’s office. I know I used to check in with my boss and ask a random question everyday because it was a habit. Take note of all of the motions you go through in just the first 30 mins of your day. You will realize they are the same or very similar everyday.
Once you know how you think and act each day, you can determine which habits are beneficial and which are not. As leaders, we need to make sure we are making the best use of our time. I go back to my finish line idea for this. My finish line is where I want to be when I leave this particular organization or team. It is a great way for me to measure my actions against my goals. In my last job, my finish line was to serve others through mentorship and to connect with each member on my team. Therefore, running to my inbox each day did not move this needle forward. It helped me to stay informed and got me into less trouble with my boss, but did not help me connect. Bad Habit.
What could you do to change your habits for the better? We aren’t wired to just stop a habit. Most of us need to replace the habit. To replace our habits we need to recognize what James Clear calls the “trigger.” This is what starts the process. Some smoke after a meal. Some grab a soda before the car ride home. For me to stop bothering my boss each morning, I went in a different door. This allowed me to reprogram my brain. Look for a way to shake up your normal routine. Once you eliminate as many of those triggers as you can, you will be to insert a habit that moves you closer to your finish line.
1) What are your habits? Good and/or Bad as measured against your finish line.
2) Keep doing the Good ones / replace the Bad ones
3) What could you be doing to better reach your finish line?
4) Shake up your routine to eliminate the triggers of your Bad habits and insert Good habit here.
5) World domination