As I lay in bed this morning, I thought about what I needed to get done today. I felt excited as I was looking forward to some writing projects, meetings with some great clients and a scheduled visit to the gym for some cardio work. But how was I going to get it all done. I had the motivation, but could I put it into practice.
As part of The Resilience Advantage, I’ve seen that habits and routines are essential to the follow through I need every day. I do my best to build in a schedule of when I want to get things done, but sometimes the scheduler is not in sync with reality. I’ve found that by identifying the best times of the day for me to get different things done, I can far exceed my own expectations. For me, that means creative work (like blogging, tweeting and proposal writing) is best done in the AM, ideally before 11 AM. Meeting with clients can work most anytime before 2 PM as I am most focused and in tune with them during those times. More mundane work like billing and reviewing mail happens later in the day when I’m a little brain dead.
More importantly is to build these activities into and habitual pattern. Want to improve your presentation style; close your door and practice doing a presentation in front of a mirror for 30 minutes every day of every week–Want to become a better emailer, write 2 emails a week to yourself and review them 24 hours after you write them to see how lucid and coherent they are to you as a reader—Want to eat healthier, keep some nuts and dried fruit in your desk and build a habit of eating them for your mid-afternoon snack.
- Tie an new habit to an old habit–Remember those nuts and fruits I mentioned above–take some with you when you take your Starbucks break and nibble on them while talking with a colleague. You’ll be much less likely to buy that blueberry scone
- Simplify–If you want to improve a particular skill at work, put it in your outlook calendar and automate the event so it occurs at the same time every week
- Put reminders up–In the Notre Dame football locker room is a sign that says “Play Like A Champion Today” Keep the message up and in front of you all the time
- Create a “No-Punishment Zone”- You will mess up. Don’t beat up on yourself and instead move onto forgive and forget
- Practice, Practice, Practice–They say it takes 21 days to create a habit. Go ahead and find out for yourself.
© Richard Citrin, 2012