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Last Updated on April 15, 2018

Change Your Habits at Home and Increase Your Job Satisfaction

Change Your Habits at Home and Increase Your Job Satisfaction

Have you ever wondered why you feel sluggish and lazy at work?

Sure, it could be that you just don’t want to be at work that day, but maybe it’s more than just lack of motivation. It could be due to your habits at home. Bad personal habits can wreak havoc on your body, mind and even your productivity at the office. This could lead to being looked over for a promotion, not receiving a raise, or gaining a negative reputation at work.

But, what if you could make a few small changes in your habits and see massive gains in your job satisfaction?

That’s right, it’s possible to change your life at work, starting today! In this article, we will break down a few simple steps you can implement to make your life easier at the office.

The True Impact of Bad Habits

Habits that you change at home can have a dramatically positive impact on your work performance. Your life is based primarily on habits. By identifying and tweaking a few habits you have the potential to change your life.

If you’re like most people you have some good habits and some bad habits. The problem is that most people don’t realize how some of these bad habits can affect more than one area of your life.

You might have even tried to change some of your bad habits at the beginning of the year, or when you started a new job, only to quit after a few weeks. Sound familiar?

If so, don’t worry you’re not alone. Most people try to quit habits without the knowing the right process to achieve lasting change. You’ll need to learn this process to make lasting change. Keep reading to learn what habits can change your life both at home and in the office.

How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything

As Derek Sivers said, “How you do anything is how you do everything. Your “character” or “nature” just refers to how you handle all the day-to-day things in life, no matter how small.”  How does this relate to your home habits and work output? Simply put, it’s hard to practice bad habits half the day and then go to work ready to crush the job. You need to have consistency in how you approach your habits at both home and work.

Think of two co-workers you know right now: one who is super productive and always getting promotions, the other seems to always get passed up and isn’t known for being a workhorse. When you think of the productive co-worker what do you notice about their habits? What are they doing to separate themselves from everyone else? Is it something inborn or do they have a better work ethic? It may be as simple as the productive person has better daily habits.

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Almost always success comes down to what you do every single day. Success doesn’t appear from something you do once a month or once a year. Successful people at work and in life aren’t special, they just practice better habits to get better results. At work, they are probably picking up the phone more, sending emails, planning the day, and following up with clients.

Luckily you can adopt all of these habits easily and start the process of changing your life for the better.

Bad Habits Are More Than Annoying, They Can Be Detrimental

Most people know what their bad habits are, but they don’t have the discipline or desire to make a change to stop them. Instead, they will refrain from eating out or begin an exercise routine for a day or two, and then quickly fall of the wagon. This is the same thing that often happens with New Year’s Resolutions. But you can get rid of your bad habits! To eliminate bad habits, though, you first have to identify them.

This isn’t a comprehensive list but these are some of the most common bad habits that people wish they could break:

  • Sleeping in and hitting the snooze button
  • Watching too much television
  • Eating out too often
  • Skipping the gym

Do any of these habits sound familiar? If so, don’t beat yourself up. No one is perfect, and you can change these habits by learning to replace them with a positive habit.

Break These Pesky Habits and Reap Rewards at Work

It’s easy to identify your habits, but quitting them is quite another story for most people. The problem lies in the fact  that most people try to quit bad habits cold turkey. You might quit a habit for a few days only to fall back out of the new habit and and revert back to your old ways. Therefore, instead of quitting, you should replace your bad habits with a good habit.

Studies have shown that habits take between 21-35 days to make a habit become unconscious. Our life is ruled by our habits and you might not even realize it. Think about this morning, did you consciously remember putting on your shoes? Which one did you put on first?

Don’t worry if you don’t know. Putting on your shoes has now became a habit and isn’t something you need to consciously think about.

To replace a bad habit, you have to first become conscious of what you are trying to change and then replace your habit with a good habit consistently.

Stop Sleeping In

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How often do you hit the snooze button and actually feel more groggy when you wake up than before? It’s not just you, it’s how your brain and sleep cycles operate.

Your brain sleeps in 60-90 minute windows. When you wake up to turn off the alarm, then you signal to your brain that you are ready to start the day. But once you hit the snooze button, fall back asleep, and wake up 20 minutes later, you are actually waking yourself up in the middle of a sleep cycle–thus you feel groggier than before.

The snooze button is all too common for most people.

However, if you simply get up earlier you will have more time to exercise, read, spend time with your significant other, and not be rushed to work.

You will also feel more refreshed than if you hit the snooze button. To replace the habit of hitting the snooze button you need to rework your sleep environment.

First off, don’t sleep with your phone or alarm next to your bed.

Set it somewhere where you physically have to get up to turn off the alarm. Once you are up it’ll be much harder to go back to sleep. The next step is to have a plan for your morning. You need a reason to get up instead of sleeping in until the last minute; this could be reading a book, exercising or taking your dog for a long walk. By physically getting up and having a plan for the day you will be able to kick the habit of hitting the snooze button.

If you sleep in and hit the snooze you are starting the day reactively instead of proactively. By ignoring your alarm you are more likely to be groggy, stressed, and rushed when you get to work. This could lead to poor performance dealing with a client or fellow coworker first thing in the morning.

Once you commit to the habit of waking up early, you will start the day refreshed and energized for work. The most effective team members tend to be the ones who start their day on their terms.

TV is Rotting Your Brain

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Studies have shown that the average American is watching five hours of TV per day.

Over the course of a year that is 77 days spent watching TV! Yet, the average person only reads one book per year. The average CEO reads 60 books per year. Of course, it’s no coincidence the CEO also earns much more money per year.

To replace your bad habit of mindlessly watching TV, choose to read a book instead. This is easier said than done if you love mindlessly zoning out to your favorite shows. The first step is actually having books in the house. Shop on Amazon or buy a few books on your tablet to be prepared. Then, place the tablet or book next to your remote. Instead of watching TV pick up the book or tablet.

You don’t have to stop watching TV entirely, just commit to reading 30-60 minutes before you watch TV. This will get you in the habit of learning something new and replacing your old habit of reaching for the remote. If you don’t love reading books, experiment with other methods of learning such as Youtube videos, podcasts or online courses. Find something stimulating for your mind that isn’t another series on Netflix.

By swapping reading for constant binge-watching Netflix it’s likely that you will be more creative at the office. A book relating to your industry or leadership might take your career to new heights. Investing in yourself by reading, attending networking events, or reaching out to mentors could help you elevate individual or team performance.

Eating Out is Bad for More than Your Wasteline

Another bad habit that can wreak havoc in all areas of your life is eating out too much. Drive-throughs and value meals make it far too easy to eat out on a consistent basis. But these types of meals can make you gain weight and won’t provide you with necessary nutrients to make your brain function effectively.

So, while you are packing on the pounds with take out, you are also zapping your cognitive abilities.

One of the main reasons you probably eat out is because you don’t want to cook after a long day of work. That makes total sense. But, if you plan in advance you can have meals ready to go as soon as you walk in the door.

Start preparing meals by cooking in bulk on Saturday or Sunday. Plan ahead for the week and freeze food or save leftovers so you aren’t tempted by the drive-through. Each morning when you open your fridge you will remind yourself that you already have food ready when you get home.

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It shouldn’t be a surprise that people who eat healthier foods tend to have more energy, clarity, and focus throughout the day. By swapping fast food for healthy prepped meals you will save money and be more energized in the late afternoons. When everyone else is crashing after a heavy lunch, you’ll be going strong until the end of the day.

Never Skip Leg Day

The last bad habit you’ll want to break is skipping the gym. Exercise is linked to an increase in physical health, less stress, more restful sleep, and like proper nutrition, better cognitive functioning.

Luckily this bad habit can also be replaced fairly easily. The best way to stop skipping the gym is to go to the gym first thing in the morning. If you exercise as soon as you wake up, then you will start the day energized and refreshed.

The key to getting up and exercising early is to lay out your clothes, shoes, water bottle, and snacks before going to bed. This way you practically fall into your gym gear when you roll out of bed. Like your meals, know what type of exercise you are doing before you go and how long you have.

Studies have shown that daily exercise can dramatically lower stress levels and release endorphins to better your mood. By putting your health first, your mood and productivity will almost always match. Plus, by doing it first thing in the morning you will never skip exercise if you need to stay later at the office.

Rekindle the Love for Your Job

As you can see changing these 4 habits at home can have a huge impact on your performance at work. Now that you have seen the benefits of these habits, start to identify where you need to begin. If you’re currently guilty of all 4 bad habits don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Decide which habit you think is dragging down your performance the most. Then, make it a personal goal to replace that one bad habit tomorrow. Not Monday or the following month. Tomorrow.

The sooner you start your new habits, the quicker you will start to see results. To give yourself the best chance of replacing your bad habits make sure you commit for at least 21 days straight. After three weeks this habit might feel easier and you’ll most likely not have to even think about doing it. Eventually, it will just become part of your daily routine.

If you start your new habit and miss a day, or quit entirely, don’t let it stop you. Forgive yourself and learn why you didn’t make it happen. Was it due to time, lack of belief, or just an accident? Whatever the case, identify it and move on.

Which of these 4 bad habits are you guilty of? Are any of them affecting your performance at work? If so, now is the time to make positive changes!

Featured photo credit: Lindsay Henwood via Unspash via unsplash.com

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Michael Leonard

Self-Improvement Writer, Blogger, & Author

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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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