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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

Change Your Habits at Home and Increase Your Job Satisfaction

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Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

Why is multitasking a myth?

The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

Your brain on multi-tasking

Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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But I can juggle multiple tasks!

You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

Why multitasking is failing you

Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

Multitasking wastes your time.

You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

It makes you dumber.

A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

This is an emotional response.

There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

It’ll wear you out.

When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

How to stop multitasking and work productively

Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

1. Consciously change gears

Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

3. Set aside distractions

Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

4. Take care of yourself

We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

5. Take a break

People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

6. Make technology your ally

Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

The key to productivity: Focus

Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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