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Published on January 29, 2020

9 Exceptional Work Habits To Be More Efficient

9 Exceptional Work Habits To Be More Efficient

A work habit is any attitudinal, ethical, behavioral, or practical tendencies you apply in achieving peak performance in your business or workplace. Good work habits establish a solid foundation for peak performance, efficiency, trust, effective communication, regular attendance, compliance, time management, punctuality, and collaboration.

Have you ever extended your job functions and duties to assist your colleagues in a bid to achieve team efficiency and productivity? If yes, you possess good work habits.

But that’s not all. Successful people understand they need to display exceptional work habits to stand out. Here are 7 of such habits with two bonus-tips on setting priorities:

1. Prioritize Your MIT

Your MIT here means your ‘Most Important Tasks’.

It’s not enough to have a to-do list; you need to establish your Most Important Tasks.

The concept behind prioritizing your MIT is predicated on the fact that some activities are more crucial than others. Therefore, checking off the items on your to-do list might not be enough, as you may end up completing both important and less important tasks.

So what’s your best approach?

Spend some minutes in picking 1 to 3 MITs- the tasks you need to complete before the day ends no matter what.

You can then channel your energy on what matters with a renewed focus, as you know they must be completed.

Here’s what Laura Earnest, a productivity blogger, said about the significance of establishing your MITs as a work habit:[1]

“Productive people focus on the most important activities. They also ensure the means of getting those tasks done are the most effective. I believe they possess the capabilities of discerning the most important tasks and are apt in delegating the less important.”

2. Limit Social Media Use

With emails, notifications from social media platforms, and several minor to-dos, you can easily get distracted while trying to engage in productive work.

Our Editor-in-chief of Lifehack.org, Anna Chui, talked about the work habits that help her get ahead in life and business. Here’s what she said about limiting social media use:

“I limit my social media and IM usage so I can stay focused on what’s important to me. I turn off all WhatsApp group notifications and check them only before work, during lunchtime, and after work. I also turn off all social media notifications, so I don’t get distracted in the middle of my work. I go on social media only after work and limit time to less than 30 min per day.”

Limiting social media usage is a good work habit that can impact how you manage your time and what you make out of it.

3. Be Open to Feedback

The feedback system is a tool to optimize your efficiency in the workplace. When you receive positive or negative feedback from your superordinate, don’t take it personally. The goal of feedback is to make you more productive.

Here’s what Elijah Falode, a Top-rated content writer on Upwork, said on how he manages feedback from clients:

“I understand the significance of both public and private feedback on my reputation and work. To deliver a quality job, I spend more time to understand my client’s requirement, and then I ask questions. Once the client request for revision, I quickly work on it and ensure the client’s requirement has been met, and he or she is satisfied. Each feedback helps me to improve on the job.”

4. Exercise Daily

You may ask me what exercise has got to do with work habits. The truth is they are correlated. Your physical disposition affects personal productivity. This is why exercise will rank high on the list of exceptional work habits.

Several studies have pointed out that physical exercise is one of the essential work habits you need if you want to be healthier and live a happier life. Exercise will help you achieve quality sleep, optimized memory, mental alertness, and better concentration. You can’t accomplish this with a sedentary lifestyle. It will even impact your financial life.

According to the Journal of Labor Research, those who exercise daily were discovered to earn about nine percent on the average than those who live a sedentary life.[2]

5. Make Healthy Choices

If you continuously make some unhealthy choices, the truth is it will not only impact your mind and body negatively, but it will also affect your professional success. Therefore, making healthy choices is a crucial work habit.

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Here is how to make informed choices:

  • Write down those daily activities that add value to your health to assess your lifestyles.
  • List those habits that you think are hazardous to your health.
  • Select one of the healthy habits and devise a plan to increase it. For instance, if you read for 30 minutes daily, increase it to 60 minutes daily.
  • Pick one of the unhealthy choices and plan how to decrease it. For instance, if you are always tempted to taking soda by 4 pm every day to boost your energy, switch to taking herbal tea or water.
  • Select one of the bad work habits and substitute them with good work habits. For instance, if you browse social media immediately, you wake up in the morning, replace that habit with a yoga exercise or early morning meditation.
  • Evaluate your achievement every weekend. If you are not making progress, find out what’s the issue and adjust, so you don’t repeat the same mistake.

6. Engage in Reflective Practice

Reflection is a habit of reflecting on your ideas, thoughts, and actions in a bid to engage in a life-long learning process. It is also paying rapt attention to the values that inform your daily habits. Reflective practice helps you in cultivating vital skills and evaluating your effectiveness instead of going with the flow. It enables you to find out the motives behind your actions and curate a better approach in doing them subsequently.

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston. She spends most of her time studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and authenticity. She recommended you:

“Talk to yourself like someone you respect, with tough love and honesty.”

Meanwhile, most people are limited by the outcomes of that endeavor. Radical honesty demands standing in your resolution. This act of honesty will also enable you to make the right decisions, communicate better, and learn.[3]

Create a work habit by dedicating some time to ask the following questions:

  • Am I organized? Do I recall things?
  • Am I focused or get easily distracted? Do I need to reinforce a work habit/
  • Which of my skills stands out?
  • What are the challenges facing?
  • What distractions or tasks may impact my profession or career?
  • What impact am I making?
  • What makes me happy?
  • How do I want to improve every aspect of my life?

Reflective practice is a work habit that can help you achieve happiness in your personal and professional life.[4]

7. Find Time To Recharge

Your energy carries the same level of importance as your time. It does not make sense having enough time with no energy to remain productive.

Yes! It’s good to prioritize and also apply some productivity tactics. But you also need to learn how to take care of yourself.

Highly effective leaders find time to recharge. This means they get sufficient sleep each night. They also exercise and eat healthily.

If you are finding it difficult to concentrate on the job, evaluate your work habits. Jeff Bezos said of getting good sleep:

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“I prioritize it. I think better and have more energy.”

Bezos advocates for eight hours of good sleep. He said,[5]

“If you shortchange good sleep, you may win some additional productive hours, but that productivity will remain an illusion. Quality matters than quantity when it comes to decisions and interactions.”

8. Employ the Eisenhower Matrix to Track Long-Term Priorities

Sometimes, while trying to be productive, you focus on the short term. However, Peter Drucker, the renowned management legend, affirmed that:

“There is nothing as useless as efficiently performing activities that deserve no attention at all.”

The Eisenhower Matrix, utilized by Dwilight Eisenhower in making informed decisions while he was a general, was popularized in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People written by Stephen Covey. This matrix assists you in determining the tasks you should work on and those you should ignore.

Do you want to create your Eisenhower Matrix now?

Here’s how to go about it:[6]

    Are you working on urgent tasks that are not important? Devise the means of delegating, automating, or eliminating those tasks.

    Are you engaged in activities that are not important and urgent? Then ignore those tasks!

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    The Eisenhower Matrix simplifies the establishment of priorities.

    9. Utilize the 80/20 rule

    You need to focus on the most significant tasks. The 80/20 principle is an excellent approach to prioritize your tasks.

    Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, discovered the principle. It is popularly known as the Pareto principle. According to this principle,

    “80% of your results emanate from 20% of your efforts.”

    To develop a good work habit, you need to discover the most rewarding 20% of your activities. Then, devise the means of reducing the 80% of your schedule. This will create more time for you to focus on the most impactful activities.

    Final Thoughts

    Highly exceptional people may seem like robots. Sometimes, they have only learned how to prioritize their tasks, surmount challenges, and overcome procrastination.

    Good work habits are crucial to achieving optimal performance in every aspect of your life. A client gives you a 5-star for quality performance, but he or she does not rate others the same way.

    Managers and business colleagues will love to collaborate with you when you possess exceptional work habits.

    Productive work habits will make you stand out in your business and workplace. Clients will value you for your efficiency and hard work

    Exceptional people are not brilliant than the rest of the world — they have only developed work habits that make them stand out from the rest of the world.

    Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

    The Lifehack Show: The Importance of Leadership (No Matter Who You Are) with Michael Bianco-Splann What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It 50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It) 8 Brain Exercises for Mental Strength and a Smarter Brain

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    Published on February 17, 2020

    What Is a Bullet Journal and What Are the Benefits?

    What Is a Bullet Journal and What Are the Benefits?

    You may have heard of a productivity method called Bullet Journaling. What is a bullet journal? It is a very personal approach to getting in control of your life and becoming more productive.

    It does that by allowing you to build your journal, your system, and your method of journaling with very few limitations.

    Traditional journaling, or productivity systems, usually give you a template: a set way to record your information and tasks. You input the information and the system then shows you the information in a predetermined way. Not so with a bullet journal.

    What Is a Bullet Journal?

    With a bullet journal, you start with a number of symbols and a blank notebook (or a digital equivalent). Your choice of notebook, the pen you use, the ink color, and how you use the symbols is entirely up to you. You have complete freedom.

    In a sense, with a bullet journal, instead of having a “system,” you have some best practices that guide you.

    Is a Bullet Journal Right for You?

    So, with that in mind, would a bullet journal work for you? That depends. A bullet journal is ideal for those who have a strong creative side: a person who does not want to be bound by constraints and limits. Bullet journals give you complete creative freedom, and for many people, that is the attraction.

    However, if you are easily distracted and are a bit of a perfectionist, this lack of constraints can be a rabbit hole of lost focus and frustration. There is also the issue of the amount of time it takes to maintain a bullet journal. Depending on how you want your journal to look, these journals can take up a lot of time just to maintain. That is not for everybody.

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    How a Bullet Journal Works: An Overview

    A bullet journal works by giving you a blank page for each day. You have an appointments section and a to-do section, and after that, you can add anything you want.

    In your to-do section, there are a few symbols you will use to indicate what has happened to a to-do:

    • A bullet – a task
    • A bullet with a cross – task complete
    • A dash – indicates a note
    • Forward arrow – task moved to another day
    • A circle – an event

    That said, you can of course modify these symbols to suit your tastes.

    On top of your daily pages, you will have an index page and a calendar page. How you create these is up to you..

    Benefits of a Bullet Journal

    1. Improves Your Mental Health

    We know journaling has incredible mental health benefits. The act of journaling gives you time for reflection, time to get your thoughts out of your head, and time to review and plan.[1]  It’s a tremendous way to add some much needed perspective in your life.

    When you give yourself that valuable time to yourself, you have the opportunity to slow down and contemplate, and that allows your mind to settle, calm down, and reset. In a world that is relentlessly distracting, noisy and frenetic, those quiet moments with your journal can help sooth you.

    Learn more about improving your mental health: 8 Simple Ways to Be Mentally Healthy

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    2. Helps You Stay on Top of Your Goals

    Bullet journaling helps you stay on top of your projects and goals. Your to-do list guides you towards getting important things done each day and gives you a space to collect new tasks, opportunities and events.

    Without having a place to store your ideas, tasks and events, it is very easy for these things to slip your mind. When you have a journal with you everywhere you go, it’s very difficult to miss these things because you have them written down.

    Being able to see what you have planned, what you would like to achieve, and how you are progressing is a great way to keep you motivated to keep going, even when things get tough.

    Read more about how to reach your goals: 6 Golden Rules to Make Progress Towards Achieving Your Goals.

    3. Develops Creativity

    Bullet journaling can help develop your creativity. Having a blank page every day on which to create your vision for that day engages your creative side, and the more you use your creativity, the more creative you become.

    The freedom a bullet journal gives you to write, draw, color in, and develop gets your creative juices flowing. And if you need inspiration, you only need search “bullet journals” and you will be inundated with ideas and examples.

    4. Lets You Write Your Life’s Story

    Every day you write a few more words of your life’s story. Over time, you build an incredibly unique story — the story of your life. That one reason alone should be enough for you to go out and buy yourself a beautiful notebook in which to start writing your story.

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    Most people drift through life without documenting anything. Holidays with loved ones and friends go undocumented, becoming little more than a blur of memory and a long-lost batch of photos hidden among thousands of others stored on your phone.

    With a bullet journal, you can write down how you felt and who you were with, and you can print out your favorite photos and stick them into your journal to help you remember. (Yes! You can do that!)

    In ten or twenty years, when you look back through your journals, you will be able to re-live those special moments and experience the feelings you had at those times.

    5. Helps You Achieve Your Goals Through Writing

    The act of writing down your goals is one very powerful step to take towards achieving those goals. Studies have shown that when you write down your goals, you stand a much better chance of actually achieving them.

    Having a place to evaluate and review your goals helps keep you on track and keeps those goals up front and center in your life. It is very easy to sit down in the excitement of a new year and tell your friends about all the things you plan to do, only to completely forget about those goals by the end of January.

    When you write your goals down in your bullet journal (you can create a goals section), you have a place to remind you of what you want to achieve. This will keep you motivated and focused.

    Need more tips for staying motivated? Check out 8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times.

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    The Bottom Line

    There are multiple benefits to keeping a journal, and the beauty of a bullet journal is that you get to create your own way of doing things. There are many resources online to guide and inspire you.

    The stories and memories you record in your bullet journal will give you joy and inspiration for years to come. So the next question is, when will you start to create your own.

    I have written a step-by-step guide you can use to start building your bullet journal today. This gives you guidance and ideas for the kind of notebook and pen to use, what you can store in your journal, and how to set up the basic structure.

    Good luck and happy journaling!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

    Reference

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