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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

    10 Good Habits to Have in Life to Be More Successful Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthier Life What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive Do You Know Your Motivation Style? A Stress-Free Way To Prioritizing Tasks And Ending Busyness

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    Last Updated on March 23, 2021

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

    The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

    You need more than time management. You need energy management

    1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

    How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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    I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

    I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

    2. Determine your “peak hours”

    Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

    Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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    My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

    In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

    Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

    3. Block those high-energy hours

    Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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    Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

    If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

    That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

    There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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    Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

    Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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