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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

    A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success 17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques What Are The Levels Of The Mind And How To Improve Them

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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