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Honesty: The Best Policy for The Best Productivity

Honesty: The Best Policy for The Best Productivity
    Honest Tea Cap (Photo credit: Dome Poon)

    There are many tools you can use to increase your level of productivity. Whether paper-based solutions are your cup of tea or you’ve dove into the digital well of task management offerings, you’d be wasting a ton of time trying to discover all of the tools out there. I’d wager it is one of the least productive things you could ever do.

    But of all the tools at your disposal, the one between your ears is the one that needs to be actively engaged to allow for prominent increases to happen. There’s a human component that leads to better productivity on the whole, and while analog tools may not remove the brain from the equasion as fully as digital ones might, when we trust our lists as written without using our brain in tandem, the results for the items that are crucial to us are less desirable.

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    The “heart” comes into play, too. Why? Because we’re human. So when the brain and emotion are used in concert with a productivity system, you can tap into the real power of what you can do. And much of that power lies in simply being honest with yourself. Honesty plays a huge role in the quality of what we do.

    Limitations

    Whether you look at how much you can accomplish (and accomplish well) in a given timeline, whether you look at how well you can accomplish a task or project considering your skill set or whether or not you truly care about what’s on your plate, being honest with yourself is the only true way to get the best work out of you. You may even be surprised how much you can exceed limitations when you start spending more time being honest with yourself. You’ll achieve better results because you’re taking on less of the stuff that doesn’t sit well with you.

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    Adapatability

    Honesty can fine-tune your ability to adapt. If you aren’t being fufilled in an environment, tapping into your true self will often provide you the answer as to how to find such fulfillment. Sometimes it means exploring ways to work within the environment, sometimes it means looking at it differently. Sometimes it means removing yourself from the environment altogether. By being honest with yourself you will discover that you’re far more “productively versatile” and you’ll reap the benefits of demonstrating that to those around you.

    Happiness

    You can’t fool yourself into being happy. So why try? If you’re not happy, you aren’t going to be as productive. Honesty plays a huge part in this – and you don’t have to look too deeply into yourself to realize when you’re not. Faking it will only take you so far, and often it also takes you farther away from getting to where you really want to be. Find happiness in what you do and where you are, or do and go somewhere else. It’s honestly the best thing for everyone.

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    Procrastination

    This one is tricky, because while you can justify putting things off, you can rarely do that in an honest manner. Strangely, that also means whatever you are doing to procrastinate is also not being done as well as it could be. Start being more honest with yourself, and both your uptime and downtime will be more productive, because both can be done without the distraction of justifying what you’re doing and when you’re doing it.

    Quality

    Honestly look at what you’re “shipping” these days. Is it great? Better yet, is it as great as you know you could make it? That’s the better question, because while you may say “yes” to the first questiom, the second one requires a lot more honesty on your part. So ask the second question before you ship it. That way people will be looking forward to receiving it.

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    The Best Policy

    Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue. Honesty is hardly ever heard. And mostly what I need from you. – Billy Joel

    These words are directed at a lover in Joel’s classic tune, but in this case you need to direct them at yourself. Give the word some company, stand out above the crowd. Say it loud, say it to yourself, say it knowing that you need it from yourself. You’ll be amazed at the results.

    Honest.

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

    What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero 35 Quick and Simple Tips for Better Productivity 4 Simple Steps to Brain Dump for a Smarter Brain Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks Why Is Productivity Important? 10 Reasons to Become More Productive

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    Last Updated on March 25, 2020

    How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

    How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

    Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

    However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

    Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

    Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

    Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

    In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

    What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

    To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

    The Biology

    Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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    Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

    The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

    A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

    Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

    So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

    Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

    Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

    Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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    Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

    The Psychology

    Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

    Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

    Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

    Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

    What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

    Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

    Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

    1. Identify Your Habits

    As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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    2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

    Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

    It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

    3. Apply Logic

    You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

    Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

    4. Choose an Alternative

    As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

    Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

    5. Remove Triggers

    Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

    Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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    6. Visualize Change

    Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

    For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

    7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

    Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

    Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

    Final Thoughts

    Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

    Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

    More About Changing Habits

    Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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