No new habits to form this time…just some bad habits to break. By getting rid of some of these habits, you may find that your accuracy at work, creativity and overall efficiency may skyrocket. And your overall performance levels may also soar as you become increasingly able to control some of the habits listed below.
1. Impulsively surfing the Internet, checking you social media sites, sending texts about anything/everything, etc. are time and focus disruptors. According to research recently completed at Stanford University, it takes all of us about 15 consecutive minutes to focus on a task before we can fully engage in it. Once we do engage, we get into a rhythm or “flow.” People who function in a state of “flow” are 5 times more productive than those who are distracted and/or distract themselves.
2. Perfectionism – Remember…perfectionism doesn’t exist. Rather than not doing something because you’re afraid it won’t be perfect, go for it. Start…write your ideas onto a page…then work the idea, edit it, revise it 12,000 times and then, if you’re lucky, an idea may actually germinate and be worth cultivating. The writer Jodi Picoult said, “You can edit a bad page but, you can’t edit a blank page.”
3. Meetings are in their own category of being time suckers. Most productive people avoid them like the plague. If you really do have to go to a meeting, make sure there’s an agenda with an attached schedule. Then stick to that agenda and that schedule. You all may even just accomplish something with that prescribed agenda and time frame.
4. Responding to emails as they come into your inbox eats time and focus just as surfing the Internet (#2 above) does. Instead, schedule your email time, set alerts for emails from your most important clients/vendors and/or get software that prioritizes your messages by sender.
5. Hitting the snooze button is the surest way to be perpetually nodding off. According to sleep experts, your last sleep cycle prepares you to wake up…often before your alarm goes off… and awakens you into your most alert state. Hit the snooze button and miss out on your most alert time during your day.
6. Multitasking is a productivity killer. Stanford’s research confirms that multitasking produces less quality work than doing one thing at a time. Even for people who “love” to multitask, focusing on one thing at a time produces more accurate, creative, dynamic, useful and fruitful work.
7. Delaying tough tasks until the end of the day makes it almost inevitable that those tough tasks will either never get done or that they’ll be done poorly. All of us have more mental energy in the morning. (Reread #5.) Use your prime alertness time to confront your toughest tasks.
8. Using your devices (tablet/phone/computer) at night disturbs your natural sleep cycle. All these devices emit strong, short wave blue light that interferes with the natural melatonin sleep inducing cycles. The more blue light, especially after dinner, the less quantity and quality of sleep.
9. Eating too much sugar kicks your energy levels into a soaring high and a crashing low with approximately 20 minutes in between. Aim for no more than 25 grams of sugar at one sitting.
The worst habits? Habits that get in your own way and keep you from paying attention to things and people that really matter. Let me know if checking your Face book feed every 10 minutes is really more important than what truly matters.