Building better habits is hard. Let’s get that out of the way right now. If you are like me, you are a creature of habit, albeit sometimes bad ones. I’m no special case. I don’t have a magic solution to creating better habits — but I do have a few habits that, with some time and effort, could have a better impact on your day-to-day productivity.
For the entire month of December, I decided to challenge myself with 10 daily habits that I would like to incorporate into my life. Some of them are easy, almost “freebies,” and are things I already do. Others are a bit more challenging. The following 3 are the few that I feel will have the most impact on my life, and likely yours.
Personally, I know that I need somewhere around 7.5 hours per night in order to hit maximum restfulness. I know that less (and more) sleep decreases my productivity. I also know that for the most part, this habit is entirely in my control, so there is only one person to blame if I’m not meeting my needs. Chances are, you’ve given though to your own sleep needs within the past month, and likely didn’t make any real changes.
Lately, I’ve tried to develop a routine before bed: turn off the computer and phone, wash my face, dim the lights, and write out anything that’s causing clutter in my mind. I make sure my bed is made and my room is at the optimum temperature. I try to go to bed a little earlier each night. I also try to get outside more during the daytime. I don’t like to use an alarm, so I depend on this routine to tell my body when I should be awake, and when I should be asleep.
Recently, I wrote a list of 100 things I wanted to do in my life and answered an interview with my future self. This helped me gain a lot of insight and focus into how I should be spending my free time. There was a common thread throughout many of my goals and dreams: I needed to write more. In order to write more, I needed to create a habit that allowed and held me accountable to myself to write more.
This month, I decided to challenge myself to write anything, untimed, every day. I didn’t want to put pressure on myself to create content that follows a single focus, so I’ve been using writing prompts from Reddit to help me build that habit. There are no goals for the pieces, no plans to publish them, just writing for the sake of building the habit.
I still love email newsletters, but I realized how many were just cluttering my inbox. Unsubscribe became my favorite email function — and I don’t miss any content that I unsubscribed from. It’s amazing how many emails were going either unread, or was being read for the sake of reading. Now, I try to find content that truly interests or educates me, and I limit it to half an hour per day. I don’t watch the news, I rarely watch TV, so the bulk of my content comes from the internet. By limiting that content, I can start using the information I have instead of acting like I’m on a pursuit of more information in order to be more productive. Trust me, it doesn’t work.
Reducing my content means less time on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and my inbox, and more time building relationships with clients, friends, and family, and building a better me. I love that my email doesn’t feel as overwhelming — I either read and respond, delete, or unsubscribe. This habit will continue to save me hours a day.
They might be simple, but building better habits with sleep, personal development, and how you manage content can save you time, boost your productivity, and make it so that you can focus on the things that truly matter in your life and business. Life is too short for bad habits!