5 Daily Habits That Can Change Your Life and Boost Your Productivity
By Antonietta Marinelli | October 22, 2021
Habits can be difficult to establish and easy to break. Habit building is one of the hardest things we can do, but it is also one of the most important things to do for our long-term success and happiness (Economy, 2019) and research shows that if you can sustain an activity for 30 days, it will develop into a habit.
So what exactly is a habit?
Habits are the small decisions in which we make, and the actions we perform every day. Researchers from Duke University have shown that over 40% of what we do is determined not by decisions but by habits (Soots, 2015). Habits are rituals and behaviours that we perform automatically, allowing us to carry out essential activities such as brushing our teeth, talking a shower, or getting ready for work. It is following the same steps, without thinking about them (Soots, 2015).
Our attitude towards this is determined by our altitude. Letting old habits creep back in is much easier than holding onto a new one. Start building on the following simple, yet essential habits for a more productive day:
1. Creating a Morning Routine
Start your day off in a GOOD way! Maybe you enjoy going for walks? Or runs? Do it in the morning before your day begins. Or maybe, you enjoy reading a few pages of a book your currently reading? Whatever it is that makes you feel good, re-charged or positive, embrace it first thing in the morning. Establishing a meaningful morning ritual helps you to begin your day on a positive note. Having a structured start to your day helps eliminate stress, mental fatigue, and enhances productivity (Nazish, 2020).
2. Forget Multi-Tasking. Single task!
According to Forbes, only 2% of people in the world can multi-task successfully. We are all capable of juggling a few things at a time, and most of us do it well, however multi-tasking can limit our focus and contributes to our mental clutter by making it difficult for our brains to filter our irrelevant information. Doing more than one thing at a time makes us think we are being more productive than we are when we’re not. According to a study conducted by Stanford University, heavy multi-tasking lowers efficiency and may impair your cognitive control (Nazish, 2018). Make a list of things you are wanting to complete throughout the day and start with what is most important and work your way down, completing one task at a time.
3. The 80/20 Rule (Pareto Principle)
According to James Clear, the 80/20 rule is as follows:
- Make a list of 10 things you spend most of your time on.
- Circle the two that truly drive your results. Do more of those.
- Look at the others. Eliminate. Automate or outsource what you can.
Press pause on the rest.
The 80/20 rule basically means that in many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. The Pareto principle or 80/20 rule is the universal truth about the imbalance of inputs and outputs. The main point is to find the small things in which give us the biggest results. To maximise efficiency, highly productive people identify the most important 20% of their work. Then, they look at ways to cut down the other 80% of their schedule, to find more time for the things that make the biggest impact (Elias, 2021).
Taking the time to take a step back and check-in with yourself is vital to maintain a healthy mindset. Do at least one thing every day that makes you feel good. This can include listening to your favorited song, learning a new skill, eating your favourite food, or taking a hot shower. Ensure that you are doing things that make you appreciate being alive, and that build up your mental health, mood, and self-esteem.
5. Clean Environment, Clean Mind
This is a big one. Even though some may think a cluttered workspace showcases a level of creativity and productivity, external clutter ultimately leads to mental clutter – utter chaos! A Princeton University study found clutter makes it harder for us to focus on tasks (Pullein, 2020). Opting for a minimal approach will allow fresh perspectives not only on your day, but your life (Economy, 2019).
Developing habits requires determination, resilience, and consistency. It may take two weeks for you, but 3 months for another, but all that matters is that the effort behind the habit is there. It doesn’t matter how long it may take to build the habit, just as long as you don’t give up, and remember, you’ve got this.
• Economy, P. 2019. 5 Remarkably Simple Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life. Inc. [Accessed 22 October 2021] 5 remarkably simple daily habits that will change your life
• Elias, B. 2021. Highly Productive People: What Efficient People Have in Common. Active Campaign. [Accessed 21 October 2021] habits of highly productive people
• Nazish, N. 2018. 10 Daily Habits That Can Actually Change Your Life. Forbes. [Accessed 21 October 2021] 10 daily habits that can actually change your life
• Pullein, C. 2020. The Productivity-Boosting Benefits of a Clean and Organised Workspace. Working With: Magazine. [Accessed 22 October 2021] the productivity boosting benefits of a clean and organised workspace
• Soots, L. 2015. What are Habits? The Positive Psychology People. [Accessed 20 October 2021] habits to happiness