The Power of Habits for Saving your Sanity (again!)

POWER OF HABITS 2Whomever said making a significant change in your life is easy…  Is well… full of sh*t.

But, when you work to make gradual, positive and rewarding shifts in your life… it is HARD for you NOT to succeed.

So, how do you make sure that at the end of the day these shifts actually stick?  That you don’t push cruise control or worse yet… end up right back to where you started from?

My friend, that is a very good question.  And one that is simple to answer.

 

MOST people fail to build good habits.  

I mean 98% of people fail at their first attempt at a change… (Don’t believe me?  Just ask around to see who has stuck with their New Year’s resolutions).

And they fail generally for one of two reasons… one of which is lack of focus…the other is fear (which we have discussed before).

You see, anyone can focus for a short period of time to achieve anything.

Take for instance the average person trying to lose those holiday pounds.  They can focus for 30 days and lose 5 pounds.  And when they do it… they feel like a million bucks!  Their clothes fit, they are sleeping better, they have more energy.

BUT… they consider their work done and think they can push cruise control.

Sure the first month after they reach their goal, they might be okay… only a pound or two creeps back on… and it is only water weight (*wink* right…)

6 months later, they’ve gained back the 5 pounds, PLUS more!

This backpedaling (or in technical terms “relapsing”) is because proper habits were not developed to support their shift.

That is… shifting isn’t a one and done process.  Shifting is all about the ongoing process of learning, adapting and evolving oneself (write that down!).

 

When Shifts and Habits Collide

Developing good habits

  • reduces the amount of time you spend spinning your wheels and sweating the small trivial stuff (with little or no payoff),
  • greatly increases your life balance,
  • keeps stress at bay,
  • and is essential to keeping you focused on your priorities … aka your shi(f)t…

The very cool thing about habits is that when you combine them the result isn’t additive (2+3=5)… it’s multiplicative (2*3=6)… which means the more habits you master, the MORE time you can save and the MORE stress you can kiss goodbye.  And honestly, who couldn’t use a little more stress management in their life?

So, let’s dive into my fave four habits that are simple to learn and can triple your focus and improve your time management in a hurry.

 

The Power Four

The 80/20 Rule: 20% of what you do will yield 80% of the results you get.

  • Choose the top 20% that will get you closer to where you want to be first (NOT what’s easiest to do).  The remaining 80% of your list becomes your Avoid-At-Any-Cost List.
  • Translation… Get your 2 most important tasks done before 10 AM for maximum return. That way if the shit hits the fan later in your day, you can still call your day a WIN.

Energy Planning:  Your brain has a natural ebb and flow of brain-power and focus.  Use it wisely.

  • Look at what you have to do for the day and group your list based on the “brain-power” it takes to complete the task or appointment.  Tackle your critical project that requires the most energy, and the rest of your day becomes a lot easier- no more panicking at 5 PM about all of the work that still needs to get done! That is… don’t plan to call your most important client right before you go home for the day or spend your first hours at work organizing your pencils.

Parkinson’s Law: Whatever you do (task, meeting, appointment) will expand to (or overflow) the time you allot for it.

  • Set a timer and see how many small tasks you can knock out quickly.  Set the timer to help keep you focused and prevent burn out on big projects. OR, set the buzzer for things you know you shouldn’t be doing, like surfing Facebook for Throwback Thursday pics. Setting a “boundary” around how long a task, meeting, or appointment should take is the ultimate control of your time.

Single Subject Learning Rule:  Focus on one project at a time.

  • Remember waaaay back in school when your day was broken down in classes and you only focused on 1 subject at a time…. not 10?  So, why now plan your day to focus on only one project at a time?  Allowing your mind to wander to the laundry that is sitting at home while you work on a critical project won’t get your laundry done any faster, it will just mean your project won’t be as good or get done as fast.  The point is… Don’t try multi-task or wear two hats at once (being a parent and business tycoon at the same time rarely works… one side of you will usually lose out).

 

Summing it up:

Using just one of these habits will be super beneficial, but it’s when you start combining great habits together, the rubber really starts hitting the road!  Pick one to implement this week… but don’t forget to continue to add on more good habits to reap even bigger rewards.

 

Life’s short.  So, make shi(f)t happen!

Whitney


PS. Know someone who could use a little kick in the “grass”?  Send them this post.

About The Author

Whitney

Whitney, author of the forthcoming book "Making Your Shi(f)t Happen: A 6 week bootcamp to prioritize, organize, and simplify your life", helps professionals get waaaay more done in far less time (with far less stress), so they can get back to the important things in life. She is a wife, mom and lifestyle strategist. Grab her FREE videos here.