Creating and enjoying new micro-habits.

At the recent Coaching Central event, we discussed and explored how we can make small changes in what we do.

Did you know that the most effective way to improve your life is to establish good habits and stick to them?

Researchers have found that nearly half your daily actions are driven by habit, from your morning routine to how much exercise you get and how you approach tasks.

Establishing and maintaining good habits needn’t be as challenging as it sounds if you take a micro habit approach. Instead of having big goals like getting fit, losing weight, or getting a new job, break them down into smaller, more achievable goals. Treat your personal goals as if they were work projects. Work out what steps you need to take to succeed.

Start by working out what changes you want to make in the various parts of your life, from health to the office and your home life. By making some small changes in your life, you can make radical progress towards achieving your goals.

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing a few thoughts on how you can start.

Perhaps add these into your routine if you think that this applies to you.

Habit 1 – Plan your day.

At the start of every day, I think about what I want to achieve. I ask myself a question

What three things will I focus on that will define a successful day?

This then sets the day’s tone and enables the razor-sharp focus that I need to keep on track.

Following some work using Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner system, I have created a micro habit or ‘morning ritual’ as he calls it, that encourages me to get some of the distracting jobs done.

  • I look at my emails and separate them into four categories (@action, @waiting, @toread and @hold). Anything that can get dealt with immediately in a few minutes gets done then, else it drops into @action and will get scheduled when I have a scheduling slot in my diary.
  • I try and batch my social media; this reduces the doom scrolling – the continual quest for knowledge.

Make it a micro habit of spending your first ten minutes of each day planning out the day. It’s easy to get distracted by emails or conversations with colleagues as soon as you hit the office. A recent study found that 89% of workers waste time during their working day, including spending time on social media and personal emails. Don’t be that person!

At the end of the day, do a five-minute review, write down your achievements and notice what you accomplished. Then note down what you didn’t get done and what stopped you. You’ll become much more aware of what gets in the way of success.

Habit 2 – control your diary.

We understand what is important to us, but how often do we spend time doing the complicated stuff. Turn off your emails, turn off your notifications on your phone and create that ‘space’ for a time of productive focus. Studies have shown that the ping of an email, social media or text notifications can eat into as much as 40% of your work time. That’s wasted time as well as being irritating.

Note how long it is until you get distracted, and make an allowance for it. Fetching a glass of water or cup of tea breaks the cycle and allows you to reset.

Choose a block of time, at least two hours, and mark it as ‘busy’ in your diary. That way, you can have uninterrupted sessions just focused on getting your work done. People will notice your increased productivity, including yourself!

Habit 3 – work towards and visualise your outcomes.

Every month, I spend a day planning and visualising my achievements and results. This time is sacrosanct and non-negotiable in my diary. It provides focus and provides an understanding of challenges, gaps, and forward direction.

As you fast forward to the next month(s) or quarter(s), explore proactively where you want to go and how to get there.

  • Visualise how you want to feel when you have reached your goals.
  • How is your life different?
  • What does the future, successful you, do in their day?
  • How do you look?
  • What are you wearing?

Make your vision as vivid and real as possible.

To be clear, the micro habit is not about the activity but about putting that time block in your diary and sticking to it. Do it now and block out a day that works for you.

Make it a micro-habit of thinking about how in the future you would approach a task or problem.

Come back next week for part 2 where we will explore health habits in a bit more detail.