Productivity is doing more with less effort. When we develop a habit, we create an automatic response to a given stimulus. It then stands to reason then that habits are the best way to increase output with less input. By creating the right set of habits, I can consistently meet my daily tasks and long term goals by making the behaviours necessary automatic and effortless. I will spend less mental energy engaging in an regular daily tasks and can use that additional energy on something else.
I just finished reading Michael Stawicki’s The Art of Persistence. What I especially liked about The Art of Persistence is its focus on practical methods to develop and change habits. As most personal development books go, Stawicki discusses the importance of habits. But Stawicki goes further and emphasises the importance of having many daily habits and diligently tracking those habits.
While I have maintained and scrupulously tracked four daily habits – focus, writing, exercise, and math – over the past 18 months, I realised it is time to add more daily habits and to keep track of them. I have spent time reflecting and I have developed the following list of daily habits that I believe will take more closer to my goals. Thankfully for me, habit tracking has already become a habit in itself, so I won’t need additional effort to track these new lists.
New Daily Habits to Develop for 2018
1. Deep belly breaths 5 minutes each morning. Set timer for 5 minutes.
2. Drink a big glass of water first thing in the morning.
3. Don’t check email or any chat portal before 9am.
4. Spend 15 minutes in The Bible – 5 reading, 5 waiting, 5 writing/interpreting
5. Write 500 words per day for my book
6. Spend 1.5 hours studying/researching computational statistics
7. Write a 10-Item Gratitude List
8. Write a 5-item list of why my girlfriend is amazing
9. Call an old friend
10. Call a new friend
11. Read 1 blog article on home buying in Australia
12. Read 1 blog or web article on entrepreneurship, starting a business
13. Attempt to sell something
14. Spend a maximum of 30 minutes on Nintendo games
15. Around 9pm, spend 5 minutes cleaning up my apartment. Set timer for 5 minutes.
I have been tracking these above daily habits for a few days now and so far the results have been positive. I haven’t hit all of the above habits every day, but just the mere fact that I am in the habit of tracking them brings them to the forefront of my mind.
I have many other habits that are not on this list. Because I have already made these other habits quite strong, I don’t need to track them daily. For example, I pray and brush my teeth in the morning instinctively. The main point of tracking the new 15 habits above is to develop them and make them routine. Until that happens, daily tracking helps enforce the developing habit.
Do you have any new habits you’d like to develop this year? If so, leave them in the comments below.