The word “habit” often has bad connotations, from breaking the habit of biting your nails to that one co-worker who has a bad habit of eating with their mouth open.
We can easily get into the routine of doing things we wish to break, but what if you could develop habits to help with your career?
Habits are simply things we do regularly and get into the routine of doing, and if we can train ourselves to create good habits to help us be successful in the workplace then not only can we be happier in life but we can even help replace some bad habits with good ones!
How to Create a Habit
We often don’t recognise when we create new habits, but it just takes time, repetition and dedication. Habits take an average of 21 days to fully form, according to Brain Pickings, however this varies slightly depending on the person. Therefore dedicating 30 days to your new habit will make it more likely to stick. By practicing your new habit daily, and taking it one step at a time, you can develop new habits which you will soon not have to consciously think about but will just be part of your life.
Write Down Goals & How to Achieve Them
Keeping track of what you want to achieve and planning how you can achieve it can help you manage your success. Try writing down your goals for the day, with the most challenging/important task first. Ticking off your achievements throughout the day can help you feel more motivated to complete your tasks, as well as helping you keep track of what else you need to do. As well as having a daily ‘to do’ list, keeping a list of long-term goals is paramount for being successful in your career.
Buckling down to work is always easier if you are feeling in tip top shape, which is why getting into the habit of exercising regularly is essential. Many successful people get into the habit of exercising early in the morning, so they have the rest of the day to complete their tasks and are awake and alert enough to get them done.
As well as feeling great on the outside, feeling good on the inside is key to a successful work life. Aside from feeling healthy and having less distractions, eating healthy can also ensure you have all of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function at its best. Make sure your energy levels are up, your brain’s firing on all cylinders and you are alert as possible. According to Healthline, foods such as blueberries, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate are excellent for brain power, so get to munching.
Getting a great night’s sleep is vital to performing well at work, so be sure to get into a good night-time routine. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, getting seven or more hours of sleep at night is optimal for adults and should be of good quality e.g. not interrupted or influenced by other substances lowering the sleep quality. Setting a specific time for bed half an hour before you need to sleep is a great idea so you can drift off naturally, and ensuring all technology is away will help minimise distractions so you can wind down.
Wake Up Early
We all love a lie in, however waking up early can help you start the day off right. Avoid the rush of the late start, trying to cram in the rest of your work into less time, and feeling like you’ve lost half of the day already. Instead, aim to wake up early so you can ease into the day and have many hours ahead of you; as well as having more time for things such as breakfast and exercise in the morning. Especially in the winter, waking up late as the days get darker can not only lead to a less productive day but can also add to stress and make you feel even more that you’ve missed an entire day.
Do Your Hardest Task First
Make sure you put your most difficult/important task first, and the rest of the day is bound to be easier in comparison. By tackling something difficult first, you will make sure you have achieved something worthwhile at the start of your day and feel more motivated to complete the rest of your tasks. It will also help take your mind off of this pressing task, so you can focus on the less important tasks later.
As well as being a great form of entertainment, reading can help you expand your knowledge, improve your creativity and increase your written and spoken English skills. If you love reading already, then pick up your favourite book when you have some time free and get started. If you aren’t a fan of fiction books, you can always pick up a non-fiction book about something you are interested in, or a biography of your favourite actor or artist.
Getting stuck into a new project or planning how you will achieve your goals can be enjoyable, but it can be hard knowing where to start. Whether it’s one task or plans for the future, doing research first will help you be able to properly plan what you are going to do. On top of getting a good amount of sleep and writing a to do list, planning your day/future goals can help keep your mind at ease and organise your thoughts rather than hurriedly getting your work done without doing your research.
Procrastination often gets the better of us – especially when we have lots of work to do and a really good movie is on TV! However, through will power and determination you can beat the procrastination monster and be much more successful for it. Breaking old habits such as watching TV, playing on your phone or going out on weekdays can help you get into new, productive habits to develop your career. Whether it’s starting work at a certain time everyday (which many people do already!) or taking an hour or two out of your weekend for freelance work; sticking to a schedule can help you avoid procrastination.
Even if you have had a great night’s sleep, and you have the motivation and knowledge to succeed, sometimes it’s just the fear that could be holding you back. By practising taking risks with your work you can get past the fear of taking a leap of faith and are more likely to be more successful in your career. Your risks can be small or large (without risking your job of course!) such as putting forward a risky idea or coming up with an innovative way of working and putting it forward to management. If starting your own business, this is especially important, and taking some risks in your everyday life can help prepare you for a successful career ahead.