Work habits may vary according to your field, but there are some that can be categorized as universal no matter the environment. You want to be organized, efficient, adept at problem solving and follow-up, a team player and possess the ability to prioritize.
However, the best habit you can possibly have is the habit of evaluating and changing your existing habits. Yes, it’s convoluted, but if you habitually examine your repetitive behaviors and learn to improve or change them, you’ll be way ahead of the game.
There’s a common misconception that it takes 21 days to build or break a habit. Research actually shows that how long it takes to make a habit is individual, based on a person’s environment and what the habit is. The average, however has been documented as 66 days to build a new habit.
The good news is that the key to developing a habit doesn’t lie in pushing yourself to some magic number of days. It’s all about working with your existing patterns of behavior and structuring a new action into those patterns. In this way, you’ll create “sticky habits” by taking advantage of what you already do!
Think of your behaviors as action chains. You sit down at your desk, then open your email and drink your coffee. You have control over each element in that action chain. You can go directly to the file room and organize your files instead of sitting down at your desk. You can sit down at your desk, work on the most important thing of the day, and drink your coffee. Inserting or altering one or two variables in an existing chain of action allows you to incorporate a new behavior with minimal disruption.
Breaking it down even further, consider the “3 Rs” of habits as developed by behavioral researchers. Everything you do has a:
- Reminder (or trigger)
- Routine (the action chain)
- Reward (benefit or consequence of the behavior)
I can personally attest that this method works, although my example is more personal in nature, the process still hold true! I kept a daily gratitude journal for a year and to say the first few weeks were rocky would be an understatement. I totally skipped a few days in a row and would have to write several posts at a time recalling the previous days events. This was not sustainable and defeated part of the reason why I committed to this journal in the first place.
I found a way to include writing my journal entry into an already established routine: Shower in the evening (reminder). Get in my bed (routine). Turn on the television (reward). I agreed to write my journal entry prior to turning on the television: Shower in the evening (reminder). Get in my bed(routine). Write my journal entry (added routine). Turn on the television (reward).
It also helped that I left the laptop on my bed when I left for the day so it acted as a visual cue when I entered my bedroom for the evening.
So just remember, if you want to build a new habit, do so by working with those you already have. Add a better link to your existing action chain by altering a factor in Reminder/Routine/Reward. It’s that simple![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]