First, a reminder: What will give you more traction in life is the ability to create a habit. The point of building any habits at all is to grow the talent of following your own commands.
So if you’re really looking for the habit that will change your life and not just another version of “wake up early”, build the habit of building habits.
Here are 5 to get you started with that.
1. Talk to yourself.
I assumed everybody already did this, but turns out it’s more rare than I thought. Talking to myself on the way home instead of pounding yet another podcast into my brain has had these benefits:
- I’ve become a more comfortable public speaker
- I’ve stopped bringing my demons home
- I’ve started retaining more of the information I learn
The next time you are alone in the car, shut off the audio book that’s helping you so much, open up the voice memo app, and start blabbing.
Specifically, recap your day and what you’ve learned. Then explain to yourself how you can use that information. The point here is to digest the input from your day. Ground that information in your personal situation.
More thoughts in this Quora answer here.
2. Start Micro-Journaling
As a writer, this is kind of embarrassing for me to admit, but I really despise journaling. I feel whiny and a little narcissistic every time I sat down to pour out hundreds of words on what I considered to be an interesting life and what I thought about each tiny event.
For me, it always did more harm than good — it took too long, I got overcritical of every event in my life, and I honestly just started to hate myself.
So instead I pared down to the basics. These steps have been WAY easier to do regularly and more beneficial for me:
- Write the date (this is critical. It reminds you there will be only one January 19th, 2016)
- Write a list of 10ish things (doesn’t really matter what these are. Reflections, ideas for a business, under-appreciated 80’s movies — they’re all fair game.)
- Write one thing you are grateful for at the bottom of the page
- Close the book and get on with your life
Again, more in-depth details (and a template) right here.
Medium: “My Boss Didn’t Show Up”
3. Take a big mid-day break (but not for lunch)
I’ve written before about how the amount of time most people take for lunch and to generally just sit around is a little obnoxious.
On the other hand, I am in favor of not just a quick break in the middle of the day, but a huge one if possible.
The caveat is this — make sure you’re using that break for a good reason. I’ve started looking at the noon hour as a reset. I can cycle out all the annoyances and start fresh. 1–5 P.M. is a brand new day, and I expect to get just as much then as I did first thing in the morning.
Use this time to work out or take a nap. They seem like opposite ends of the spectrum, but generally they have the same effect. Know your body and do what’s best for it.
4. Build in time for getting organized.
This one is last on the list because I’m freaking terrible at it. Seriously, when I get to work, I’m ready to go. There’s no time for putting things in separate folders, I’M RIDING THE WAVE BABY, LET’S DO THIS. LIOOOOON!
Then 2 weeks later, I’m looking to use an asset I know I just created, and it’s nowhere to be found. I’ve now got to draw another rainbow or baboon or an airplane or whatever the heck that brilliant idea was all over again.
It’s cliche, but an ounce of effort on the front end of this will save you a mountain of headaches on the back side.
Stay focused. Stay balanced. Learn, and most importantly: