Great read from Bernard Marr at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-mini-habits-make-you-more-successful-work-bernard-marr
10 Mini-Habits That Will Make You More Successful at Work
May 10, 2015
Aristotle famously said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
And I completely agree: success rarely comes from a single sweeping change or action, but rather from the culmination of small actions over time. So adjusting your daily habits to prime you for success is a good strategy that anyone, at any level, can employ.
Here are 10 habits that would make a great start:
- Shut off alerts on your phone. All those dings and beeps and pop-ups are incredibly distracting. It’s understandable that you might not want to turn your phone completely off while at work, but at least turn off all your notifications and alerts. You’ll be shocked at how much more you’ll get done when you’re not checking it every 10 seconds.
- Get organized. If your desk and files are organized, you’ll spend less time searching for things and more time working productively. Beyond the obvious benefits, though, it also makes you look more put together and successful. The next time your boss drops by for a chat, he won’t be looking at a week’s worth of paper and protein bar wrappers, but rather the workspace of someone who’s got it together.
- Add estimated times to your to-do list. A to-do list itself is good, but things that get scheduled are more likely to get done. One easy way to start is by writing down approximately how long you think each task will take when making your to-do list. Then you can easily see what will fit into your day and make more accurate estimates of when you can finish a project or task. Take the next logical step and slot the tasks into the hours of your day, and you’ll always know what you should be working on.
- Implement the 2-minute rule. It’s a pretty well known productivity rule that if a task will take less than two minutes, you should do it right away. But what if your entire morning gets eaten up with two minute tasks? In that case, schedule two minute drills during the day. Give yourself an hour when you get in, half an hour after lunch, and half an hour before you leave for the day to take care of those niggling little tasks (like answering emails and returning phone calls) so they’re off your list before the next day.
- Make bad habits harder. Whatever your bad work habit is — eating candy from the vending machine, gossiping with colleagues, or eating lunch at your desk — do whatever you can to make it harder to give into. Stop carrying cash for the vending machine, plan meetings during your normal gossip time, or make yourself go to the local sandwich shop for lunch.
- Work in bursts; take your breaks outside. Science tells us that people work better in short, focused bursts. Figure out what your ideal work length is (anywhere from 20–55 minutes, generally) and then set a timer to make yourself take a break when that period is up. Then, go outside for 5–10 minutes. Getting up, away from your computer, moving, and getting some fresh air will refresh you and make it easier to get back to work.
- Designate yourself morale officer. Set up company-wide email alerts when there’s free food in the break room. Organize a monthly happy hour or cake morning. Bring coffee and doughnuts to the meeting. Being likeable is a great way to make important contacts, stand out in a positive way, and generally be more successful. It’s easy to take just a little extra step to be more positive and generally more likeable with your team and company.
- Upgrade your personal presentation. You’ve heard the old adage to dress for success? It’s the truth. The clothes do indeed make the man (and woman) to some extent, as you will make a better first impression and come across as already more successful with an upgraded wardrobe. If you can afford to, buy some new clothes slightly nicer than the ones you have. If that’s not an option, look at upgrading your presentation: make sure your clothes are perfectly pressed; wear a tie if you normally don’t, or a jacket; polish your shoes; upgrade your hairstyle; pay attention to your posture, etc. Whether anyone else notices or not, when you look better, you feel better and will exude more confidence.
- Focus on your long-term goals. It may seem simple to say, but if you don’t keep your long-term goals front-of-mind, you’re likely to get caught up in day-to-day minutiae and neglect them. Post your goal somewhere you can see it, add it to the wallpaper of your phone or desktop of your computer, and then make daily decisions based on whether or not they move you closer to that goal.
- Smile. Sound silly? It’s not. Being positive is one of the main traits successful people share. Even if you don’t feel particularly positive, pasting a smile on your face can actually help trick your body (and your mind) into being more positive. Plus, it makes you come across as friendly and likeable, another predictor of success. And it will make you feel better. A win/win all around.
These are the habits that made my top 10 list, but I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below. What small habits would you add to this list? Please share your thougths…