Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good Habits are the Keys to Life

There are several themes that seem to repeat in my life, habits are one of these themes. It may sound basic but habits good or bad determine where we are in life and where we are going. I believe even if this is basic we should continually re-address.

Good habits make life easier, duh, why write about this?
There are several reasons that I felt compelled to write about habits. People tend to get comfortable where they are and habits become transparent. How many times has someone annoyed you by being late, breaking promises or micromanaging. All of these bad habits formed overtime probably with little though and the perpetrator may not even realize they're doing anything wrong.

Have you ever been in the middle of doing something you did hundreds of times before and notice you don't have to do a lot of the activity because things have changed over time or you just never noticed something small that made a big difference? As an example when I needed aluminum foil I'd pull out the roll so that I could pull out the desired amount put back in the box and use the cutter, then I read that on the boxes there are these little tabs on the side of the box that will let you easily spool the foil out. I've been using aluminum foil for 10 years and never noticed these tabs, they work great by the way.

Habits are one of the most powerful life changing actions that you can control. You need to stay mindful of your habits.

Creating Good Habits

Any job or life situation I've ever experienced got easier as time went on. What happens is that we automatically fall into a comfort zone of doing the same things over and over each day. This repetition is comfortable and makes our lives less stressful, but day to day routine can also become tedious, more about that later.

First let review a couple tips for creating better habits. If you are just starting in a job or life situation, here are a couple tips:
  • Observe others in the same situation and truly be open minded to their approach. "Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others." (Otto von Bismarck)
  • If you do make a mistake, learn from it and move on. We're all fools at one point or another.
  • Write step by step procedures for your tasks, this will get you to the comfort level quicker.
If you've been in a job or life situation for awhile here are a few tips for you:
  • Focus on your processes, what can be improved/eliminated
  • What is annoying, what processes can be changed
  • Take out a sheet of paper and draw a flow chart one of your processes or use a mindmap (recommend FreeMind)
  • Use your time wisely, while commuting, while in some meetings brainstorm how to improve your processes
  • Define what you are trying to achieve and work backwards
  • Write step by step procedure for each task
Smooth Sailing, what to do next

The less you have ot think about the more time you have to improve your processes. Some people seem to love the idea of how easy their jobs are and slack off, of course if you are an intimate friend you'll probably hear how hard they work and how little time they have . It's tempting to slack off, but I think we're better than that. Are you completely satisfied with your life? I don't know anyone that is 100% satisfied, there is always something more you could have or do. If you have everything you want out of life get comfortable and don't change a thing. If not get out there and kick some butt.