Productive Work Habits

Productive work habits produce excellent results. So how do YOU develop good work habits and increase your productivity at work? The truth about your productivity routine is that habits make up much of our lives.

Let's go on a mental journey together for a moment. Think about when you got up this morning, what did you do? Did you have to think about it when you sat up in bed, before you put your feet on the floor?

Of course you didn't because you have a routine.

We all do.

I don't know what yours is specifically but no one wakes up on a daily basis confused about what they should do first.

Usually, it's go to the bathroom, get a coffee mug, have some coffee, then get in the shower right?

There's no thought put into the order you're going through the motions of your morning routine because you do it the same way almost every day.

Change Your Habits, Change Your Life

How would you be different if you had different productive work habits and a more effective to-do list each day?

What if, instead of getting up at 6:30, you woke up at 5:30 daily and got on the treadmill for 45 minutes?

What if instead of watching television every night for two hours you spent it on your passion: painting, embroidery, restoring cars, or writing? Would life feel more meaningful? Would work?

Poor Work Habits

Poor work habits are just habits that you can change like every other habit in your life. You just have to prioritize new habits. I read somewhere that people change when the discomfort of the results of their current habits outweighs the effort it will take to start a new habit.

It's true. So much of our work life is spent on autopilot. We go to work the same way we wake up, do you really remember the drive to work, what was on the road? No, you were absorbed in thought about something else.

Think about all of the time wasters during a typical day at work: water-cooler gossip, workplace interruptions, extra long phone calls, dealing with other peoples' problems and lack of planning.

Do you take the time to plan out your day before you actually arrive to work like Stephen Covey said in his bestseller Seven Habits?

When you do, you make smooth transitions from one task to the next without spending mental energy deciding which thing to tackle next which creates productive work habits. (The link just mentioned is an article I wrote that explains how multitasking is the enemy and why. You can change your habits!

Developing Productive Work Habits

So how to you have develop more productive work habits? (Here's my article on why you should have a productivity routine, it will open a new window taking you to a guest blog post I wrote.)

  • Recognize your habits are the problem
  • realize you want to change your habits
  • figure out how to do things you hate
  • visualize clearly what habits you want to institute
  • brainstorm HOW to accomplish what you want
  • get started replacing poor work habits with productive work habits
  • maintain the self-discipline even when you don't feel like it

Well conscious recognition is the first step. You have to realize that you are not as efficient as you could be and isolate your time wasters.

Earl Nightingale said it best when he said a ship cannot see its destination fully 90% of its journey but with a map, goal and able bodied crew, the ship will arrive at the exact port it intended to.

A ship that sails without a destination, plan or crew has almost no chance of making it into any harbor at all.

Remember, you are your own crew. You need a plan to execute and a destination in mind before you can get there. You will need to choose a daily planner to keep you on track too.

Do Productive Work

So if your habits lead to your results and you're not getting the results you want, change your habits.

So the way to do productive work is by having productive work habits! Seems easy! Well most people stop there because the real work is identifying what results you want and what it will take to get there.

Once you've invested some time in defining your goal, creating a to-do list and an action plan, productive work habits are just a matter of self-discipline.

I used to struggle with this myself. You know what to do, but you have a pattern of inconsistency because of one of these factors:

  • Procrastination
  • Working endlessly in the beginning, then burning out
  • Working on new habits 2-3 times then slacking off
  • Never getting started

The reason that any or all of these happen is that you haven't solidified the vision of what you want in your mind firm enough to overcome these obstacles. Once you know what you want, clearly and precisely and you want it so bad you can just feel it already, nothing can stop you.

So when your poor work habits intrude on your life plan, take some time to really firm up what you want out of life and who you'd need to become to achieve it then get started!

Not sticking with something is not a sign you're not cut out to do it, it's only a sign that your vision of the future isn't strong enough in your mind yet so start there.

Read Another Time Management Article:

A Better To-Do List

Workplace Interruptions

Seven Habits Stephen Covey

How To Do Things You Hate

How To Choose A Daily Planner

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