I am fascinated by the concept of productivity.
And I strongly believe that productivity can be the difference between achieving great things, and simply existing.
After all — each one of us has exactly the same number of hours in the day with which to reach our goals. It is what we do, and how we execute, that makes all the difference.
With that in mind, today I want to talk about routine, and how it can make a major impact on our potential for success.
Establishing a Habitual Path to Success
If you want to achieve something, it often involves some kind of unique commitment — something you have not done before. It is all too easy to become resistant to such actions, and to have doubts over your prospects of success.
In such scenarios, I find routine to be a powerful ally. If you can make these actions just another part of your day, they become far less imposing. If you are making a considerable financial investment into a new endeavor then you do of course have more to risk than hours in the day.
However, if we are simply discussing a time investment, and you have already made the psychological leap that it is time worth investing, the only thing left in the way is a lack of routine.
Related: How To Make Time Equal Money 24 Hours A Day
The idea of using routine to help me achieve my own goals is well-represented by a relatively new project I started a few weeks ago, which I deliberately named The One Hour Authority Site Project.
The details of the project aren’t particularly relevant — it is my approach that bares consideration. I am investing one hour per weekday, every weekday, into this project. I don’t know if it will be a success (as it is very speculative), but I do know that I have the best possible chance of success by making it part of my routine.
How a Lack of Routine Can Kill Productivity
If you don’t give the most important actions in your day-to-day life a chance to become routine, you are unlikely to stick with them for the long term. Or, if you do, they will never become established in such a way that will allow you to maximize your productivity.
A good example of this is some work that I sat down to do last Friday. It was 3pm, and the task was open-ended. I had told myself that I would spend two hours on the task, but I ended up working for about fifteen minutes before convincing myself that I had worked hard enough for the week, and that I should call it a day.
Related: Entrepreneurial Mistakes: Are You Procrastinating Under The Guise Of Doing Work?
I failed to reach this mini-goal that I had set myself because that particular task was not an established habit. Because of that, it was easy for me to put it off — there was no precedent to stick to.
However, if I had simply switched tasks around that day, I would have got more done. If I had done that two hour non-habitual task in the morning, and done a “habit task” in the afternoon, I would have no doubt worked through to 5pm.
How to Establish Routine
Establishing a habit is difficult. The human brain likes familiarity and consistency — it doesn’t like having to work to do something. New tasks are your mind’s worst enemy.
That is why habits are so powerful — they allow your brain to work on autopilot. Anything in life can become habit if you work at it for long enough, and that in itself is the key — time.
Research has demonstrated that the “average” task takes 66 days to be established as a habit. That of course varies — drinking a glass of water in the morning becomes habit far more quickly than going for a short run, for instance. But understanding the concept that anything you choose to do becomes easier (or automatic) over time is a powerful revelation.
My point is this — anything you struggle with now will only get easier as you continue to do it. I’ve found this to be the case in any number of habits that I have formed — most recently, running. Something that once felt absolutely alien is now a well-formed habit. These days I’m out of bed in the morning and running before I even know it.
A popular suggestion when it comes to forming habits is to do the action as if you are only “trialling” it for a few weeks, or a month. If you can convince yourself that the change or addition is only temporary, it somehow seems less imposing. And then, by the time a month has passed, you are on your way to establishing a habit, and it becomes far easier to carry on.
Plenty of people have succeeded without routine, but in my opinion, there is no doubting the power of habit to boost productivity and ultimately better your chances of success.
With that in mind, everything you do to achieve your goals is best turned into a habit. This is achieved through consistency and repetition. Whilst you need willpower to establish any habit, your willpower can be manipulated by having a greater understanding of the benefits of what you are trying to do, and by “trialling” the habit-to-be.
Cast your mind over what you do on a day-to-day basis — how much of it is habit, and how much of it do you struggle with? And how important are those respective tasks to your future success?
This post was written by Tom Ewer, a regular contributor for MyWifeQuitHerJob.com! If you want to see an example of establishing a routine in action, please check out his latest project, The One Hour Authority Site
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