How To Break Bad Work Habits + 3 Simple Tips To Stay FOCUSED On Your Goals…

Getting Focused While Working OnlineDo you ever sit down to work (with good intentions)... but minutes later you're checking email or looking at facebook instead?

Before you know it the day gets away from you, and you've barely made a dent in your priority tasks!

It's a habit. A bad one, of course. That's what I'm going to share with you today: how to analyze your bad work habits, break them, and finally get (and stay) FOCUSED on your highest priorities. πŸ™‚

Bad work habits can range from "piddling" (procrastination) to not having good systems in place for documenting your ideas, putting those ideas into action, prioritizing your work tasks, etc. These habits don't just affect your productivity, but ultimately your success and your overall quality of life...

If you really want to reach your goals in life and business, you have to buckle down and get seriously disciplined. Know what you want to accomplish, how you're going to accomplish it, and GET IT DONE.

Sounds simple enough, right? I know - "easier said than done". lol.

 

How To Analyze Your Bad Work Habits

The first step in improving your work habits is to figure out what's working... and what is obviously NOT. My "productivity policy" in business is simple:

Do more of what's working, and less of what's not.

I recommend a Time Log Exercise. This is one of the most enlightening and revealing things you can do for yourself. Simple keep a running Time Log for the next 72 hours, noting everything you do and how long it takes. I include sleep, downtime, watering the plants, how long it takes to answer emails - everything.

Having a thorough, honest overview of your day for three days in a row will give you an EXACT idea of how you're spending your time, and where you can easily make improvements. Within the first day, you'll easily start identifying your "time wasters", as well as your most productive / creative hours of the day.

You can do this exercise on paper, or ideally in Evernote so you can keep a running list whether you're on your computer, tablet or mobile device - as Evernote syncs automatically across all of your devices.

* Note any repetitive tasks on your list, as those can easily be outsourced and should be the FIRST thing you stop doing yourself.

 

How To BREAK Bad Work Habits

After you do the simple Time Log Exercise, you'll be able to improvements easily. Knowing exactly what is killing your productivity is the key - then you can address it immediately and get into a better set of work habits.

Here's what I do myself, and highly recommend:

1. Start every day with a Money Task.

No exceptions. Do this first. If you get in the habit of starting every day with a task that grows your business or increases your revenue, your business will grow consistently. Some of those tasks will pay off better than others. That's great! Just do more of what works, and less of what doesn't as you go. πŸ™‚

2. Pinpoint 3 top priorities for the day.

Choose three (ONLY three) top priorities each day. Do those first - before you check email, before you log on to Facebook, before anything else. Except coffee, of course -lol. They can be small or big tasks, it doesn't matter. Just knock them out.

This gives you a nice kick-start to your work day, and a strong sense of accomplishment - which will fuel you for a "power day" of super productivity!

3. Discipline: Get UNcomfortable!

It's not easy at first. If it were easy to succeed, everyone would be at the top of their game - and there would no longer BE a top. πŸ˜›

When I find myself straying away from my Top 3 Priorities, or my Money Task, I reel myself back in - I close tabs and say "FOCUS" and go back to the task at hand. You have to FORCE a breakthrough... if you're going to have one.

 

How to get FOCUSED On Your Priorities

It's easy to get distracted working online, and easy to feel overwhelmed with a never-ending list of tasks & ideas. We ALL deal with that. The difference between the successful and the struggling... is that the successful people focus on the highest priority tasks - and "force a breakthrough".

When you feel overwhelmed with your task list, just stop and pick a priority task. DO IT. Get it done, then move on to the next one.

The key: pick something and get it DONE.

Close tabs. Turn off distractions. Keep reeling yourself back in if you have to (I do). Force yourself to focus on a single task until it's completed.

You can't get it all done in one day. There's no way. Simply force yourself to do what you CAN, as it relates to your most pressing tasks or highest priorities. I recommend just THREE "must get done" tasks every day, as well as a Money Task (if it's not one of your three).

During your Time Log Exercise you should have noticd your "peak hours" - those times of day when you are most productive, or in "creative mode". This is when you should blog, create products, brainstorm, or do your "brainpower" work. Everything else should be done during your non-peak hours, when your energy and interest is lower - such as answering emails, Facebook, research, organizing your desk, etc.

 

Anatole France Quote

I love this quote. πŸ™‚ As important as it is to get organized and get systems in place to break bad work habits and improve your productivity... don't discount the "head space" factor. Being excited about your business, brainstorming, setting BIG goals, and setting out each day with the expectation of SUCCESS can all be very powerful motivators!

 

Change Your Workspace For Better Workflow

A simple way to break a habit is to change your environment.

Habits thrive on routine. By changing your environment, workspace or routine... you break the mental pattern where habits naturally fall into place.

In my Home Office Organization post, Ian asked why I use two desks in my home office, and why I have them facing away from each other. The reason is because I do different types of work at each desk. I have a "Media Desk" for product creation, podcasting, video editing, etc. The other desk is for blogging, social media, shopping, accounting, etc - basically everything else.

By having a set location for certain types of tasks, I'm less likely to jump from one thing to another. When I'm at the Media Desk for example, I actually have to get up and go across the room to check email or do research. That deters me from getting distracted and reminds me to "reel it in" and stay focused on the task at hand.

I also work in Time Blocks. I have these set up in Evernote with checkboxes beside each for my daily tasks. It "gamifies" my task list, with the goal being to check off as many boxes as I can every day. πŸ™‚

I choose a priority task and stick it out (forcing it if I have to: discipline!) until it's done, then move on to the next one. It helps to prioritize your regular tasks in order, so if you don't make it all the way through your list (I never do!) your lowest priority tasks are the only ones that get neglected.

Revisit the Time Log exercise frequently to continue eliminating time wasters and repetitive tasks, and to improve your productivity & efficiency.

The next time you find yourself falling into your old routine or "unproductive habits", get up and move. Work from your laptop, table or mobile from another room if you have to - or from a coffee shop, or my favorite: the back deck. Break the habit by breaking the routine!

 

4 Books You Should Own

If you really want to get geeky... THIS book is a LIFE CHANGER. This is my all-time favorite and most recommended book under the sun. It's a serious eye opener:

 

In my next update, I'll share my "home office inventory" with you - what I have in my home office (and WHY), and how to best organize / arrange everything for optimal workflow and improved productivity.

We'll also discuss what to do with "the stacks and stuff" that tend to accumulate in your workspace. Which is a bad habit of MINE I fully intend to BREAK. πŸ™‚ lol.

You can follow the Home Office Organization Project here:

http://www.clicknewz.com/tag/home-office-project/

Best,

 

"Embrace The Pandemonium"Chaos. That's my office at the moment. Today's goal: do something with all the STUFF...

Posted by Lynn Terry onΒ Tuesday, July 14, 2015

 

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»

Discussion

  1. I have been following along, in fact, reorganizing my workspace as well. I have already noticed how I feel better about working and have been able to get more done!

  2. Hi Lynn,

    This post caught my eye. I am in the midst of some work station reorganization myself. Furniture is moved but books and more books and files still yet to be organized on the bookshelf. Computer access was definitely a must to be set up first.

    I never thought of this as a way to maybe break bad habits but I think it is working and I didn't know it.

    • Sometimes I'll make simple changes like rearranging the things on my desk: mail holder, second monitor, whatever I use a lot (or should, and am not). Often I have to get up and work from my laptop in another room to really shake a bad case of "lack of focus" lol.

      As for books, I'll be working on that soon. I have TONS. I plan to organize them in a way that makes sense. Mostly by topic, but there are a set of books I still want to read (or read again) that need to be easily accessible. Stay tuned - I'll figure out a good system for that in the process of this project. πŸ™‚

  3. HI Lynn,

    Sometimes it can feel like the list of things to do is never ending. I agree that having 3 main priorities a day will help you to FOCUS. I have a list of 5 written on a post it note and taped to my computer screen, that way I look at it consistently and I don't lose my list when my desk gets cluttered.

    • Hi Veronica,

      3-5 tasks for a day is a great way to get and stay focused. Some people prefer a paper list beside their keyboard or a post-it on the monitor, others use Evernote - I say use whatever system works to stay focused on the "must do's" for the day! πŸ™‚

      Everything else can wait. Otherwise nothing at all will get accomplished. It's better to do a few things really well, than to spend all of your time avoiding doing anything at all.

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