Did you wake up at 4 am despite being so tired and continued your exercise routine for 1 hour? Did you devote another 1 hour for meditation and quiet time before getting up to take your bath and begin your day? I bet only a few people will attest to having done any of these, while others admire it and wish they could be doing things like these. Well, you can if you understand how habits work and how it affects our productivity.
For many of us, no matter how stressed we are, we always find ourselves brushing our teeth or taking our bath, except you decide not to, of course. This is because this action has become automatic; you don’t need to think about it before doing it. This is what defines habits.
Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers at Duke University, they account for about 40 percent of our behaviours on any given day. This attests to the fact that habits have shaped our lives and who we are up until now.
What about productivity?
I need to define this so we can all be on the same page.
Productivity is a measure of the efficiency of a person performing a task. We often assume that productivity means getting more things done each day. Wrong. Productivity is getting important things done consistently.
You are productive as an individual when you are able to set one or two tasks for yourself with a reasonable deadline and complete those tasks before the deadline. It means taking control of your life as an individual, making plans, and executing them efficiently.
How Do Habits Affect Our Productivity?
Remember our definition of habits and how that it is automatic?
Yes, habits affect our productivity in the sense that when habits become automatic and part of us, it does not matter if you’re tired a certain day or wake up on the wrong side of the bed, you will still perform it. You’ll still perform it because it has become automatic and won’t feel a certain way until you do.
Back to our first example. A person who has made it a habit of waking up at 4 am in the morning and doing his routine before heading out to work would be productive because even on days when he doesn’t feel like getting up early, he would still get up early. Why? Because it has been automatic for him; a habit. Of course, he can always force himself back to sleep.
This is how habits affect our productivity. Habits that have been formed keep working to make you productive. The same goes for bad habits as well that make you unproductive; like sleeping in late or addictions. Read here how to make healthy habits, instead of unhealthy ones.
Other ways habits affect our productivity include:
Good habits will help you achieve your goals faster.
You can get motivated and aspire to be successful but if you do not cultivate the habits that will help you move in that direction, you’ll never get there. Habits persist even when you are not ‘feeling’ motivated, and this is exactly what you need to reach your goals. We have been taught a wrong definition of motivation that is not beneficial. The true meaning of motivation has been defined here. When you achieve your goals with the help of habits, you can say that you are productive.
Good habits lead to great attitudes.
I have discovered that a good attitude stems from good and healthy habits. Since habits shape our lives and are largely responsible for our behaviours, they also have a great influence on our attitudes, which in turn affects our productivity. Without a great attitude towards the circumstances of life, productivity will be low. You can see that the genesis of productivity is habits.
Habits are for life.
A popular quote by Charles C. Nobel states: ‘First, we make our habits, then our habits make us’. If not for any other reason, you should intentionally develop good habits because they makeup who you are and lasts for life.
To be productive, you have to take the time to build habits that will yield the desired result. Building a healthy habit does not have to be a hassle, you can learn the habit formation process and use that to your advantage.
What other ways do you think habits affect our productivity?