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The Secret for a More Productive Life? Good Habits.

Do you ever wonder if you could find a better balance between all the things you want to do and all of the things you have to do? Do you want a more productive life?

As moms, it’s discouraging on days when we feel like we can’t get a moment to ourselves, let alone anytime to focus on the projects or hobbies we’re passionate about. 

How Can I Be More Productive? 

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When you’re trying to accomplish more, the advice often given is to “work harder.” 

You’re told to: wake up earlier, stay up later, cut out all of your downtime. While this advice may work for a short time, it’s not sustainable or healthy.

Be More Productive By Only Focusing On Your Highest Priorities 

In one of my last articles titled, “4 Secrets to Better Manage Your Time” I talked about how establishing your own personal priorities is the first step in managing your time for maximum impact. 

Each of us spends our time between different priorities. 

For example, most moms have a high priority of making sure their children feel loved. Other things that may be high priorities to Moms are: good health, career satisfaction, a clean house, community involvement, artistic endeavors, etc. 

Everyone’s priorities are different, especially everyone’s highest priorities. If you want to have the biggest impact on making progress with your goals, then you need to decide what your two or three highest priorities are and focus as much time and energy on those things.  

What About Everything Else? 

We all only have 24 hours in a day. There’s an endless amount of things we want to accomplish, and then there are all of the things we have to do. 

Unfortunately, life isn’t just about focusing on our priorities all the time. We also need to manage our household chores like our laundry, cleaning, and managing finances. It can be challenging trying to take care of these alongside all of the other things we’d rather be doing. 

Create Good System or Routines

In the book: The Joy of Missing Out: Live More By Doing Less, written by Tanya Dalton she elaborates how creating “good systems” or routines in our daily lives will allow us to better manage our time and energy. 

Systems are defined as an organized framework or method. Routines are defined as a sequence of actions regularly followed. 

These terms may seem daunting or overly analytical, but it’s really not extremely difficult. Afterall, you most likely already follow certain daily routines without giving much thought to them at all. 

Most people have a morning or “waking” routine. We tend to do the same sequence of actions every day after waking up, often without giving much thought or effort as to why we do those routines. 

How Do You Build Up Good Routines? 

Good systems are created by good habits. 

Tanya Dalton says, “We build strong systems by developing positive habits. In turn, once these habits are ingrained, they make tasks happen automatically.” 

When you give your brain too much to do or too many options to choose from, it loses energy – and its ability to make good decisions. 

Developing good habits will help you conserve your brain power and emotional energy by freeing up space to concentrate on what really matters to you. 

So How Do You Develop Good Habits? 

If you’ve ever tried to break a habit or create a new habit in the past, then you know it’s not always an easy thing to do.  

With Tanya Dalton’s help though, we’re going to break down exactly how to create good habits. Which will then be the building blocks to a more productive life. 

Why Do You Want To Create A New Habit?

Tanya explains that the first step to creating a good habit is to articulate exactly what you want to do and why. 

Ask yourself, why do I want to build this new habit? Let’s say for example that you want to get fit and healthy. So you decide to start a new daily running routine. Understanding the reasons why you want to get into shape can help you keep going when you no longer feel motivated. 

Do you want to be able to run a half marathon? Or maybe set a good example for your kids? Knowing your why will help you keep going when you feel like quitting. 

Identify Your Cues

Next identify the cues or triggers that will tell your brain it’s time to do your new habit. 

Cues can include things like: location, time, our emotional state, and other people. 

Your cue for the new habit of running could be something as simple as putting on your workout clothes and running shoes. 

Know Your Excuses 

Know and identify the excuses you’re likely to use later to get out of building your new habit.

You might say something like, “I’m too tired to go for a run. I’ll go tomorrow.” If you’ve already predicted the excuse, once the urge to use it comes up you’ll be ready to fight it. 

Make A Plan Including The Three Rs

Use the three Rs: Record, Reward, Redirect. 

Record:

It takes about 66 days to form a new habit, so it can be hard to see any progress when you are starting out. That’s why it’s good to Record or track your progress. 

For example, use a running app that tracks each run for you. 

Rewards:  

Brain research has shown that rewards are important in developing habits. That’s because rewards tell the brain that this activity is worth remembering for the future. 

Once the habit has been formed, you’ll no longer need rewards. 

Redirect:

You will stumble or fail at some point. Maybe you go a week without running? That’s no reason to quit! You just need to pick yourself back up, recover and redirect your efforts. 

Building strong habits isn’t as hard as we make it out to be. It just takes extra energy at the beginning. Once a routine has been established it requires less effort, less energy, and less thinking to maintain. Plus, you’ll be on the fast track to a more productive life and reaching all of your biggest goals.  

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