16 good habits to follow and 8 bad habits to avoid for more productivity.by Manoj
Posted on September 17, 2018 Self-Improvement
Power of Good Habits
“Install good habits and only then you can have control over your life!” I remember my grandfather telling me while I was a kid. Every now and then, I remind myself of the saying and plan to ingrain the good habits in my everyday life.
Undeniably habits are the results of what we think, speak and act. Simply saying habits are the reflections of our life. As the saying goes laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired, bad habits are contagious. Habits breed habit and the consequences accordingly.
Fixing habits is another significant aspect. It takes quite a lot of determination, commitment, willpower, time and sacrifices.
But in this blog, I am going to talk about the good habits that will considerably increase productivity and enhance the quality of life. Also, these are the habits that I am following these days (or trying to).
1. Waking up early
Early morning hours are really really powerful time. Waking up early is one of the best habits one can have. I was terribly struggling to get up early in the morning. And now, I am slowly trying to get up early.
Waking up early allows me more time than when I wake up late. When I wake up at 5 AM, I have plenty of time to exercise, meditate, take shower, plan the day ahead and complete the incomplete tasks. Whenever I am late, I am already behind the time, feel bad and the day doesn’t start well. I have to rush and frustrates me even more.
Simply put the people who wake up early have enough time ahead of everyone else. They are more likely to be happier and more proactive.
And when I was unable to wake up in the morning, I used to make excuses with myself. I used to say that I’m not a morning person. Even though I am not a morning person, getting up early is surely going to be a perfect start of the day and within a few days of experimentation with myself, I have witnessed changes. Trying hard to wake up early. 🙂
2. The healthy diet and Drinking plenty of water
I am really proud of myself in this regard. Comparing myself from last year, I can see a lot of changes.
Quit smoking, carbonated drinks ( I was a huge fan of such drinks), became a vegetarian ( I had never in my life thought of being one as I was a heavy meat eater), no alcohol etc are some of the major achievements I have come across in my life within a year now.
Also, I eat more fruits and vegetables these days and am well hydrated as well.
Happy about everything. Now, I am intending to have better diet plans specially in terms of timing.
3. Regular exercise
Doing exercises every single day is undoubtedly the best habit one can have in his/her life. However, it takes quite a lot of consistency and commitment to continue the habit of exercising.
It took me quite some time to make myself sure that exercise is necessarily not always about running a marathon, lifting heavy weights, bicycling miles every day. Doing light activities like jogging and stretching do have significant impacts as well.
These days, I challenge myself in doing exercise. A complete set of push-ups, squats, sit-ups, jumping jacks is what my challenge is. It was very difficult and painful for the first few days, to begin with. Slowly it’s becoming a part of my daily life in the morning. Also, I play indoor football (Futsal) quite often and soon I am continuing bicycling again.
Besides the physical strength, regular exercise re-energizes me emotionally and mentally as well. It’s said never go without exercise for more than 3 days in a row. Trying hard not to 🙂
4. Writing Diary and goal setting
Years ago, one of my mentors used to suggest me to write diaries and strongly recommended not to miss while traveling. Now I regret not doing so. I have no idea how many beautiful stories have I missed and already forgotten.
Nevertheless, I have been writing diaries now. During my trip to Australia, I wrote diaries every single day during the stay in Sydney. It was quite challenging. But I feel great for not stopping. After a few days, even though I was too sleepy, I couldn’t resist writing my thoughts down. The diary and the pen were so welcoming. How could I ignore them?
Sometimes, I was totally clueless on how to start writing and sometimes, I was too confused with selecting one from too many stories incurred in the day. Some of the days, the pages were filled with the usual happenings of the day (like the daily schedules of life) and other days, the diaries had serious realizations, learning, and way forward to this beautiful life.
I believe, it’s a great way to reflect on myself on who I am and what am I doing with my life. Going through those diaries, I can know the state of my mind on that particular day as well.
Diary is a powerful tool to set goals. With the stories mentioned in the diary, I can relate them to my future goals.
A sweet reminder of life’s lessons, stories, joys, challenges, and hardships. A perfect way to time travel and that too with myself, isn’t it?
In the days to come, I am going to turn those papers when I am low, revive my courage and get pumped up to rock my life again.
5. Learning something new
Learning something new whenever possible. In recent days, I am investing my time and money in sharpening my skills (whether it be newer ones or the existing skills).
Recently, I was learning new skills in photography (editing perspectives), shooting videos, adobe photoshop tools among others.
In the near future, I am planning to learn a foreign language (which I failed terribly in the past).
Learning new skills encourage me a lot and fuels my passion for life. It’s exciting to learn new things in life.
6. Smiling, Being grateful and Inspiring ourselves
Researches have found out that simply by smiling, we can attract many benefits in our lives. By smiling we are finding our emotional, mental and spiritual peace of mind over time. Smile has the superpower to change one’s life. Further reading: The superpowers of the smile
Due to busy schedules and hectic life, we are drowned in our problems. But of course, they are inevitable. Right now, my mom lives in the village and I live with my siblings. One of the things that I really really don’t like is cooking and every day in the morning, I am supposed to cook. Before, I was too frustrated about it. But now, I am grateful. I genuinely feel it’s an opportunity for me and I find pleasure in cooking as well.
With the above-mentioned things, I inspire myself every day and try to be stronger than before.
Generally, meditation is considered a serious thing in our society. People think meditation should be done after getting old or sometimes even when someone wants to be a sadhu.
When we observe the lives of high achievers, a few habits were common and regular meditation was one of them. Oprah Winfrey opines meditation as a form of “getting closer to god” and the best habit she has on the course of being a billionaire. Tom Hanks, Jim Carrey, Hughe Jackman, Tony Robbins, Katy Perry, Steve Jobs are some of the many high achievers’ names who’re regular meditators.
Paul McCartney described the importance of meditation as “In moments of madness, meditation has helped me find moments of serenity – and I would like to think that it would help provide young people with a quiet haven in a not-so-quiet world. It was a great gift that Maharishi gave us.”
Every day I meditate for at least 15 minutes. To start off, I used to do the guided meditation. Here’s an example:
8. Time management
One of the important traits of high performing people is effective time management. Be it punctuality or time framing for the plans we make, time management is a must.
People consider time management as a skill but for me, it’s more of a habit; the repetition of what we do most of the times.
Living in a city like Kathmandu where traffic jam is highly prevalent, I see people making excuses for not being on time. Sometimes it’s genuinely true but most of the times, people are just too late on their own and blame traffic. I think this is stupid and pointless.
Because of getting used to following time schedules, I am being better at time management these days. Productivity has considerably increased too.
9. Helping and contributing to someone else’s life
Someone once said, “By helping others, you are helping yourself”. It might sound too idealistic but I strongly believe in this statement. For instance, by teaching someone something that I know, I am enhancing my skills as well as knowledge.
By helping and contributing to others’ lives, we are able to feel a state of abundance over the state of scarcity. Currently, I am directly mentoring few people enhance their photography skills. This way, I am helping someone excel and at the same time, satisfying my soul.
10. Getting out of comfort zone and overcoming fears
I love challenges and recently I have been challenging myself to get out of the comfort zone. What I have realized is most of the times we are too concerned about being judged and commented upon. Many times, our progress is hindered by the fear of being judged.
Putting those things aside as far as possible, I am trying to do things I really want to do. Normally, I don’t like talking to people unless we’ve known for a long time. But these days I have been talking to strangers, smiling at them and sometimes even appreciating them (it’s quite challenging though).
Building the habit slowly. 🙂
11. Visualization and positive thinking
Indeed, visualization is a powerful technique. Many people believe that by visualizing certain things, we can manifest the outcomes. People believe that visualization helps to build inner motivation to take necessary actions to achieve dreams. Further reading: Creative Visualization
The widely popular belief is; think good and good will come to you. I am one of the strong believers in this saying. Writing the dreams down and then thinking good about it.
12. Planning and Taking action effectively
It’s a cliche we have been hearing a lot that proper planning and effective implementation is necessary for performing certain tasks.
In the past, I used to feel unplanned tasks are exciting to work and actions become even more beautiful than expected. Yes, it’s true in some cases. But most of the times, properly planned and the actions taken are way productive and result oriented too. When the planning is done, the possible challenges can be predicted and solutions can be thought of at the same time. It is going to save time and also make us more prepared.
Most of the times, I was just stuck with the plans and no actions taken. It was also because I had too many plans to do within a very limited time frame. They were simply impractical and unrealistic. So now, I make short-term plans; mostly for a day and a week. This way I can monitor my actions and the results accordingly.
13. Enjoying personal time
Every now and then, I remind myself to slow down whenever I feel like I am running too fast and speed up a bit more when I am slow. It was because of realization and contemplation during “me time; the time for self.
Whether be it a reflection of my actions or sitting ideal thinking of nothing or doing smaller things that I love or listening to soothing music or taking a gentle walk around or reading a book or anything else that I feel like doing. These are the things which make me chill and relax helping me to refocus and rejuvenate myself.
Reading is a great habit to have. Whether it be newspaper articles, blogs, books or anything else, reading helps to uncover new ideas that we’re unaware of. Or even if we’re aware of it, it’s a reminder of the lessons.
These days, I am challenging myself to read more books and I am happy about it. Since I love to write, reading has significantly helped me in sharpening the thought process as well.
Happy reading 🙂
15. Getting enough rest and sleep
It might sound counterintuitive to say it’s imperative to wake up early and at the same time get enough rest and sleep. Getting balance might be intimidating in the beginning but as we get used to the sleeping pattern, it becomes a practice.
Sometimes, I go to bed a bit too late and in order to compensate for the sleep, I take short power naps during the day. This helps me to continue and follow a regular routine and next, it fulfils the incomplete sleep cycle.
16. Getting the best out of peak intelligence time
Peak intelligence time is a part of the day when someone is most productive, creative and focused.
As I mentioned earlier, I am not a morning person. I feel that I am most productive during the evening time. In the evening, I tend to reflect on myself, make plans and rectify the errors incurred during the day.
Someone said, “Actually, the most creative people in the world schedule their creativity … so I try to do the same.” It’s better to avoid unnecessary gatherings and unproductive discussions during the peak intelligence time. That’s what I am trying to do these days.
Bad habits to eliminate from our daily Life
It is expected that about 45% of everything we do on a daily basis is driven by our habits. Trying to chop out the bad habits and replace them with good habits is a tough thing to do. Sometimes because of the unconscious will and sometimes intentionally, we tend to indulge in bad habits and they are hard to overcome. Nevertheless, we need to get out of these bad habits and change our life towards productivity accordingly.
Here are some of the important (bad) habits that we need to change:
Using phone/computer in Bed
Beds are meant to sleep and these days, using phone/computer while on the bed has been an inseparable part in many people’s lives. Doing so, we don’t realize the extent of harm we are creating in our lives mainly in productivity and sleep/rest cycle.
Phone/computer emit short-wavelength blue light brightly because of which melatonin production is impaired. This, in turn, interrupts the sleep cycle and affecting the overall health as well.
It is important to completely outcast the use of phone/computer whole going to bed.
Hitting the Snooze button
We all tend to wake up early in the morning and keep multiple alarms. Ironically, most of us hit the snooze button when it’s the time to wake up. Hitting the snooze button not only makes us lazier, tired after waking up but also the alertness we have while falling asleep is gone. The health is deteriorated in one hand and on the other hand, productivity is lost as the early morning is missed.
Checking phone during a conversation
Checking the phone while having a conversation means someone is disinterested and wants it to end at the earliest. It leaves a bad impression of the second person. However, getting phone calls and text messages is inevitable in today’s era. So, it is better to have prior permission from the other person while receiving phone calls and replying to the text messages.
Thoughtlessly scrolling through the social media and internet
Undoubtedly, social media and internet have been the biggest gift in the 21st century. But the concern is; are we using it to its full potential or merely for entertainment and time pass? Most of us fall into the second category. Just to take a break or know about our social circle, we tend to surf social media and we are unaware of how much time it is consuming. Minutes turn into hours and we still linger around it purposelessly. It sucks and still, we continue doing the same way.
Why not change it? Let’s get into the addiction to productivity avoiding the senseless use of social media and the internet. And that too together. What do you think? ?
Gossiping and talking senseless
There’s a great quote which I read while I was in my school days. The quote goes like: “Great minds discuss ideas, average ones discuss events and small minds discuss people.” — Eleanor Roosevelt. I was small back then and still, this made a lot of sense. But I couldn’t follow what this quote meant. I used to gossip about people and have a conversation with people which meant no sense at all. They all used to be nothing but all rubbish.
One of the larger parts of our daily schedule is spent on talking, interaction and having a conversation with people. So why waste our precious time on rubbish, isn’t it?
Too much thinking/planning and not taking ACTIONS
It’s totally understandable why proper planning is important before taking any substantial actions. Without proper planning, the actions are not much effective and might not be sustainable as well. However, the point here is not to linger around with just planning and planning all the time. What I have realized in my life so far is; the more I spend on planning and thinking, the lesser effective the actions have been. After a certain level of planning, it is very important to get into the field and take actions full of enthusiasm and energy.
Comparing ourselves with other people (We all have our own TIME ZONE)
I once had watched a video which implied the message: We all have our own TIME ZONE. And I strongly believe this message is very powerful. There’s no point comparing our lives with that of others. We all walk the journey of life on our own pace and it’s totally fine if we’re slower than other people.
Nevertheless, it is important to know our self-worth and that’s where the true happiness is. Also, it is truly important to be consistent and steady towards our life journey.
The more we compare our lives with others, the lesser happy we become. So why gamble our happiness in the hands of other people? No point, isn’t it?
The inability of saying NO.
Normally, the habit of saying “YES” to everything is considered great among friends circle. If we look deep into it, the habit of saying yes is crippling us. In the longer run, the people with this habit are to more likely to experience stress.
In order to say NO, one needs a lot of self-control. Isn’t it better to say No to the things that we truly don’t believe or want to do just for the sake of maintaining courtesy when deep inside we are not compromised with the idea? It also prevents from negative effects of making the commitment.
Developing and following good habits
Like I mentioned above, implementing these habits is a different subject. I do understand that it’s a daunting task to follow and embed in our daily life.
However, if we’re able to follow them, our lives are not going to be the same as now. Significant impacts are visible in a matter of a few days. And it takes 21 days to form a habit. 21 days and it’s a habit then!!!
Day by day, bit by bit let’s change our habits and change/uplift the way we are living our lives.
Are you thinking of following any of the habits mentioned above? What other habits can be followed to make our lives even more productive? Let me know 🙂