Ever wish you could squeeze more into a day? I know I sometimes realise I could have made better use of my time – it’s easy to get bogged down with things that you don’t really need to do. Today I’ve invited Nicolas Soergel, author of Happy About An Extra Hour Every Day, to share some tips for saving time by tackling habits that interfere with our wise use of time. Let’s hear what he has to say –
Save Time by Identifying and Changing Your Bad Habits
by Nicolas Soergel
The former athlete Jim Ryun said “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.” This means that although we may start something new with a high level of motivation, unless we make it a habit, we are likely to drop it in the end.
To improve your time management for the long-term you need to change old habits and implement new ones. Here’s a three step process to show you how:
1) Focus on motivation and forget discipline
When it comes to changing habits, focusing on discipline generally leads to too much trying, all at once. Changing habits is a difficult task and requires time. If you try to muscle your way thorough a change of habit by discipline alone, you may find yourself failing and de-motivated. As a result the entire improvement project is often at stake. Moreover, the mental hurdle to start all over again gets tougher with each setback.
So, my recommendation is to never use the word the word discipline again! Changing habits is all about motivation and positive re-enforcement and rewards. Before you attempt to change a habit write down the answers to the following questions:
Why do I want to change this?l
What is motivatingl me?
What would be some quick wins I can accomplish?l
How can I rewardl myself?
Start with the quick wins. These should be easy enough to achieve and should be celebrated, even if they only have a small impact. Besides, achieving these quick wins makes you hungry for more. Reward yourself each time you achieve something. Use small rewards for minor achievements and big rewards for significant ones.
2) Change habits through chaining
Another good way to overcome negative feelings when it comes to changing habits is to use ‘chaining’. Let me explain with the following example:
You have decided to go jogging every day to improve your health. Each day you go out to run your chain gets longer. If you manage to run every day for one week you create a chain of seven days. Now maybe on the eight-day, you don’t run and the chain is interrupted. You have to start all over again to initiate a new chain and this time you try to ensure that the chain is longer than seven days.
Chaining is an approach where you complete against yourself. The concept of chaining works because when the chain breaks, you look forward to starting the next chain instead of looking back and feeling bad about the old one.
3) Replace old habits with new ones
Stopping something (e.g., smoking) that you have done for along time is one of most difficult types of habits to change. Giving up these old habits can create a feeling of emptiness. This can be avoided by replacing and old, bad habit with a good, new one.
Ideally the new habit works with the same triggers the old one did. For example: Did you smoke a cigarette after a meal? Substitute that habit with having a cup of tea at the end of meal.
Nicolas Soergel, is the author of Happy About An Extra Hour Every Day. As the CEO of a multi-national corporation, had the opportunity to interview successful executives all over the world about how they manage their time. His book help readers save time negotiating various aspects of their lives, including working, traveling, and housekeeping. Buy the book on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Happy-About-Extra-Hour-Every/dp/1600051405
or visit his blog at http://www.anextrahoureveryday.com