4 Simple, But Effective Habits For Busy People
When we say we don’t have time to do something, it usually means we lack the motivation or discipline to prioritize the things that would make a difference for us.
In this article, I’ll share four small things I started doing in the last few years that made the biggest impact on my work and personal life. By knowing how to stay committed and allocate your time to the right things, it’s possible to juggle different side hustles while still having time for a social life.
Turn off notifications
If I had to choose just one thing that could arguably increase my productivity, it would be turning off notifications.
It is scientifically proven that dopamine has a direct impact on the decisions we make and the actions we take. Companies are designing their products to release as much dopamine as possible to keep us coming back for more. The worst part is that indulging in these sources of gratification requires zero effort. We can literally stay on our sofa or in bed and consume, and we are rewarded with massive hits of dopamine for doing nothing. This can hijack your time and energy.
Okay, I know you already know this. The question is: how can we become more conscious of it?
- Start by tracking your screen time. If you have an iPhone, it will show you how many hours you spend and which apps you use.
- Notice how you feel after using your phone (and certain apps). That’s a strong indicator of whether you’re consuming the right content for you.
- Based on your discoveries, if the content you’re consuming isn’t making you feel uplifted, make the decision to unfollow things that aren’t adding value to your life.
- To go even deeper, set a personal mode on your phone. For example, from 9 am to 12 pm, no notifications will go through so you can focus on your tasks. Your phone will not be a distraction.
Make it a no brainer
When trying to build a new habit, it can be difficult to get started because it requires motivation, discipline, and willpower. Pairing the habit with something that you enjoy doing can be helpful, especially in the early days when the habit hasn’t yet developed its own automatic neuropathway.
According to James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits”, our desires and environment often influence our habits. We tend to want things simply because they are available to us at the time. For example, if your couch is facing the TV in your living room, it encourages you to come home from work, sit on the sofa, and turn on the TV.
If you’re working from home, create a beautiful workspace that inspires you. Keep a large bottle of water nearby to avoid getting distracted by frequent trips to the kitchen. Consider what could disrupt your work and have a plan to address it.
Some people work best in coffee shops. If this is you, find a busy coffee shop, put on your headphones, and tackle your most important tasks in the morning.
Time block the night before
I time block absolutely everything, from personal to work-related tasks, such as coaching sessions, yoga classes, recording classes, lunch breaks, admin work, doctor appointments, and deep work, among others.
If a task is not in my schedule, I’ll probably forget about it or won’t prioritize it.
There are several reasons why I time-block everything:
- Increased focus and productivity. Multitasking doesn’t work for me, but having dedicated time for different tasks allows me to go into deep work and get things done.
- Better planning. It allows me to organize tasks based on my energy levels or mood. Research shows that we are not good at doing creative and logical tasks at the same time. Therefore, I do all my creative tasks in the morning when my energy is at its peak, and admin tasks either in the evening or on a dedicated day.
Time-blocking is amazing, honestly. If you time-block everything the night before or plan your week on Sunday, you’ll know what your day (or week) looks like ahead of time. It helps you focus on executing the task rather than deciding what to do next.
Whether you’re building a business or trying to succeed in your career, everything works better when you put yourself first.
This means intentionally deciding how to spend your time and energy and focusing on what’s most important to you. You can start your day by checking your emails and taking care of everyone else’s priorities, or you can prioritize yourself and begin by doing the things that will make the biggest impact for you.
For instance, if your manager requests that you finish a task by 11 am, you will do everything possible to ensure it is completed on time. However, when it comes to doing something for yourself, such as completing a task that will take your project to the next level, you may find yourself making excuses.
Does this sound familiar? It does to me.
By being mindful of how you want to spend your time and keeping your sights on your goals and the bigger picture, you can wake up earlier and take some time for yourself by exercising or meditating. You can start your day by committing to completing your most important tasks before checking your emails, notifications, or allowing others to enter your mental space.
Making a habit of prioritizing yourself is one of the most significant things you can do to ensure that you live according to your values and work towards your objectives rather than assisting others in achieving theirs.