By Jonathan Moerbe, CEO and Master Coach, Rialto Academy
At Rialto Academy, we’re pretty obsessed with habits. They’re the basic building blocks of everything we do as humans. Each breath is the result of an internal habit. Our bodies give us hundreds of cues every day about how we should act in response to feeling cold, hot, hungry, lonely, etc.
As creatures of habit, how can we slow down enough to be conscious of the habits that will lead to our success, and of those that put our productivity at risk?
Imagine you’re planning a road trip.
Your first step is to plan the destination. Go to the mountains? The beach? A cool city, or a remote, hidden location? Where are you going—and more importantly, why?
The next step is to check out a map and identify the best route to get there. Do you take highways to maintain the highest speed, or look for shortcuts on some backcountry roads?
What do you want to do along the way? Is there anything you want to stop and see, or are you focused on getting there as quickly as possible?
When are you going to leave, and how long do you think it will take?
If you just jumped into the car to drive, you’d be at risk of not taking the best route.
As you are charting out your productivity journey, you have to make many of the same decisions. What does “success” look like? Is there a shortcut to get there, or is success showing up disguised as hard work?
Habits are the atoms of our productive lives. If we want to get the most out of them, we have to stop and plan.
Here are five quick things you can do to improve the impact of your habits on your productivity.
1. Schedule planning time.
There’s the planning you, and then there’s the habitual you. Make sure you block time regularly to dive into how your habits are serving you, and where they need to be upgraded. In our busy world, planning can be the first thing to go, yet that often means we’re running quickly in the wrong direction.
When you are first crafting your habits, focus on your goals. That means that as you evaluate the ongoing success of your habits, you need to continually ask yourself, “Are my habits actually helping me achieve my goals?”
As you evaluate the ongoing success of your habits, you need to continually ask yourself,
“Are my habits actually helping me achieve my goals?”
2. Hold a five-minute funeral.
If you experience some kind of unexpected snafu (and we all do from time to time), how do you keep it from hijacking your day? One great way to recover is by holding a “five-minute funeral.” Set a timer for five minutes. Let all your frustrations out and review all the possible consequences of the upsetting situation.
Once the timer ends, hit the button, and move on with your day. The goal is to address the situation straight on—and hopefully start to plan next steps before the five minutes even ends. Over time, the goal is to not even need the whole five minutes—you’ll start to be ready to start moving on much faster, and your other habits can keep rolling forward.
3. Take a victory lap.
Just as we need to process our challenges, we also want to celebrate our victories. Don’t just let your wins pass on by—make it a point to acknowledge the excitement and importance of what you’ve achieved.
One approach is by literally taking a victory lap. When you achieve something you’re proud of, get up and take a walk around the office, the block, or your living room. Reflect on why this victory matters, and what it adds to your overall plan. Capture the feeling of success to motivate you for the future.
4. Link your best habits together.
Over time, a habit will evolve from conscious to unconscious. It’ll start to feel normal to proceed with this habit—and even a little weird when you don’t do it.
This is the perfect window to pause and consider how to start linking your habits together. Now you can use an established habit as the trigger for another one. In his book, “Atomic Habits,” James Clear calls this “habit-stacking.” The idea is to capitalize on one success by tying another to it.
“Miracle Morning,” by Hal Elrod, explores this concept as applied to a morning ritual. He suggests stacking a set of habits inspired by the sum of what successful producers do with their morning. Specifically, he talks about linking top habits like journaling, reading, affirmations, and more into a supercharged morning routine that allows you to link good habits into one great routine.
5. Flip the script.
When you have a day that isn’t quite flowing or you’re having trouble getting a habit to come together like you want, apply a reset to flip the script. You have the right and the opportunity to reset whenever you choose. This means you can start your day, week, or month over, and refocus your attention on the habits that will drive your success. A reset button is our secret weapon against challenges that disrupt our plans, habits, and focus.
It doesn’t help to drive miles the wrong way at a high speed, or to try and drive with a flat tire. Schedule in breaks, and use these tactics, and you’ll make sure you’re moving fast—and in the right direction.
How We Can Help
At Rialto Academy, we’re pretty nutty about habits. Cultivating the right ones is the secret weapon to better personal and business productivity, not to mention a happier life. We offer a variety of coaching programs that help you build the habits that lead to more revenue—and get rid of the ones that stifle your progress.
Get in touch with us for a free assessment to see if we can help you on your growth journey.