Leo Babuta writes one of the most popular blogs on the plaent. And, in his simple, powerful and easy to read book The Power of Less suggests some power habits to start with (the ebook is free so you have no excuses not to grab it!) Plus, I add my comments:
Make Your Life Easier
- Set your Most Important Tasks (MITs) each morning – This is big for me. I tend to skip this. I’ve added this to step 6.
- One Thing – work on one task and don’t switch to others – This one is the biggest of all for me. I tend to bounce between activities rather than hanging in there and finish what I’ve doing. I am learning though. I just need to keep reminding myself that this is my new rule. One practice I’ve developed is when I start a new activity I say to myself, “I am going to stay at this until I finish it.”
- Process your in-box to empty – when I started this power habit I had over 12000 unread emails in my Gmail account. Yep, 12000! It’s now under 4000. I’ve been deleting at least 100 every day. Slowly and steadily pegging this back! And, this is the nature of habits… Just take one step at a time… Remember, habits are about consistency, repetition and practice.
- Check email just twice a day – I sort of half do this one. I definitely check my email more than twice a day. However, I usually only respond if once or twice a day. A little more work needed on this one.
- Exercise 5-10 minutes a day – Leo’s suggestion here is to start small and build up. I do a minimum of this everyday. And, at least 4 days a week I walk for 90 minutes. And, on other days I like to add 15-30 minutes. This power habit I’ve got nailed!
- Work while disconnected, no distractions – I presume he means disconnected from the internet. I do this whilst out of my home-office where I have to manually set up my phone to be online.
- Follow a morning routine – This is a biggy! When I get off to a good start in the morning the rest of the day seems to be smooth, cruisy and easy. That’s why this is a power habit! My routine consists of meditation, yoga, food, setting my MITs and writing for one hour. My big rule is to not look at the news or email before I write. After that it’s fair game.
- Eat more fruit and veggies every day – As per most habits, putting a count and a measure against things makes a difference. Start counting how many fruit and vegetables you have. Then record your results to quantify the improvement. A simple scoreboard on the fridge with a whiteboard, chalkboard or pen and paper works well.
- Keep your desk uncluttered – I find clutter is a great way to observe how I’m feeling. If there’s lots of clutter then I’m off my game. If it’s all clean, then I’m firing. And, given I’m at my desk for hours a day, this is a pretty obvious place to start. The key is to be a samurai warrior and treat your desk as a sacred place. I have two key activities for making this happen: One clean up at the end of the day. Two, habits to keep it clear during the day.
- Say no to commitments and requests that aren’t on your project list – The rather obvious thing here is that you need a project list as a clear reference point to decide what to say ‘yes’ to and what to say ‘no’ to. And, having this on display is important too. This is a power habit for anyone wanting to be super productive!
- De-clutter your house for 15 minutes a day – I love this one! I started with my bookshelf and took out 10 books a day. Then, I raided my clothes, my pantry, my bathroom… Now, I often walk through my house and notice something I don’t need and pick it up and put in my trash, recycle, op-shop or sell on eBay. This is a slow-burn power habit. At first you might not notice the impact, then it slowly builds and builds…
- Stick to a five-sentence limit for emails – Sometimes I stick to this and sometimes I don’t. It really depends on what I’m responding to.
What works for you?
- Which ones of these power habits work for you?
- Do you have any other power habits you’d like to add to this list?