There are a lot of habits that are advised to be adapted if you want to succeed. It is equally important to get rid of the habits that will hinder your success a.k.a. bad habits.
The kind of habits you have, dictate the kind of life you live. The way you live your life has a huge effect on how you work, and it does not require a genius to figure out that how you work has a huge impact on your success.
Here are some of the habits that you need to get rid of, not only to work for your success but also to become a better version of yourself.
1. Checking Social Media first thing in the morning
After waking up, many people check their phones. This then leads them to scroll through the feeds of multiple social media channels. Precious morning hours that could have been used to work on yourself or your work are wasted.
Make a rule to not look at your phone until and unless you have completed your morning chores. If you want, you can go through your phone while you have breakfast, that way you will take your time to finish the meal, instead of rushing and forgetting breakfast altogether.
2. Watching TV especially Reality Shows
Watching TV is one of the most time-consuming forms of entertainment people engage in. One show leads to another and then another. Now we have Netflix that helps us fuel this addiction more by allowing us to binge watch complete shows.
While some shows can be helpful, reality shows aren’t. They are like junk food for our brain. We might enjoy seeing them, but they are going to have negative effects on us.
3. Not Reading Anything
Reading is a great tool for anyone thinking of learning anything. Reading is one of the important hobbies to take on. Most successful people find time to read. They also advise reading at least one book every week.
If you think reading books is a difficult thing and you can’t commit to reading an entire book, then read magazines in your field. Read articles online; blogs have great reads to offer. Most articles can be read under 5-minutes. Start with small articles and then gradually increase the length of the text. Eventually, you will be able to read a book.
Multitasking can be great but not many people are good at it. Your attention is divided among different tasks, not allowing you to finish even one. If you would really like to get things done, pick up a task, focus on it, get it done, and then move on to the next one.
When you are working in a browser, shut all the other tabs and use only the ones that are necessary for the task you are currently working on. All the clutter can overwhelm you, it is important not to lose focus.
Procrastination has become one of those popular terms that people consider as sort of quirky and relatable. They don’t feel bad or take it seriously, but it is a real issue. Procrastination can delay your success. If you can’t stop putting off important work, then you might as well accept the fact that you aren’t going to achieve the heights you would like to.
You can’t not work for something and expect it to happen. To stop procrastinating, you need to get rid of all the distractions. While working, keep your phone farther from you, answer only important phone calls. I keep my phone always on “Do Not Disturb” mode and it has done wonders for my productivity.
Follow the 2-minute rule. If something can be done within 2 minutes, do it immediately. This stops tiny tasks from accumulating and also gives you a sense of accomplishment.
6. Not Budgeting
Whether you have a job or run your own business, budgeting is really important. You can’t only live in the now with your money and have no safety net to fall back on.
“Don’t save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving.”
At the beginning of your career, it is easy to get lost in a spending spree because you earn now. But, take a step back. What if there was an emergency one day and you needed money. You won’t have any because you spent it all.
You don’t need to spend every penny, neither do you need to save every penny. If you don’t know how to do it, then the 50-30-20 rule is a good one to start with and follow. This rule tells you to put 50% of your after-tax income for necessities like bills, housing, food, etc. 20% goes to your financial goals, that is, saving. Finally, the remaining 30% can be spent on wants, like dining, entertainment, etc.
I would also advise to save and keep aside at least 6 months of living expenses so that if you lose your job or source of income, you will have enough cushion to fall back on.
7. Not Investing
While saving is important, you can’t neglect investing. If you are following the 50-30-20 rule and saving 20% of your income, have you ever thought about what to do with the 20%. In today’s time keeping your money in the bank just doesn’t cut it. There are many investment options. Buying real estate, gold, stocks, bonds etc are just a few of the many ways to invest.
Let your money make more money for you. If you want to retire early or not slave away every day, then investing smartly can be of huge help. One of the best things to invest in is yourself. If you invest in learning and training, it pays huge dividends. It enables you to start a business which then allows you to make money even when you are sleeping.
8. Not Punctual
Punctuality is one of the very important traits of people who get things done. Nobody likes tardiness. If you are not punctual, chances are, people are going to stop taking you seriously.
If you are always an hour or two late to every meeting, every deadline, then you are making a bad impression. People like working with people they can rely upon. Someone who misses every deadline and has no value to their word, is not the person people want to work with.
If you run your own business, this can have a very adverse effect because relations with clients can bring you more business. If the word about your unprofessionalism spreads then your business will take the hit.
9. Getting Too Comfortable
Being too comfortable in the position you have is good but you need to always have some sort of ambition, to rise from your current position. Consider getting too comfortable with your situation as still water. Still water eventually gets stagnant.
It can stump your growth, stop you from reaching the heights of success. Which is why, it is important to always think about what next and then aim for it. It gives you a sense of purpose and the required push to go to the next step.
10. Complaining Too Much
Nobody likes hanging out with negative people. Certain things piss everyone off, but if you spend a lot of time and energy gloating about things that upset you, you are going to push people away.
Quick sessions of complaining when everyone complains can be fun, knowing when to stop is the key. People lose interest in you and what you have to say if you keep complaining. No one likes surrounding themselves with negative people.
Stop spending time thinking about things you cannot change. If there is something you don’t like, then instead of complaining, there are two sensible ways to go about it. One- if you can’t change it, then stop thinking about it and go on with your work. Two- if you can change it, then work on changing it. In either case, there is no room for complaints.
11. Not Making Eye Contact and Poor Body Language
Not making eye contact portrays a low level of confidence. When I was in college, there was a guy who didn’t make eye contact. The problem was that his line of sight was a person’s chest. It wasn’t an issue when he talked to guys but when he talked to girls it was a whole other scenario.
If you have a problem making and holding eye contact, then you can look at the person’s forehead or their nose, keep the height difference in mind. A short person looking at someone’s forehead is a very easy giveaway. Look just past their heads or ears, that way you are making eye contact with them through your peripheral vision while not getting uncomfortable yourself.
Slowly, you will find that you can now talk while maintaining eye contact. Same goes for body language. The way you hold yourself gives off the aura about the kind of person you are. This is why you are always advised to keep your back straight; it portrays confidence and authority.
12. Skipping Meals
I know how easy it is to get lost in your work and skip meals. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Start by not missing your breakfast. You will start the day with the needed energy, and even if you have a late lunch, your body won’t suffer much. When you have a late lunch or skip lunch with no breakfast to support your body, you start feeling weak.
Recently, I was skipping too many meals because I was busy. It eventually caught up. My sugar level was low. I started blacking out, my whole body started feeling too light and tingly. I had to sit down and eat a few bites, drink something for it to subside.
Is it worth it? Is feeling like this just to get a lot of work done, worth it? No, it definitely isn’t. Making your health suffer in the name of being busy is one of the stupidest decisions you can make.
A healthy body is going to work more, so instead of burning yourself out, try keeping a pace that doesn’t affect you in the long run. Take care of your body, eat proper meals at proper times.
13. Not Exercising
Like eating proper meals, exercising is essential. When your body is in good condition, you can work all you want. When it is not, you spend a lot of time and money to make it better.
Instead of letting it get to that, start exercising. Start with small changes in your routine. Go for a quick walk after lunch and dinner. Do yoga in the morning, meditate before going to bed or in the morning.
Start small and as you start getting comfortable with the routine, increase your pace. A sound body and a sound mind is the key to success.
14. Not Trying New Things
Remember when we were kids, curiosity made us try so many different things. As we age, we stop trying new things. New experiences teach us a lot. They help us learn about ourselves. We find new hobbies, and we learn something that we wouldn’t have.
Learning new stuff challenges our minds. You might discover how much more you can do than you are doing right at this moment.
Curiosity is an important asset to learning. Never stop learning and never stop experiencing new things. In the end, our experiences are what make us.
15. Not Having Fun
The way to get success isn’t working 24×7, it is finding the balance between work and self. Only working can tire your brain, burn out your mind, and put you in a rut. Getting out once in a while doesn’t mean that you are not serious about your future. It means you care enough to give yourself a break.
Let loose, go out for that drink you have been saying no to, go out for the movie you have been waiting to watch, catch up with your friends, spend time with your family. In short, have fun!
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
The changes we make in our daily routines, our habits, have the power to change the narrative of our lives. They directly contribute to the outcome of the work we do. It is crucial to recognize the areas we need to work on and then find ways to make it right.
“The most important investment you make is in yourself.”
Why Should You Stop Being Hard on Yourself
Growing up, we are often subjected to comparisons drawn by adults. You are always in competition with children in your society, children in your school, children in your parent’s friend circle, and so on. Eventually, you start comparing yourself to everyone else as well.
This becomes a subconscious habit that can be really detrimental to your mental health. Constantly making comparisons puts undue stress on ourselves in addition to the amount we already have from work and life in general.
We get so caught up in proving ourselves that we often forget to give ourselves credit for the things that we have done and milestones we have achieved. There comes the point when we have had enough, and we start losing motivation; as a result, we start spiraling.
When people say “life is too short,” what they mean is that it is too short to spend trying to impress others. The years you have should be spent on doing things you like and learning stuff that you want to. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone, and you don’t need to be better than anyone. The only person you should be in competition with is your past self. Aim on being better than yourself, that’s it.
It is Okay to be Yourself
One thing we are never told is that it is okay to be ourselves. We often try too hard to be like someone else, to impress others, to make our families proud, but the price we pay is too high. We lose ourselves in the process. Sooner or later, it catches up to us, and we start feeling unsatisfied with our lives, no matter how great it is.
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Our peace of mind and state of health is not worth compromising, our happiness is not worth giving up, our motivation is not worth losing; be yourself, that is who you can be the best version of.
It is Okay to Put Yourself First
Every person has their own strengths and weaknesses – no person is the same. No one is perfect, even if they seem like they are. What meets the eye is just the tip of the iceberg. If they seem insanely good at something, chances are they have sacrificed something else in their life to get to where they are.
“Faithless To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you want to learn something and master something, then it is okay to say “no” to other people. It is okay to put yourself first. Doesn’t matter if it is for you to focus on your craft or your mental health. At the end of the day, if you don’t value yourself enough to put yourself first, why would someone else?
It is Okay to Make Mistakes
Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes, embarrassments, and having negative thoughts when things don’t go your way. It is natural to feel beaten up when you face failure or make mistakes. All of these things, though, contribute to the uniqueness of your character. The moment you start being yourself, you will start noticing that a lot of people are like you, lost and isolated in the big world – thinking about things they could have done differently.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou
You have to learn to make the most of what you have already achieved and build on the lessons that you learned because of those mistakes and failures. People are afraid to try new things because they are afraid to fail in front of someone else. But, if you do not take those leaps, then you will never reach where you want to be. One thing to remember is that when things go wrong, it is US who have to face the brunt of it, not THEM, so do things and make mistakes with only you in mind.
It is Okay to Have Bad Days
We feel success is when we do not have problems and are always happy. It cannot be farther from the truth. No matter how much you earn or how successful you are, life will also be a sequence of ups and downs because, without downs, there are no ups.
“Some days are just bad days, that’s all. You have to experience sadness to know happiness, and I remind myself that not every day is going to be a good day, that’s just the way it is.” – Dita Von Tesse
Without experiencing bad days, you won’t be able to appreciate the good days. Bad days also make us who we are, more than the good days ever will. We learn and grow from them. Remember, if it is a really bad one today, you do not have to do today again. Tomorrow brings a new day and new opportunities.
It is Okay to be Less Than Perfect
This is the one area that I have struggled with the most. The need to be perfect has been ingrained in us since childhood. Being compared to children who were good in other areas always made us feel inadequate. Some children learned to cancel the noise, while some couldn’t take it. It became a part of them, eating them out with every passing day. When thoughts like these are ingrained in you, no matter what you do, you will never feel satisfied.
“People are not perfect… very often the relationships that are strongest are those where people have worked through big crises, but they’ve had to work through them. So the challenge to us is to work through that.” – Patricia Hewitt
You have to learn to be okay with not being perfect in every single thing. It is okay to strive for perfection, but do not make that your goal. Your goal should be learning and achieving. That is what makes the process perfect.
Life already throws a lot of curveballs at us. We do not need to add ourselves to the mix. Be your own cheerleader, and go easy on yourself from time to time. Understand that not all days are going to be the same. You are going to achieve a lot one day and nothing the other day. On the days when nothing seems to be going your way, remember to be kind to yourselves.
Keep reminding yourself that it is okay to do things for yourself, and it is okay to stop for a moment and gather your wits. Take care of your wellbeing, and everything else will follow.
How to Prioritize When Everything Seems Important
Prioritization is the key to achieving your goals. It helps you focus on what is important. While talking about how to prioritize your tasks to help you achieve all your goals, I briefly touched what you should do if everything seems like a priority –
If you find yourself with more than three top priorities, then that’s a problem. It means you haven’t figured out what tasks are more important. Figure out which ones can wait until later. If all of the tasks are of same nature making them equally important, then that means you need to cut out some tasks, you might have taken on more than you can handle.
Having a laser-like focus on only a handful of things is essential here so that you can have only the tasks that matter the most on your list.
Most of us struggle with this. Prioritizing is not easy if you don’t know how to differentiate actual priority from the task that seems like one. Even if everything on your plate is supposed to be equally important, you will still need to find a way to break down which ones you should be spending your time on.
How we slice up our time and what we dedicate our time to often dictates what direction our life is going to take. The first question one has to get past is whether or not everything really is of equal importance – when you start questioning is when you will start looking for ways to deal with the problem the question possesses.
Dealing with Conflicting Priorities
When you are trying to deal with your personal and professional life at the same time, the tasks together can become more daunting. We face multiple demands on our time every day because of that.
In the professional scene, often the tasks that are urgent override the schedule, resulting in loss of control and inattention to priority tasks. So how should priorities be determined?
To begin with, ask questions.
Let’s take an example. Suppose you are in your office. You have a project that needs to be done today. A colleague comes by and asks you to help with something that is also urgent and needs to be done by the afternoon. Now, you didn’t say “no” because that might be rude. You have an urgent task that is not your priority and you have your own project that is a priority but not as urgent as this other task.
Ask questions to yourself –
- Is taking this additional work going to affect your workflow?
- Do you want to do this?
- Is this stressing you out or causing you anxiety?
- Are you stretching yourself too thin trying to be helpful?
- Can this work be done by someone else?
If the answer to even of these questions is “Yes” then we move on to the next part, that is, learning to drop the task because it is not a priority.
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good’.”
What Do You Do? The Art of Saying “No”
Everyone considers their project to be the most important and wants information or action immediately, they won’t always be considerate of your work. All most people care about is getting their work done. If you have trouble saying “no” chances are that your work will keep suffering. How to deal with this?
Even though you feel bad about not being able to help your colleague, it is okay. You have to put your work first. Of course, special circumstances do demand changing your priorities but most often than not saying “no” will immediately put the dilemma to rest.
If multiple people are involved in your project, find out where your piece fits into the overall project. Taking charge of your space and your time will allow you to focus on what is important, meet deadlines and minimize job and personal stress, this starts with learning to say “no.”
Why Writing Down Your Tasks Help
We have a scientific term to explain why writing down goals helps. It is called the generation effect. What it basically means is that you remember information more when you have generated it with your own mind than when you have read it. There’s no one specific answer to why it happens but a lot of studies have been conducted on it, and this phenomenon is used in quite a few things.
You must have heard people say “Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” You can dream or talk about it all you want, but until you write it down on a piece of paper, it remains a half-hearted attempt – nothing more than a wish.
Another thing and an important one at that, is encoding. Our memory has the ability to encode, store, and recall information. By writing your goals down, you are storing it externally by putting it on paper. Now, by visiting it again and again, we are encoding it into our brains. There are few intensively used types of encoding. Two types are at work here, Visual encoding and Elaborative encoding. I have discussed all of this in detail when I talked about why writing down goals can help you achieve them faster.
Basically how it works is that we write something and that can be visual encoding, looking at that, again and again, evokes the feelings associated with that task, the reason of it, if you may. That is elaborative encoding, this is how priority kicks in. The elaborative part helps us associate reasons behind the task and the consequences associated with it, and in turn, its correlation with our ultimate goals.
This eventually helps us only pick out priority labeled tasks to make us more productive and efficient.
Spending Your Time Right
Most people generally panic when they have to tackle their tasks by priority because everything feels important. When everything looks like a priority, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. It is difficult to skillfully juggle multiple priorities and competing responsibilities at the same time. There are times when you have to manage the workload at the office as well as home.
What we often fail to keep in mind when handling multiple activities is to prioritize them according to their importance. Many people just try to handle various activities as per their instinct and end up never doing the important things. Later, they might blame it on ‘not having enough time’, which obviously is untrue. You have enough time, you just have to start spending it right.
If you don’t know what your priority is, you will never have enough time to get your work done. As Laura Vanderkam says, “Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.”
Prioritizing your to-do list is very simple if you learn to differentiate between your actual priority and what feels like a priority. Learning to say “no” to whatever is hindering your chances of success is the next big thing. If you learn these two things, you are pretty much sorted. All there is left to do is employ strategies to actually get the work done.
5 Non-Negotiable Things You Need to Do Before Your Bedtime
What you do before going to bed can help you end the day on a positive note even if it wasn’t a particularly positive day, and will also help you set the tone for the next day. The activities you do also help you to immediately fall asleep without lying in bed tossing and turning.
If you have had a good night’s sleep, most of your health problems will go away. The problem with the start-up and entrepreneurial culture is that we try to work as much as we can by sacrificing everything – food, sleep, fun, and eventually health.
“A well-formulated nighttime routine will help you wind down and sleep better.”
Good sleep helps you start your next day well-rested, bright, fresh and stress-free. If you have been trying to wake up early, the first step is to go to bed early to get in a full sleep cycle.
If having a morning routine is important to take care of yourself and make the most of your day, so is having a night routine. What you do at night helps you wrap your day up feeling satisfied and that helps you fall asleep better which then helps you wake up feeling energized and motivated.
A well-rested body and a well-rested mind will help you achieve a lot more than working 24-hours non-stop and this is why you should always do these things before you turn in for the night.
1. Express Gratitude
Expressing gratitude is an activity that is becoming more and more popular with the millennials. With fast-paced lives, always running to get somewhere or get something done – we have forgotten to stop and appreciate the little things in our lives.
In the race for getting what we want, we fail to show gratitude for the things we have. Being appreciative of what you have achieved, what you have, people you love and who love you can fill you with joy and optimism. An optimistic approach toward things helps you move forward with a renewed vigour and helps you lead a better life.
“When I’m worried and cannot sleep I count my blessings instead of sheep.”
You shouldn’t only be appreciative of external factors, you need to acknowledge and motivate yourself too. While I suggest giving yourself positive affirmations every morning, acknowledging your achievements for the day when you are about to go to bed will help you feel better about yourself and will help you curb the always rising self-doubt.
There are gratitude journals that give you prompts about things to write or you can write three things you are thankful for each day.
2. Set Goals for the Next Day
I have talked in detail about why you should prepare your to-do lists in the night, but here’s the gist. At the end of the day, you know what you have achieved and what remains. This gives you a chance to revise the list and make a new game plan for the next day.
When you make a list at night, you can spend your time in the morning focusing on yourself rather than working out a schedule for your day. You will wake up with a schedule and a sense of direction. Mornings should anyway be dedicated to your health and well-being.
3. Read for 45 Minutes to 1 Hour
If you want to learn about anything, read.
If you want to grow, read.
If you want to polish your skills, read.
If you want to sharpen your mind, read.
I have always loved reading and keep looking for ways to read more because there is so much to read and I never feel like I have enough time to read them all. Only reading isn’t important, comprehending what you read is as important, especially if you are reading non-fiction.
Reading isn’t limited to only books – with the internet comes a ton of reading material to choose from. With successful people telling the world what they read and with them sharing their reading habits, everyone trying to make it as an entrepreneur has started to pick up more books, which is a good thing.
If you can’t find time to read during the day, then allot 45 minutes to an hour before your bedtime to reading. This will make sure that you have a schedule and help you get some reading done every day.
Meditating is one of the easiest ways to get in touch with your inner self. It lets you spend time with your own thoughts and emotions. When you focus on your inner self, you give yourselves the opportunity to take time out to sort your thoughts and acknowledge your emotions. You don’t keep pushing things that are bothering you and you don’t file unacknowledged emotions to the back of your mind to crop up later.
“Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.”
You start becoming more aware of your emotional and mental health and learn to let go of things that might have bothered you throughout the day. It also helps you become more focused and improves your concentration. It helps you feel in control of your life and yourself.
5. Go on a Walk
Walks are a great way to sort your thoughts while getting some exercise in. Going on walks after dinner helps with digestion and because your body gets worked up a little it always helps you sleep better.
Talking an evening walk or an after-dinner walk is one of the most common routines that people share – spending time in nature, getting some fresh air, working the food down, and getting some exercise are few of the many reasons.
Bonus: Set Your Alarm
This is an obvious one. But, I would suggest revising your alarms every few days. Waking at the same time if you recently have started needing to put in more hours at work just doesn’t make sense. Your body won’t be getting the full rest it needs.
“Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Yes, waking up early is important, but what is more important is getting complete rest. If you need to wake up late then, by all means, change your alarm to a later hour.
Having a setlist of non-negotiable things you need to do before going to bed helps you be mindful of what energy you carry with yourself to sleep. Try going to bed pissed at things and try going to bed feeling peaceful – you will feel the difference in how long it takes to fall asleep, in the thoughts that enter your mind, and in the quality of sleep you get.
And of course, don’t forget to brush and floss and wash your face!
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