By Kyra Thompson
Did you know that it takes 66 days to form a new habit?
This is what researcher Phillippa Lally and her colleagues found in a study that included 96 volunteers who chose an eating, drinking, or activity behavior to do for 12 weeks. Participants tracked their behavior each day and at the end of 66 days, it became a habit.
You may question whether habits are key to living a productive life. I can tell you from personal experience that adopting the habits listed below have changed my life for the better. For instance, if it wasn’t for making a to-do list every night before bed, I wouldn’t have achieved the goals I wanted to accomplish within a month.
Here are some good habits you can implement to live a more productive life:
1. Practice gratitude daily
“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” ~Rumi
By dedicating five minutes a day to practicing gratitude, it can improve your productivity. This is because gratitude allows you to show appreciation for the things you have, rather than what you don’t have in your life. The shift to a more positive mindset will make you feel more confident and capable of achieving your goals.
2. Make a to-do list
Creating a to-do list is essential to a productive life. It helps you avoid falling into the trap of multitasking, which is a major productivity killer. So before you go to bed or in the morning, make a list of tasks to complete. This allows you to see and carry-out your main priorities for the day.
3. Batch similar tasks together
According to Michael Hyatt, batching is a form of time management, which involves grouping similar tasks together, such as outlining, writing, and researching. By doing this, it allows you to increase your creativity and concentration levels throughout the day, both key to a productive life.
In addition, batching helps you avoid distractions since it doesn’t involve switching tasks constantly. A great tip is to take a fifteen-minute break before starting a new task.
4. Plan your next three months
Planning your next three months helps you to avoid procrastination and concentrate on your main priorities. This can involve scheduling doctor appointments, setting aside time for self-care, and adding review days (which I’ll talk about later).
Also, planning your next three months enables you to schedule time where you will be less productive, such as on birthdays and holidays. As a result, you can avoid these days, and use productive days to your advantage.
5. Complete the easiest tasks first
David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, said that completing the most manageable tasks first, such as checking emails and making flashcards, prepares you for success throughout the day.
This is especially useful if you are someone who starts your day off feeling tired. By doing the most manageable tasks first, you become energized from completing them, giving you the motivation to complete the harder ones on your to-do-list.
6. Review your day
Thomas Frank, the founder of CollegeInfoGeek.com, said that by setting aside one day dedicated to reviewing your work, you could have a more productive life.
A review day involves finishing tasks, clearing out your e-mail and digital folder, and creating a list of priorities, which you didn’t get started from last week. By doing this every week, you start the week with a clear mindset and view of what needs to be completed.
So with these key habits to living a productive life above, how do you create and maintain one? Here are some ways:
Choose one new habit at a time – It’s essential to stick with creating one new habit at a time. I had been that person who picked multiple new habits, but it only led to chaos. By sticking to one new habit, it allowed me to dedicate time to focus on perfecting that habit.
Choose an easy habit to perfect first – An easy trick is to pick a simple, productive habit first. This can be anything from having a phone detox for an hour, then increasing it bit by bit. You can introduce a reward system after you have completed the tasks. By completing the simple habits to perfect first, this will motivate you to develop more habits.
It’s okay to miss one day – Missing one day of a new habit will not affect your productivity since you can learn from this mistake. However, if you miss more than one day, it will affect your performance, resulting in having to start your 66 days again.
Add the habit into your schedule – If you don’t add your new habit into your schedule, then you are more likely to make excuses as to why you are not doing it. I have always made it clear in my diary or to-do-list to include my new habit. For example, my new habit was to plan my next day. Instead of leaving it to memory, I made sure that I added it to my evening routine.
Be clear on WHY you want to achieve the new habit – Once you have decided on your new habit, it’s essential to be clear about why you want to perfect it. Of course, you want to become a productive person but how exactly will the new habit benefit you? It doesn’t have to be anything complicated.
An example could be that you want to become consistent with completing your daily to-do-list. This may be because of wanting to achieve your goal of making your first $50 from your side hustle.
Your WHY can be anything that links to your productivity and how it will benefit you in the future.
Pick one habit from the list of six in this article. Use these tips on how to stick with the new habit. Once you have spent 66 days perfecting it, you’ll see a noticeable difference in your productivity.
Kyra Thompson is the founder of the Millennial Mindset and aims to help millennials to manifest the dream life they’ve always wanted, through sharing personal development and studying articles that will do just that.