One of the best ways I can recommend for managing your energy and focus is developing good habits around the things you want to achieve. Maybe there are some things you’d like to be doing or doing more often. Something that’s fallen by the wayside too many times, or something you haven’t started yet (even though you want to)? Or maybe you don’t feel focused or (more than) a little behind? It definitely happens to me. This is what I do to address it.
I’ve found that setting short, easily achievable daily habit goals are a good fix for this. By keeping them short and easy, you start the positive feedback loop and keep it sustainable. (It also allows you to give your full attention because the time is limited. I’ve found this to be a good catalyst for getting into a flow state.)
The Habit Loop
1. The Trigger
The prompt you use to begin the thing you want to make a habit out of. One of my triggers is logging into my computer in the morning and managing my Twitter account. Another example is getting out of bed immediately when my alarm goes off and making coffee in the morning. Prompts could also be signs or notes you leave yourself, visual cues, anything that brings your attention to the behavior you want to do.
2. The Routine
This is the actual doing of the habit. Typically, you want to do the routine you want to make a habit out of whenever your trigger prompts you (and it’s appropriate to do the routine).
3. The Reward
Reward yourself in some way every time you do the habit. This positive feedback really helps make the habit stick. It need not be a big reward or even something physical. Giving yourself ‘attaboys, reflecting on the positive changes you’re making, or doing something that makes you happy (like playing your favorite victory song) are more fulfilling and sustainable. I use these kinds of rewards on a daily basis and give myself a larger reward, like a new book or drawing pens, if I can reach certain milestones. This gives me something to work for, and purchases I make now are more meaningful because they’re usually something that relates to the habit.
So what does this look like in real life? I’ll share my daily habit goal as an example (and make it public to hold me accountable:).
For the next 30 days, spend 30 minutes on Twitter, reading, writing, and sketchnotes.
Trigger: Keeping Lift active on my dashboard as a prompt.
Routine: Manage my Twitter account in the morning; read after lunch; write after gym.
Reward: Cool-guy fist pump (always). After 30 days, upgrade Drafts app for Twitter, Sketchnote Workbook for reading, and get Desk for writing.
That’s 2 hours of scheduled time for laser focus which will help me reach my overall goals. I chose 30 minutes because I know that I, without a doubt, can commit at least that much amount of time to those areas. I want to set myself up for success to build upon these habits, so I make them very easy to obtain with plenty of room to grow. Remember that rewarding yourself is a very positive reinforcement, boosting your confidence and self-esteem.
You can track your time spent on each thing to hold yourself accountable to this habit goal. I think Lift is a great tool for easily doing this. After 30 days, reflect to see if you’ve built a strong habit and don’t forget to treat yo’self.
What habits do you want to develop? What goals could you set to develop them?