It’s very difficult to overstate the power of habits, both good and bad.
If you have habits of hard work and persistence, you’ll likely be productive and successful. If you have habits of sloth and capriciousness, you likely won’t.
To help you become more productive and successful in your work and your life, here are some habits you will do well to cultivate:
From the minute you’re born, you start to learn. If you’re interested in productivity and success, you keep learning for the rest of your life. This requires that you both actively seek new information and also stay open to information that just happens to come your way. Learning also requires that you evaluate all this new information and reject any that fails to make sense or accurately reflect reality.
Your opportunities for learning involve many different areas of importance, including:
- Your work and getting things done in general
- Your life, including feeling fulfilled and happy
- Goals, including setting and achieving good ones
- Relationships, developing and maintaining closeness with good people and also being a good person in other people’s lives.
There are many more. If you make learning a habit, you’ll always be discovering new and better information of value.
One of the attributes that make humans so powerful and life so satisfying is our ability to think and feel beneath what’s obvious. Unlike most other species, we can meet our survival needs and still have time and energy to spare. This allows us to do more than just act and react to the world around us.
We can cultivate the habit of thinking and feeling about what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and what we might do in the future.
This kind of thoughtful and emotional reflecting provides a reliable mechanism for you to gain the maximum benefit from past and present experiences, and to direct your efforts toward tasks, projects, and goals that are likely to bring you the most satisfaction and success.
Develop Your Talent, Skills and Knowledge
Unlike most species on this planet, humans spend a great many years after birth becoming fully grown. But while our physical capabilities definitely peak and begin to decline after just 20, 30, or 40 years, mental and emotional capabilities can continue to develop for much, much longer.
That’s why it’s important to cultivate the habit of continuous development. Whatever your strengths, you naturally want to expand and make full use of them. Whatever your weaknesses, you naturally want to identify and reduce or narrow them.
None of this will happen without a steady, conscious effort: the perfect arena for a beneficial habit you can cultivate.
No one has enough time to finish everything they need and want to do. That’s why priorities are essential. Unfortunately, many people let external forces set their priorities for them. For example they tend to work on whatever seems most urgent, or whatever wheel is squeakiest.
You’ll be far more productive and successful if you take a moment to consider what to work on next: What’s most important? What offers the biggest potential payback for your time and effort? What opportunity is most likely to disappear and never return if you don’t take immediate advantage of it?
But cultivating the habit of prioritizing your obligations and opportunities the way you want them sequenced, you’ll begin to make the most of the limited time you have available each day, week, month, and year.
Although every habit in this list is important, this one may be the most important. Why? Because it has the potential to impact each and every one of the others.
Following through on your efforts to learn, to reflect, to develop, and to prioritize will prevent you from backsliding away from your great intentions and missing out on the gains these habits can bring you.
What’s more, following-through on the habit of following-through will doubly ensure that you guide your efforts in the directions you really want them to go and take the fullest possible control over the future of your work and your life.
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