Habit Forming

Time Saving Tips: Which Work Habits Are Important In Managing Time?

Are you a creature of habit? Whether you want to admit it or not, everyone is.  According to behavioral scientists, we run our lives the majority of the time on autopilot. We all get into a routine of doing the same things, the same way, day in and day out.

Most of us associate habits with those bad behaviors that we all (unless you’re a saint) need to change. Not all habits, though, are bad. We make our lives more productive and prosperous, when we develop a few good habits.

Developing good habits, or breaking the bad ones, takes commitment and consistent effort. The process also requires that you do some soul-searching. In doing this self-evaluation, you need to evaluate your behavior and decide which old habits you want to keep, which you want to break, along with which new habits that you want to form.

If you take the time to go through this exercise, make a written list of these habits. Then get to work on making these changes in your behavior.

Changing habits may not be as hard as you may think, if you take on the task one day at a time. Repetition is the key. In sports, athletes repetitively perform an activity, such as a golf swing, over and over again until it becomes second nature. If the actively is performed perfectly in practice, game-time performance is quite often perfect.  Of course, if you perform an activity incorrectly repeatedly, the result is a bad habit.

The difference between winning and losing is often a matter of which player devoted more time in developing good behavioral habits. The same holds true in business.

Recovering alcoholics use repetition to break their addiction to alcohol.  Their key to recovery is staying sober and developing good habits as a substitute for drinking for a 28 day period.

Why repeating an activity for 28 or 30 days in a row is critical in forming a habit is beyond me. I just know that it works. If you don’t believe me give it a try.  Daily repetition of an activity for thirty days is an easy and surefire way to make good business behavior habit forming.  And it’s a sure way to improve your odds at being successful.

Good Work Habits to Develop

In the late 1970s, I worked for a general contractor as a construction manager.  At any one time, I scheduled the work for 10 to 20 commercial and residential building projects. Working in a job that involved planning and scheduling a myriad of activities and having to deal daily with dozens of distractions forced me to adopt work habits that are still part of daily ritual.  These habits include:

  •        Get started early.  Getting to work before anyone else does will give you the quite time to organize your day and make progress on those special projects that require concentration.
  •       Plan your day.  Before the distracting phone calls start, review your daily things to do list and prioritize your activities.  The operative word is “prioritize”. At the top of your list should be those activities that will help you achieve your most important professional goals. In business you should ask yourself: what can I turn into cash? At the bottom of your list should be busy work. These are the activities that are not critical to the success of your business, and are not urgent.
  •     Act on your list of priorities. After you prioritize your list and determine what’s most important, do the toughest task first. That way, you won’t be distracted wasting time doing the unimportant tasks.


Establishing good work habits is important in managing your time. In a matter of a couple of hours, you can learn the principles of any time management system.  That’s the easy part.  The difficult part is to take action and put all of those techniques into practice.

The key words are “take action” and “practice”.  It does you no good to read a great idea and not do anything about. So if you learn something new, do something about it. And if you want to make these behaviors a regular part of your life, practice these behaviors daily. To turn these behaviors into habits, you have to practice them every single day, without fail, for at least a month. After that, the behavior will be part of your routine.