We all know what bad habits are like. Those annoying patterns of behavior that we fall into, feel enslaved to, and that seem to happen unconsciously.
But good habits … ah! They promote ease by taking away the second-guessing, the need to talk yourself into it, the requirement to put it on the “to do” list.
Like brushing your teeth. No need to put that on the day’s list of priorities; you just do it. Or calling home when you’re traveling. Or whatever you do that’s habitual and serves you by making the task a no-brainer.
I remember the conclusion of a meeting in a colleague’s office late on a Friday afternoon, when group members eagerly departed for their weekend activities. The office-holder, however, stayed behind and organized his desk.
It was his practice at the end of each day to file all loose papers, schedule outstanding tasks, and generally leave his desk in a condition that would help him feel good the next time he entered his office.
This was not something he had to remind himself to do. It was a habit—a good habit—that supported his efficiency and effectiveness at work.
Seeing his commitment, I thought of the condition of my desk—strewn with papers and unfinished projects. My (bad) habit at the end of the day was to leave the mess just as it was, only to start the next day already feeling behind in my work.
Since then, although haven’t achieved the efficiency of my colleague, I’ve developed the practice of leaving a clean work surface in the middle of my desk. That way, I start the next project with available space. Upcoming challenge—the clutter around the edges of the desk!
What habit could you cultivate that would bring greater ease into your work and your life?
To your ease!
Pat Daniel, Ph.D.