Eliminate those bad habits to make giant strides

Chewing food with your mouth open. Biting your nails. Sleeping with your phone under your pillow. These are the kinds of things that would probably pop into your mind if you were asked to name some bad habits. I do not drink enough water, and not only is that a bad habit as my mom would say, but could actually affect my health.

But what about the habits that really affect your business and productivity?

Over the years my entrepreneur friends and I were guilty of doing these things every day, not realising how they negatively affected our productivity. The great thing is that once you take notice, you can easily turn things around and enhance your productivity.

So have a look at a number of those bad habits that could be hindering your productivity.

Starting your morning in a rush.

Oh, how I love sleep. I sleep in on weekends. A few years back, I used to hit the snooze button so many times on my phone that I would wake up in a rush to get to the office. The thing is that when you do start your day like this, you are not giving your brain enough time to be calm, decompress and start with a positive mood. Here is what you should do. Train yourself to wake up 10 minutes earlier and then push that half an hour or an hour. Start your day with a guided meditation or some deep breathing exercises. I meditate in the morning and take extra time to prepare myself as I go to work. Doing so I became calmer, my mind is more at ease and I am less prone to making hasty decisions or being on the edge.

Starting with the easy stuff first.

If you are dreading a hard task or a project that you know will eat up much of your time, you might find yourself utilising your morning getting the easy things out of the way, and leaving the important or the big project to late afternoon.

Studies show that your concentration and willpower decrease as the day progresses. For example, a recent University of Chicago study found that schoolchildren in Los Angeles are more efficient in the morning than the afternoon .

So in a nutshell, your brain works better at tackling tasks that require concentration and focus first thing in the morning. As your day goes by, you can dedicate your late afternoons to answering emails and returning calls; basically tasks that do not require much focus. For myself, waking up extra early and reaching the office ahead of my colleagues gives me enough time to focus on big projects with no distractions. A great tip that can help you start is to write down the list of tasks you need to do the next day the night before. That way you can prioritise your tasks and know which ones you will dedicate your early morning to.

Constantly checking your social media feed.

Having social media applications downloaded on your phone has to be one of the most challenging things. You could find yourself addicted to checking your updates. I try as much as I can to do that on my breaks. I am proud to say that I am doing much better than before. One of my friends puts her phone on airplane mode so that she receives no notifications whatsoever, as she is immersed in an important task. She has a work number on a phone with no social media applications that work colleagues and clients can reach her on. I place mine further away from my desk, and I found that helps a lot.

Skipping or delaying breakfast.

Breakfast happens to be my favourite meal of the day, so part of my waking up early routine is so that I can indulge in my meal. However, many friends either delay or skip breakfast altogether, or opt only for coffee. Not only would skipping breakfast result in lower productivity because they have been fasting for the past seven hours, but opting for coffee means that the caffeine will give them a boost, but make them crash later. It is no substitute for food.

It is better late than never. Cut those habits if you are doing them, and watch how easily things turn around.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and entrepreneur based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai.


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