“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit” Aristotle
“You do not attract what you want. You attract what you are.” Wayne Dyer
Successful people have exactly, and I mean exactly, the same amount of time in a day as everyone else. We all get 24 hours. The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is in how they use those hours.
I am not talking about only get 2 hours sleep, in fact quite the opposite, successful people often brag about getting a a good 7-8 hours sleep, sometimes more.
Successful people have successful habits, unsuccessful people have habits that are keeping them from being successful.
Yes you may be thinking, I work super long hours, in fact I am always working, but so often I see people who work all day but never really work.
They get to work at 7.30, the first thing they do is check the news headlines, and read a few articles. Then they open their email, respond to a couple of those. Probably check facebook again (yes, again, because they have probably checked it 3 times on the way to work). By that time they are ready for a coffee break. They then get back to their desk, hit a few more emails. Then they dive into actual work, I am talking working on their business, after 3 minutes, their email DINGS, and they switch focus back to this and respond to another email.
Do you know that every time you get distracted it can take up to 20 minutes for your mind to really get back and focus on the task at hand. 20 minutes!!!!! That means if you set aside an hour to write an article and you get 3 emails in that time, your focus has barely been on writing the article and I bet its not finished. Or if it is, it won’t be of good quality.
This routine carries on all day. By the time you think about leaving you really haven’t accomplished anything, but you are wiped out and drained. This is not a good day.
So what are the successful habits we need to instill for our business and how do we do it?
Habits are often the easiest thing to do in any situation, think, get home from work and instead of going to the gym, you sit on sofa and watch tv. TV is just the easiest option at the time.
Habits are things the mind does without thinking about it. They are automatic, and takes no or little will power. You see will power has a limit, there is only so much the body can use. So the mind creates habits which do not drain the will power reserves.
And as I said before, often the mind just makes the easiest choice. This then becomes habit.
Here are a few habits that I recommend…
Turn off the email – only check it at certain times during the day.
Turn off all social media – again check it at certain points of the day.
I can hear the complaints already, “but Chris, I use email and facebook for my business all the time!” Great, but I bet 80% of the time you spend on facebook and email is not quality time.
How often do you get caught mindlessly browsing through your facebook feed?
How often do you just look up to see who has emailed you, not actually responding. Or responding immediately to every single email that comes in, when in actual fact you could check your emails and 2-3 points during the day and respond to all of them in one batch.
But how do you stop doing these things?
Make it difficult to do! Make the successful habit the easiest option, make the unsuccessful habit difficult to do.
Email → You have set 3 times during the day that you will check email.
Now close your email programme, turn off all notifications and sounds. In fact get rid of the Outlook button from your desktop. Set it so that you have to input your password and username every time you log in.
Same thing on your phone.
Phone → The average person checks their phone 110 times a day. Let’s assume you are asleep for 8 hours. That means on average people look at their phone around 7 times an hour!!
Remember every time you get distracted it’s 20 minutes to get back on task. Well if you check your phone 7 times an hour you have got no chance.
Set the same barriers, check your phone at certain times during the day, and set 30 minutes to respond to any calls etc.
Turn your phone off, or at least to silent. Stop all facebook, twitter, instagram notifications from pinging or coming up on your phone. Perhaps even delete the Facebook app altogether. Put your phone out of reach, on the other side of the room for example. If you leave it on the desk there is temptation just flick the screen on to see if anything is happening.
Calendar → Block your time out, ahead of time. Don’t get to a day and think, what am I doing today? That is not going to end well.
Time block your calendar, emails at this time, phone at this time, meetings at this time, project work at this time and so on. This will help keep you focused on what you are supposed to be doing and when.
Time Vampires → The “have you got a minute” people. In short, NO you don’t, it’s never just a minute, and even if their conversation is just a minute, how long does it take for you to get back focused on the task at hand….. 20 minutes.
Set time for speaking with your team, team meetings etc, and make sure they know when they can get hold of you ahead of time. It is not good for you or them to be available 24/7.
Have a look at your business, what are the things that are going to grow your business? Those are things you should be doing.
The question is, how can you make those things so easy to do that they become habit.
If it’s calling prospects, here is what I often see….
The person, thinks, I have got to call some prospects, in order to this they have to log on to their email, search through a whole bunch of emails, oh wait here is 3 new emails to respond to. Ok back on track, find the prospects, ah found one. Their phone number isn’t in the email, so log on to another system to find their phone number, got it. Now what did they want? Back to email. Wait, 1 more email just came in. Ok, where is the phone, it’s under a stack of papers. Found phone, now pick up phone and call prospect. Great! One prospect took you 35 minutes to pick up the phone and call.
I am wiped out just thinking about going through that process! If it takes 35 minutes to call one prospect, and you think you have at least 5 in your inbox somewhere to call, I bet you give up before even starting.
Now how about we make it easy…
You check you emails at certain times of the day, any prospects that come in you add to a spreadsheet, with all details.
You put the phone on your desk in clear view, with your new list of prospects to call, with their phone numbers and information. You have set time aside 30 minutes each morning and afternoon to call them that day.
Also, now that your email and Facebook etc is switched off it might just be that calling the prospects becomes the easiest thing to do.
Have a look at all the things you know you should be doing, and often the reason you don’t do it is because it’s just too hard, or there is an easier option.
Make the unsuccessful habits difficult to do, and make the successful habits easy to do
I would love to hear some other habits that you want to build, and ways that you have made them easy. Please leave a comment below and share with the community.