Face it: Better Productivity Requires Commitment

BY Tim Londergan
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I regret to inform you there are no secrets, tips, tricks, hacks, potions, or magic spells for better productivity. Believe me, I’ve looked. Thoroughly. I’ve researched this topic for fresh tips to hand you. Confidently, I combed through articles, blogs, books, podcasts, and papers to find that one shortcut to forming better habits. Optimistically, I sought that reliable informant who would provide the easy, relaxed solution to help all of us be better at getting things done. Sorry, it’s not happening.

You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine” – John C. Maxwell

Better productivity requires commitment, consistency and patience

Good habits don’t form themselves. Regrettably, positive change doesn’t materialize just because we want it to. Sure, urgent work gets done, and we whittle down our to-​do lists, but how can we maintain a level of output that will endure and give us that competitive edge?

The International Association of Applied Psychology states that 54% of people who resolve to change their ways fail to make the transformation last beyond six months. Further, the average person makes the same resolution 10 times over without success. “Knowing what to do is not an issue, committing to it is the problem. Many of us lack the proper structures to support the behavioral changes our life goals require.” Making significant and long-​lasting changes in life depends on your ability to perform new activities consistently enough that they become habitual.

Many of your daily actions are automatic

Habits control our lives. Largely, our routines and behaviors determine who we are and what we do. Therefore, when we strive for better productivity, we should have a strategy that drives us to this goal. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, explains that habits consist of a simple but powerful three-​step loop.

  1. Cue” – This trigger sends your brain into automatic mode and reaches for which habit to engage.
  2. Routine” – Following the cue, this is the mental, emotional or physical response to the stimulus.
  3. Reward” – Finally, this helps your brain to determine whether this loop is worth remembering.

To change old habits, you can replace the routine and look forward to the same reward. Alternatively, you can establish new habits by following the loop analogy as a guide.

Habits, attitudes and desires support your life goals

The late Jim Rohn once said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” He was an advocate of self-​discipline and personal development. Additionally, he believed that “everything of value requires care and attention.” Therefore, you must understand the discipline of better productivity will only be reached with equal parts enthusiasm and commitment. Once achieved, let the reward of productivity launch the motivation to repeat.

Ride the motivational wave – and bring others along

The beauty of good habits is that they perpetuate themselves. For instance, when your habits yield success, you have an intense feeling of reward. In turn, the reward motivates you to continue the process and repeat. Increasingly, these activities can lead us to share our success and bring others into the fold. Happily, when we partner with others, we add an element of accountability. The extra support and motivation we receive from our tribe can help us sustain these positive actions through tough times.

This new world of work presents challenges and opportunities yet undiscovered. Preparing today for better productivity and authentic human connection will give you the competitive edge going forward.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash