According to Freud’s iceberg theory 95% of what we do each day is subconscious aka a habit. Putting this into a work context, if we’re only present 5% of the time during the day how are ensuring that we’re putting our all into work?
They say it takes 3 months to break a habit. 3 months. That’s a long time, but there are some habits which can be changed more quickly. Now most people will think I’m referring to things like biting nails or smoking and whilst these are habits that should be broken, they are not detrimental to your career.
The bad habits I’m referring to are things like checking your phone in meetings, not tuning in to a conversation as you are distracted, turning up for work 5 minutes before your first meeting with coffee spilt on your top… the later isn’t necessarily a habit in itself but it’s usually the result of a bad morning routine aka habit. These habits are easy to fix and by doing so it will do you a lot justice in the long run.
I’ve found the best way to break a habit is my making a new one, this of course should be more positive than the original. For example, if you wanted to be in work 15 mins earlier than you currently are something has to give in your morning routine. For me, lateness was always down to not getting up on time. My alarm would go off at 7:30 and I’d snooze it until 8 – this being the absolute latest I can get out of bed and into work relatively on-time. To change this, I now set my alarm in the living room meaning I have to get out of bed and leave the room to turn it off. Once I’m up I get straight into the shower and from that point there’s no turning back to bed. Initially I’d curse myself for doing this, but now, 6 months in, I’m used to it. It means I’m in work with around 15 mins to spare so I can read emails and grab a coffee before the 9am meetings start.
I think everyone can do with some time away from our phones, this is a habit we should all try to snap out of! Try leaving your mobile on your desk when you have a short meeting or pop out for lunch. Understandably this doesn’t always work, but when you can give it a go! I left my phone at home once all day… (eek I know!) and it was totally liberating. In saying that I didn’t turn up to my meetings on time or at the right venue (oops), but I was free from being “always on” and I have to say, much more engaged in conversations that were happening in front of me rather than on a tiny screen.
Switching out some of your bad habits or shifting your routines slightly really can help you use more of that conscious brain than subconscious, which can only lead to clearer thinking, better ideas and solutions and all round is very rewarding. Give it a go, try breaking a few habits today.
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