5 Small Habits for 2021

By: Chelsy Swackhamer 

Who would’ve thought that 2020 would finally be coming to an end? This has been one crazy year filled with many highs and lows. It has been a year that has forced us outside of our comfort zone and made us think differently about how we go about our daily lives and tasks. 

The way we work has changed immensely over this year. When companies started switching to remote work, many of us weren’t prepared.  It was challenging finding the right routine to maximize our productivity while having a million distractions at home. Now with a new year starting, it's important to create new routines and new habits. 

2021 - The year of small habits

The habits we create don't have to be big, dramatic, mind-blowing habits. Small habits can make a huge impact on the way we work. However, it takes real time and effort in creating or changing your habits. Our habits should be something so ingrained in us, that it naturally just becomes routine to do them. 

This won't happen over night. According to a study done by the European Journal of Social Psychology, it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to turn a habit into a routine. 

Finding ways to simplify your working day is a great way to eliminate distractions and boost productivity. 

We can't always be productive.  

Distractions kill our productivity. When distracted it can take an average of 23 minutes to regain focus. With the average amount of interruptions being 56 during the workday. A study done by Vouchercloud found that we are only productive for roughly 3 hours of an 8-hour workday. We’ll give you a second to let that sink it. In Jim Lehr's book, The Power of Full Engagement, he discusses how our brains can move from full focus to fatigue in just 90 minutes. Based off this philosophy we should be taking breaks every 90 minutes to allow ourselves an opportunity to regain focus and energize. 

You can't be productive 100% of the workday, and that's okay.  In today’s fast-paced world there are distractions everywhere. The biggest thing is to limit those distractions and set yourself up for a productive day. This is why we created a list of 5 daily habits to implement in 2021.

Write down 3 things to accomplish

Every morning when you get into work, write down three things you need to accomplish. It doesn’t matter how big or how small. Writing them down will help you to visualize your day. 

Always start with the hardest task

Our morning is our most productive time. It’s best to start with your most difficult or lengthy task first thing in the morning.

Take 2 microbreaks

What are microbreaks? Microbreaks are short breaks lasting anywhere from 30 seconds – 5 minutes. You should take one in the morning before lunch and one after lunch.

When you take a break, try to avoid sitting back on your phone or play on Instagram. Get up and stretch your legs. Walk to fill up your water bottle, or maybe you can visit a colleague.

Three-minute rule.

How often do you forget to do an easy task like respond to an email, edit a document, or make a quick call because you think, “oh, I’ll do this in a bit,” but then you never do it? That’s why we use a 3-minute rule. If a task will take you 3 minutes or less, DO IT IMMEDIATELY. Stop whatever you’re in the middle of and get that task done.   

Prepare for tomorrow.

Spend the last 10 minutes of your day preparing for tomorrow. Start by cleaning up your working area. Coming to work with a clean space sets the tone for a positive and productive day. 

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