Habits are simply behaviours that you do automatically. You don’t have to think too much about them, you just do them. Brushing your teeth after breakfast and setting the alarm before bed are good examples of habits.
Habits help you save time because they make it easier to do things. Autopilot kicks in.
There’s good habits and there’s bad habits. Reaching for a sweet treat after dinner every night probably isn’t very healthy. A walk every morning is.
But habits can be very hard to change. Behavioural scientist B.J. Fogg has completed studies and found that only three things change behaviour:
1. Epiphany – e.g. you quit smoking because of a health scare
2. Changing environment – e.g. you move towns and have to find a new barista
3. Small changes over time – e.g. you get up five minutes earlier every day and after 12 weeks you’re getting up an hour earlier
If you want to make changes in your life, like start exercising, or getting into a good routine with your bank reconciliation, you need three things according to Fogg.
• Motivation – the change has to be important to you
• Ability to actually achieve it, which might mean you need to aim a bit lower to start with
• Triggers, or anchors, to help remind you to do the new behaviour.
For example, if you want to drink more water then you could make it a habit to drink a full glass of water every time you go to the kitchen to make a coffee. Not only is the new behaviour tied to an activity you already do, you get a reward, a coffee, after you’ve done the new thing.
Here are some examples of how you can build good habits to save you time in your business:
– Do your filing every week straight after you do the payroll. By batching similar tasks you will save time and by linking the filing with something you already do every week it will be easier to remember to do it. Keeping the filing up to date, whether its paper or electronic, means you will be able to find things when you need them and reduces clutter, always a good thing.
– Reconcile the outstanding bank transactions in Xero every time you go in to do a client invoice or check something. It will only take a couple of minutes each day but will save heaps of time at month end when you do your full Bank Reconciliation.
These are just a couple of examples. I’m sure there are heaps more.
What habits do you need to build to save time in your business?
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