Build Habits At Work

I’ve been attempting to become more disciplined when it comes to the way I work. I’ve made it my goal to build certain habits into my day-to-day routine to make sure that I’m always on top of things, as well as set myself up to think long-term when it comes to the products I’m focused on.

Building habits at work has helped me fall into a routine that has structured the way I work and it’s made me maximize both my work efficiency and productivity.

Here are some of the behaviours and habits I’ve instilled within the way I work that I think everyone can benefit from:

 Have a recurring daily checklist

It’s important to keep a checklist of recurring tasks that need to get done every day. This will likely differ depending on the type of profession you have or industry you’re working in, but generally you want to do the following:

I’ve made it a point to most of my colleagues to not schedule a meeting with me in the first 30 minutes of each work day so I can go through my morning routine. It’s made me more prepared for the day and has in fact made me better at anticipating what the day will be like and how I should schedule my time that day.

 Schedule time for tasks

In general, it’s been helpful for me to schedule specific times for working on various tasks. From brainstorming all the way to writing up a few emails, you can benefit from scheduling a slot in your day so that you can solely focus on that given task with no distractions.

However, this is my personal preference mainly due to the fact that I’ve found it easier to do creative brainstorming when it’s not in between a couple of meetings about unrelated subjects.

Note that I also make sure that my calendar says I’m busy during these scheduled times – I act like they’re meetings I have with myself. I usually have two types of work sessions:

 Work Time

This is time that I schedule to do work like brainstorming, writing out product stories, filling up spec documents or other tasks that I have to be fully be focused on if I want to do a good job. Usually less than an hour or 30 minutes.

 Planning and Reflection Time

This is time I use to both reflect on the work I’ve done in the past few days and the work I will be doing in the next few days. It’s important to always improve on the system you’ve setup for yourself and fix the bugs as you go. This is definitely from the software engineer in me, but I have found it to be very helpful and I encourage everyone to always put aside a few minutes to reflect on the past and learn from mistakes.

Hope you try these out and see if they work for you. I’d love to hear about other techniques you’ve used to become more productive. You can tweet me @ngardideh.

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P.S. I’ve tried things like the Pomodoro Technique but it’s a bit too intense unless you have to do consecutive work for a few hours on the same subejct – it works better for creative work or engineering work in my opinoin.

P.P.S. The only tools I’ve used to make sure I achieve this goal and instill these habits into my life are:


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