Work Habits That Work

I wrote about unlearning a few months ago and so was interested to see a post on Lifehacker last week applying this approach to some common (unproductive) work habits. It highlights five major activities to ‘stop’:

1. Stop Thinking So Positively
This sounds a bit of an odd one this but just means thinking both positively and realistically.

2. Stop Trying to Fill Every Hour of Your Day
I have a tendency to do this even though I know it can (eventually) be counterproductive. They point out there’s nothing wrong in allowing time for being ‘bored’, in fact it’s quite important!

3. Stop Caring What the Internet Thinks About You
I like interacting with people so checking various accounts is very tempting (although often pure time-wasting). From the start of this year I’m building up the discipline of compartmentalising my time on ‘appealing distractions’. In particular, when I write I now turn off my email client, news feeds, tweets etc.

4. Stop Equating Rejection with Failure
It mentions that an ‘I’ll show them’ attitude can often be energising, which is true. However, in my experience, I’ve found it’s often better to try to understand another viewpoint even if it may be a bit alien to the way you think. In fact this can often prompt additional insights into what you’re doing even if you still disagree with the basic criticism.

5. Stop Spending More Time on Your Work
The recommendation is to align more with your natural rhythms and to do what you feel is right rather than overworking. On the topic of going with what you feel, I’ve found that this works really well for creative pursuits but isn’t so easy for routine and unavoidable ones!

On this ‘stopping’ theme, a post on the Zoho blog raises some more specific points:

  • Stop centering work around email
  • Stop the clutter
  • Stop staying glued to your computer for hours at a stretch

Anyway, certainly food for thought!

Some more info on writing and distractions here and here and a post on keeping a ‘no’ journal here.


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