Develop new habits

Definition: A thing you do regularly and repeatedly.

Learning new habits to maintain your new well-organised lifestyle makes all the hard work worthwhile the decluttering, setting up systems and getting the right tools sorted.

Routines matter. The things we do regularly dont just define what our days look like, but who we become and even how were perceived by others.

It pays to be aware of your habits and to review them dispassionately from time to time. You can change habits, says Fiona Howard, University of Auckland senior tutor in clinical psychology. But it does take time. Youre looking at months, not weeks, so the important thing is not to give up.

5 Golden Rules for keeping your new habits.

Rule # 1: Have routines and use your systems. They provide clarity, help you to be focused and remove the stress.
Rule # 2: Be disciplined. Always put things away after their use.
Rule # 3: Do 10 minute tidy-ups at the end of each activity.
Rule # 4: Simplify. Reduce, recycle and rethink.
Rule # 5: Dont sweat the small stuff.

The Seven Deadly Distractions of working from home

Working from home is for the hardy souls. Some people thrive on the freedom and flexibility to work hours that suit them and are more productive, while some people need structure of an office environment and to be surrounded by others to get on with their day.

I work from home and it is a delicate balance between being productive on the job and dealing with distractions. Here are my my seven deadly distractions that you may also relate to.

  1. Interruptions: visitors, demands from family, sales people Visitors friends and family who pop in for a cuppa or glass of wine. Why is it always at the wrong time right when you have finally got yourself in the zone to do some work! I struggle to turn away the temptations. Even while Im typing this I get a visit just as well it was a quick one. Then there are the unexpected demands from children or older parents. As the one who works from home, I am the first to be called. When sales people arrive, my four-legged security manager is not very good at her job here and greets them with a lick and a wag of the tail.
  2. Clutter On the way to the office are you consistently being hit in the eye with the piles of stuff everywhere, unread newspapers, magazines, gadgets lying around, clothes not put away.
  3. Unfinished tasks There are always housekeeping tasks to do. You say to yourself Ill just put a load of washing on while at the same time as deal with some business. Then there are other unfinished tasks, like the stripped wallpaper and the tap that needs fixing.
  4. Displacement activities The key one is the internet and the joys of being lost in time and webspace. Being signed up to too many RSS feeds, blogs, email newletters, twitter accounts, not to mention email overwhelm. Other displacement activities include the once I have put the washing on the line, Ill just pull that weed out and two hours later after weeding the remaining garden you decide work is calling.
  5. No routine or structure to your day. You wake up and wonder what you will be doing that day, you have lots of activities to choose from. By the end of the day, you know the phrase, I wonder what I have done?. This leads to trouble, and opens the doors widely to displacement activities and procrastination. This can also work the other way in that you can be become a workaholic. It is easy to be always connected and lines between work and home life become blurred.
  6. Procrastination. Im sure 99% of us experience the act of procrastinating; putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time at some stage during the day. That includes going to the fridge to get yet something else to eat or make another cup of tea or coffee.
  7. Lack of discipline. This is different to procrastination, in fact it is an accumulation of all of the above. The lack of concentration to focus on work and be easily distracted, unable to say no to visitors, to be ruled by your emotions and say I dont feel like it today, I think I deserve a holiday today.
If you suffer from any of the approve symptoms, download the Seven Deadly Distractions and Solutions Chart.

Make the Change

Developing and maintaining new habits can be hard.

I have read this book, Switch - How to change things when change is hard, Chip & Dan Heath, and provided you with a book summary, noting key points from each chapter.

It is a great read with wonderful case studies and comments from expects. I highly recommend this book if you want to make changes - for yourself, you work team and your organisation.

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