February 19, 2021

Accomplish More with Rules & Habits – The Secret to Personal Effectiveness!

The Busy-ness of Living

We are busy people. Whether you are in charge of growing a business, managing a department, project or team, the days don't seem long enough to get it all done. In addition to work objectives is your personal life. Surrounded by decisions to make daily, the last thing we need is to get bogged down with senseless minutiae.

We know how to delegate specific tasks, which we will not cover here. This article aims to show how creating rules or habits can support your everyday needs and eliminate repetitive decision-making. We invite you to consider how you can simplify your entire life and achieve your goals with greater ease.

A familiar concept - solving the "what to wear" conundrum

Streamlining decision making is not a new concept. We know famous people who solved the daily "what to wear conundrum" by having numerous copies of the same ensemble in their closet. In particular, Steve Jobs filled his wardrobe with the same black mock-neck sweaters, jeans and sneakers that he came to love. Deciding "what to wear" is personal and best determined by the person wearing the outfit and their needs. The ensemble suited him well and having eliminated one daily decision simplified his life. Photo courtesy from Reddit

Lifestyle By Design

Consider other areas of your life that need simplifying, such as lifestyle choices. Today's VUCA world demands the focus, energy and stamina like that of a "corporate athlete." To rise to leadership demands, we need to support our physical self with healthy diet, daily exercise, and times of rest. We need a lifestyle by design.

To design your ideal lifestyle, consider your current state of health and identify areas of concern. State the goal and decide on realistic activities that you will do to achieve the goal. To assist with creating your list, the following are some of mine.

List Goals & Design New Habits to Achieve Goals

Business

Goal:

Direct my best efforts on activities that bring new business. Work on my high impact, top priorities each workday before doing anything else.

New Habit:

Each weekday, I complete 90 minutes on my most important work, free from all distractions before anything else. I may also do another 2.5 hours later on. I will know I have made this a new habit after doing this consistently for nine weeks.

Personal

Goal: Improve my sleep quality and quantity. Fall asleep within five minutes of laying down, sleep uninterrupted for 7.5 - 8 hours minimum each night.
New Habits:
  •  Work only on weekdays 9 - 5 pm. Turn off computer by 7 pm, phone by 8 pm.
  • Journal daily: unpack the day's events, writing out accomplishments, what wasn't done and why. Detail tomorrow's plan with specific tasks.
  • Abstain from wine or alcohol on weekdays.
  • Limit daily caffeine intake to the equivalent of two cups of coffee.
  • Exercise every day, either yoga, walking or hiking, an hour before lunch/dinner.

Could you test it out? Assess & Calibrate over the long-term. 

Test run the new habits for a short time to assess for improvement. If there has been little to no change, try to determine what may be getting in the way. Create a new rule to support the habit. Test and repeat until there is noticeable change.

 Read below to see how I applied this method to improve my sleep patterns.

Root out the Problem: Identify Obstacles to Success

Issue: Difficulty falling asleep or, waking up too early.

1. Too much caffeine is a likely culprit with my inability to fall asleep. When I'm tired from not sleeping well the night before, and because I like Chai tea I give into temptation and have a cup, which puts me over my limit.

2. My mind won't stop thinking about what I need to do. I forget to journal.

The Solution: Create New Rules to Overcome Obstacles!

New Rules:

Reduce morning coffee to one cup to allow for a cup of Chai tea. Should I want a hot drink beyond my earlier choices? My options are hot water with fresh lemon juice or Dandelion Root tea because I enjoy them both.

Tweak schedule to be able to address current work demands:

  1. Extend working time from 9 - 6 pm. Begin journaling at 5:30 pm.
  2. Turn off the computer at 7 pm, phone at 8 pm.
  3. Sleep at 11 pm.
  4. Adhere to it!

I journal before I leave my desk. Unpack daily events, new record ideas, tasks, tomorrow's itinerary with details of what is reasonable to get done. Starting at 5:30 pm gives me a reasonable amount to time to unpack and  close my day; then shift my attention to find personal enjoyment and rest.


Follow Your Rules; it's Your Lifestyle by Design!

Last but not least, follow your rules. Rules followed become new habits; they support your mission to achieve your goals. There may be exceptions from time to time,  but afterwards, always revert to your rules.


You design the rules to simplify your life and amplify your success ratios that reach much higher levels than ever before. 


Having the ability to focus on things that matter is how greatness is born and how you become the person you were born to be!


Do you need help creating space in your life?

Discover how we can help you become more efficient, effective & find balance.


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