Getting started with new work habits

Getting started with new work habits!

We all have habits. These are the things we do very regularly without even thinking about them, such as getting up and putting the kettle on before you do anything else. You just do them without even knowing that they’re habits.

Work habits are just the same, you get to your desk and without even thinking you check your email, after making that all-important cup of coffee.

Does any of that sound familiar? Can you quickly identify some simple habits in your work and life?

Most of our habits will be neutral in terms of whether they are beneficial or not. But I’ve been going through some self-analysis and began to think about whether the way I work is particularly efficient and/or effective.

And I’ve concluded that I need to make some work adjustments if I really want to move my business further and faster.

So, I did some research on getting started with new work habits and have embarked on some small but significant changes in how I work.

One of the first things I’m doing (starting with what you’re reading right now) is to write a minimum of 150 words a day. This may not sound like a lot but I do enjoy writing and know that content development and blogging are important for success in online marketing. Thus helping my business.

getting started with new work habits image
Getting started with new work habits is easier than you might think

I’ve also realised that I need to be much more diligent in doing my business marketing each day. I aim to do at least 45 minutes each day but have let that slip in recent weeks.

Last week I made a commitment to exercise a minimum 3 times over a seven day period since that’s something else that I’ve let slide in recent months. Not quite a new work habit but it’s important to stay fit and healthy if you want to be focused and productive (“Sharpen the saw” as Dr Covey used to say).

A key tip is to realise that checking and acting upon email at the beginning of the working day is a completely reactive work habit. You’re letting someone else set the tone for the day. So, my emails won’t get answered until mid morning from now on (well, most of the time anyway).

Now these may seem like really small and simple things but the cumulative effect over time should be quite significant. If I write 150 words a day that amounts to 2 or 3 blog posts a week. Thus accumulating a decent volume. Doing some marketing each day helps to ensure that I’m constantly winning and keeping customers instead of waiting until things get needy.

I’ve learned over the years that if you want to make changes then start with small and regular things and go from there. You’ll be far more successful making regular small changes than aiming at big stuff in one go. Getting started is easy, keeping going is hard. So start small and develop as you go.

But the best thing about aiming at habits is that I habits happen without having to think too much about it. I want my new habits to become integral parts of my life and work so that they will get done because it’s a normal part of what I do anyway.

I’ll be writing more over time as these new work habits develop but feel free to share your thoughts on getting started with new work habits in the comments below. If you’ve started a new work habit recently let us know how it’s going.

If you need help with this then I strongly recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear.

9 thoughts on “Getting started with new work habits”

  1. I’ve recently undertaken a similar look at how I work – I’ve decided that the best thing to do is re-organise when in the day I plan on working.

    I now get up at 5am, do 2 hours solid (with no email etc – only going online for research to do with the bids I’m writing). This gives me a really good start to the day without any interruptions and I’m able to carry the momentum on through the day.

    I used to work at night – when tired. Instead I’m using that time for brainless activity – exercise, my Japanese study drills, routine work, ironing, etc. I now go to bed earlier and don’t end up ‘working’ or watching something random on TV late.

    1. Hi Tom,
      thanks for sharing. I also get my best work done early in the day after spending many years wondering why I couldn’t focus trying to work in the evenings.
      Many thanks again

  2. Good theme here Karl on positive habit building. I especially agree with the morning e mail ritual. My bad habit is an early morning trawl of Twitter on my smart-phone, slow and inefficient.

    1. Thanks Bob.
      Have to admit that the email thing is going to be my big challenge. It seems like such a small thing to change but psychologically it’s quite a leap.

  3. Thanks for your honest comment .I need to re-think my working day and to see how I can be more productive .Its true you can spend so much time on e-mails and not enough time on working I work late and some of the comments are to have a good early start to the day before you get any distractions I am going to try that my self .It will be hard to start with as I will have to get my body clock re organised .Thanks for all the tips will let you know how I get on

    1. Thanks for your comment Fatima.
      Why not try working with your body clock and develop the habit of working on the most important stuff (not email) when you’re at your best in the day? If mornings aren’t your thing then figure out what time of day is best for you and learn to focus during that time.

      1. got woke up early this morning ,couldn’t get back off to sleep so checked my e-mails as its something I don’t do very often thanks for your comment will try and apply your suggestion and let you know how I get on .

  4. Really great article, Karl.

    I love the caption in the picture you have there. It’s so true.

    There’s been many times where I’ll get motivated to tackle work that I’ve had on the ‘back burner’ for a few weeks and then I’d fall off and table it again because I’d get distracted with ‘other things’.

    I’ll be the first one to admit, I can be the biggest procrastinator I know and my bloggers ADD can have a mind of its own sometimes. That’s why I quit staying up at all hours of the night to ‘work’ and started to go to bed earlier so that I can wake up earlier and actually be productive with real work, rather than just busy work.

    Thanks for taking the time to write up this article. I found your blog through a comment you left on Jon Morrow’s blog. I’m glad I followed your link because you def have some great value to offer.

    I’ll be sure to share this article with my social circle and on as well. :)


    1. Hi Ti,

      thanks for your comment (and for the tweets) and glad you found the information useful. We all struggle with personal productivity so getting into good habits is always important.


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