Developing good habits in our work lives – as well as our personal lives – can significantly enhance our work performance. Researchers have shown that performing a few ritualistic practices before doing tasks – especially when stressful – significantly improve performances. A series of studies conducted by Alison Wood Brooks and described by Harvard Business Review indicated that
“…performing a ritual before entering a stressful situation can reduce feelings of anxiety and improve performance. We encourage readers to adopt pre-performance rituals during stressful situations in their own lives, perhaps before giving a presentation at work, taking an exam, or having a difficult conversation.“
Your success at work is largely determined by your attitude and, of course, how productive you are. Like those rituals, the five habits described here below, if developed in a work environment, can significantly improve performance and attitude.
Develop a Positive Mental Attitude
Did you know that is not what happens in life that matters, but how you react that makes the difference? The more positive you are, the more energy you have and the more creative you will be. One way to achieve this is focusing on the future rather than the past. Instead of focusing on how and who to blame, focus on what you want to do and on the actions you can take. Develop a clear idea of your future success and take whatever actions you need, to get moving in that direction; do this while thinking about where you are going rather than where you have been. Setting your mind on the future automatically forces you to think positively and constructively.
Developing a positive mental attitude is also about focusing on the solution rather than the problem. Think and talk about what can be done right now, rather than wasting time rehashing it reflecting on the problem that happened in the past. Solutions are, by definition, positive, while problems are negative; the instant you will begin thinking about the solutions, and what you can do, rather than thinking about the problem, you will become a positive and constructive person.
Improve Your Communication Skills
Want to be a great communicator? The secret is to pause before replying. A short pause of about 3 to 5 seconds after a person stops talking is a very classy thing to do during a conversation. When you pause, you achieve three goals simultaneously. Firstly, you avoid running the risk of interrupting the other person while he is speaking. The second benefit is that you show the other person that you are giving careful consideration to his or her thoughts by not jumping with your comments at the earliest opportunity. The third benefit of pausing during a conversation is that you can hear the other person better. By pausing, you show yourself as a brilliant conversationalist. An excellent communicator is also someone that often asks clarifying questions. Never assume that you understand what the other person is saying or trying to say; instead, if you have any doubt at all, ask, “What do you mean?” and then just pause and wait.
Get More Organized
The more you get organized every day, the more you will get done each day. Prepare in advance: you know the old saying - “proper prior preparation prevents poor performances” - so prepare your work for the following day in the evening. The best exercise is to plan your next day as the last thing to do before you come from work. When you plan your following day your subconscious mind goes to the work you have prepared while you're sleeping; very often you will wake up in the morning with good ideas and insights that apply to the work of the day. Once you have written down everything you have to do on the following day, you can clean out your mind and sleep more deeply. This will help you a lot in increasing your productivity during your next day of work because you will be more relaxed and refreshed.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
One of the key factors that contribute to working smarter is to reserve chunks of time for an unexpected task that appear. Scheduling your time in this way reduces stress and makes you feel in charge of your life. Another task you should block time for is breaks. Studies in productivity show that you will be far more productive in the five or six days that you work if you take one or two days off completely than you would if you work straight through for seven days. The same applies on a smaller scale to the hours of your day. Taking some more breaks will clear your head and will give you some fresh thoughts to sharpen your focus. Being focused and concentrating on what you are doing is a key element for success.
A healthy diet and lifestyle can help to achieve this, as well as taking supplements such as modafinil, which you can buy in any traditional grocery store or in specialized e-commerce stores where you can find modafinil online. However, don't get too comfortable taking too many breaks or welcoming distractions. Most people spend 50% of their time doing non-work-related activities such as browsing the Internet, checking social media or personal emails, or taking long lunch breaks and chatting with co-workers.
Time is your scarcest resource, and you must work smarter to preserve it in every way possible; that also include to eliminate time-wasting activities to improve your time management skills, thus the overall quality of your life.