Knowing the bad habits to avoid is often times more important than knowing the good habits to acquire.
The reason is pretty simple. Avoiding bad habits allows you to acquire good habits.
Here are ten common habits that we should all avoid. Not surprisingly, they are all time wasting habits. Take your time though. Rushing and scrambling is on this list, so try to work on maximum one or two habits a week.
1. Don’t e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night
If you want to rush to work or go to sleep really late (or even develop insomnia), then be my guest. Try to at least do something on your “to-do” list before getting caught in the email vortex. Yeah, you’d be surprised how long people get caught up in checking and responding to emails.
2. Don’t answer private or unrecognized phone numbers
This almost always ends up with unwanted interruptions. Everyone important is most likely saved in your phone book or at least has a recognizable number. Use Google Voice or a similar web based voicemail program to send voicemails to your email inbox. This will help you check who called later when you do emails.
3. Don’t agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time
If you’re meeting up with someone to discuss business, home remodeling, scheduling, then try to be clear about what you’re discussing and how long you’re going to be there. Trust me. Having a time limit on things helps cut out the clutter ala Parkinson’s Law.
4. Don’t let people ramble
You’ve got to be the leader here. Take command of phone calls or conversations so that you can end them at will. Don’t be one of those people who is avoids someone they recognize in the street because they don’t know how to end conversations that drag on. Fuck the “how’s it going?” Get to the point and keep it moving.
5. Do not check e-mail constantly — “batch” and check at set times only
I belabor this point enough. Get off the cocaine pellet dispenser and focus on execution of your top to-do’s instead of responding to manufactured emergencies. Set up a strategic autoresponder and check twice or thrice daily.
6. Limit communication with high maintenance people
There is no sure path to success, but the surest path to failure is trying to please everyone. Whether it’s customers, friends or family. Use Pareto’s Principle to determine which relationships of your are high maintenance and limit them accordingly. If it’s customers, update a guideline or eliminate those customers all together. Trust me, you’ll lose a lot more stress than money. If it’s family or friends we’re talking about, just try and cut back on the highest maintenance individuals and increase your time with the easier lads.
7. Don’t DO more to fix problems, prioritize
If you don’t prioritize, everything seems urgent and important. If you define the single most important task for each day, almost nothing seems urgent or important. Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of letting little bad things happen (return a phone call late and apologize, pay a small late fee, lose an unreasonable customer, etc.) to get the big important things done. The answer to overwhelm is not spinning more plates — or doing more — it’s defining the few things that can really fundamentally change your relationships and life.
8. Don’t carry your phone everywhere you go
Leave your phone in the car when you go into the supermarket or at home when you go to work. There are places where taking your phone with you is JUST an interruption. Why must you bring your phone into the gym with you? Try leaving your phone in the car when you’re at a picnic. See how much of a load it’ll take off of you JUST by not carrying your phone 24/7
9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should
More work or more money isn’t going to solve your problems with the opposite sex or why your friends aren’t talking to you. Your co-workers shouldn’t be your only friends. Try to separate your personal and business life as much as possible. They both need equal escapes. When the two are merged, now you have no where to go if you need to blow some steam about work and vice versa.
10. Don’t rush and launch plans haphazardly
This is my biggest pet-peeve. So many of my close friends seem to rush. They feel VERY uncomfortable when they don’t rush. Weird, huh? Well just think about how often you feel the urge to jam your change into your wallet after paying the cashier to get out of the way quickly. How about trying to speed to make the light? This bad habit is notorious for causing a lot of other problems. Like rushing a meal and not letting the food defrost properly before cooking it. Rushing in the gym and hurting yourself. You get the point. Take a step back and ask yourself “what do we have here?” It’s that east