As always, I am late to the party for practically everything. I’d heard of Atomic Habits and how beneficial people have found it. I’m a huge fan of productivity hacks and getting as much use out of the time that I have. I don’t know if it’s a phase I’m going through or this is who I am now (there is actually a section in the book about this).
Atomic Habits breaks habits down into laws and uses these laws to make habits much more likely to form. What I absolutely love about this book is that there are so many different methods to try. If someone is trying to find a way to be more productive, I’d be surprised if they didn’t find something that wouldn’t work for them in this book. I was also pleasantly surprised to realise that I have already implement a few of the strategies mentioned in the book.
One of the best takeaways from the book for me, was the idea that you need to start identifying yourself as the person you want to become, and in doing so, your decisions will become easier, and therefore sticking to habits will become easier. For example, if you want to stop smoking and someone offers you a cigarette, instead of saying “No thanks, I’m trying to quit”, you would say “No thanks, I’m not a smoker”, that very slight change will help you feel a lot better about your decision. You’re not denying yourself a cigarette because a non-smoker would never want one in the first place. By identifying yourself as a non-smoker, you start thinking and acting like one, which over time, becomes who you are.
Another wonderful chapter that is counter to the above is the idea that you shouldn’t put yourself in too strict a description when it comes to identifying yourself. You should always remain open to new information and change. Consider identifying yourself by qualities rather than labels, for example, instead of being “An amazing boss” you are “someone who likes to lead a team and help develop others”. It leaves you open to change that won’t derail you and leave you lost and needing to find yourself.
For me personally, I find the following things have helped me become so much more productive over the course of this year:
- A weekly, monthly, quarterly planner with goals & reflections to fill in at the end (for a blank pdf of my planners, click here to download them, alternatively, there are beautiful paper planners that my lovely friend Alixe recommended to me here)
- Blocking out the things you want to do before anything else (to listen to a Ted talk from Laura Vanderkam on this, for where I got the idea from, click here)
- An app that blocks any app you want during a certain period. Stay Focused has worked really well for me.
- Hayley from Motion Hatch is also a huge lover of productivity hacks and she recommends moving your unproductive apps (like social media apps) off your home screen on your phone. Listen to the podcast here for more helpful tips.
None of these are affiliated links and are just my personal recommendations.