How to Create New Habits and be More Productive: for all Neurodivergent Conditions
You get up in the morning, it’s the weekend, you have a list of ‘things to do’ and perhaps you’re a business owner or freelancer or just have s**t load of things to do at home. You’re having your morning coffee and a bite for breakfast, and then the feeling of laziness overcomes you and you find yourself not ticking any or many of those things off your list. Later that day, you beat yourself up for not doing those important things you had to do. This isn’t the first time this has happened either, it’s a regular occurrence. Does this sound familiar at all? Even occasionally?
What you want to know is how to overcome this habit and become motivated and productive when you need to be, right? Read on…
For years I’ve struggled with this myself, unlike most people I’ve never had structure or a forced hand from my parents in my childhood, which meant I’ve always had to motivate myself. There’s a plus and minus for this kind of upbringing, the plus means I’m pretty good at motivating myself, the minus is I don’t like people telling me what to do very much. So, how do I motivate myself and get the feeling of ‘I’ve been productive today’? It’s all about your habits: 45% of your time according to a Harvard business review article is based on habits, this is why you go into auto-pilot a lot.
“45% of your time is based on habits, this is why you go into auto-pilot a lot.”
A lot of the habits you have are probably outdated, stemming from your childhood, and they don’t necessarily serve you well now. Starting new habits to replace the outdated ones is great, but I’ve learnt the hard way; forcing yourself to start a new habit without build up will not get you a sustainable habit for you. Sooner or later the nice new habit will drop off and you’ll be back to the old, unhelpful ones again. Back to square one, dammit! Why?
Our brains are programmed to hate change, not just any change but big change. Your brain goes into danger mode when the change is too big and too quickly introduced, so sustaining the habit won’t last unless it’s comfortable for you.
To surpass hitting the ‘panic button’ you must find a way to creep in there without your brain being alarmed! The key is patience, it is small steps leading to the fully fledging habit that you want to adopt. For myself patience hasn’t in the past been my strength, however over time you come to realise that patience leads to reward and so I’ve worked on it a lot (having children and pets help).
“Your brain goes into danger mode when the change is too big and too quickly introduced, so sustaining the habit won’t last unless it’s comfortable for you.”
Creating a new habit for productivity
1. What is the habit you want to adopt?
Get very clear on what it is you want and the positive impact it will have on your life.
2. Create the simplest version of that habit.
Thinking about the habit, pull it back to a single, easy step. E.g I want to mediate everyday…pull it back I will sit in the spot that I want to mediate just for 1 min and just breath deeply with eyes open and move on.
3. Test it: are you consistently doing this simple step?
Allow at least a week. If you are consistently doing this new habit it’s time to move to the next step, if you’re not then it might not be the right habit, or the step is too big and you need to simplify it even more.
4. Next steps.
Even when you move to the next steps, remain reserved and don’t jump too big just because it’s going well. Going well is great, then to jump too far ahead could spoil your hard work. If you do and you notice you’re not doing it consistently then it’s okay just go back to the last step and repeat it and then the next step after stripping it back to what you had done.
5. You got it!
Great news you have a habit to help you with your productivity! When your practicing your habit fully, consistently, remember to always revaluate it and see if it’s still serving you well.
Sabine empowers dyslexics to read and spell through the Danks Davis method, NLP, art therapy and wilderness therapy. You can read more about her online and in person dyslexia coaching sessions HERE.