Greg de la Cruz works in the tech industry and is the author of two published titles on Amazon.
Personal productivity is often an accurate predictor of future success. And while there are many factors you need to consider to have an efficient daily routine, it can be easy to take for granted the purpose and intent with which you do things.
You can be hyper-focused at crossing off items on your to-do list. As a result, you forget about the value each action adds into your well-being. You can't just commit yourself to 15 minutes of meditation for the sake of having it on your agenda. Perhaps the more productive thing would have been to not meditate?
You can make enormous leaps of improvement by simply adding an indispensable ingredient: attention. Pay close attention to the simple little details that are easy to overlook in your daily routine.
10 Bad Habits to Change for Self-Improvement
This article will provide a few suggestions on identifying ten bad habits you can easily overlook. They're also ones you can quickly correct. When you're finally able to get rid of these bad habits, hopefully you'll find a more productive and happier person in you.
1. Waking Up - Not Fixing the Bed
Did you know that fixing your own bed immediately as you wake up increases the likelihood of you having a more productive day? Fixing one's own bed as soon as getting up in the morning is actually part of the training of a US Navy Seal - and that's not surprising since in order to become a Navy Seal you've got toe develop a sense of discipline that's way beyond what a normal human being would possess.
If you're in the bad habit of not fixing your own bed when you get up in the morning, you're likely to miss the chance of achieving something already at the very beginning of the day. The human mind is hardwired to subtly remember tasks that have been accomplished and also remember those that haven't been done - and when undone things, even as little as this one, pile up you'll develop more anxiety throughout your day. Also, if you won't fix your bed in the morning, it's also an added task on your to-do list for the rest of the day. Crushing out this very simple task at the very start of your day will leave you as a more optimistic person as well as develop your own discipline.
So stop procrastinating when you get off your bed - straighten those sheets, pull on those covers and fix those pillows.
2. Missing Your Daily Exercise Routine
A daily exercise regimen is a good habit to continue for the rest of your adult life. Exercise provides so many benefits such as improved cognitive function, better sleep, lowered risk of whatever disease and an uplifted general well-being. It's nice to keep a simple, manageable exercise going at the beginning of the day that doesn't have to necessarily stress you out. Just keep an exercise that's enough to give you a little sweat and get your blood circulating around your body.
But what if one day, you woke up late and you have to miss your exercise routine because you can't squeeze enough time for it? Are you positive that there will never be more days like this where you're running late and have no choice but to streamline your way out? Well, you're likely to get into the habit of missing your exercise, and eventually your own passion and discipline for exercise will taper and will die down until a few crunches is all you can ever take.
Break this bad habit of missing your exercise - it could be very detrimental to your entire well-being and it could really lead to unnecessary laziness. Make sure to schedule your exercise in such a way as for you not to miss it. The most convenient time would be on afternoons, but not a lot of people have free time during afternoons, and if you schedule it on evening you're likely to tire out easily. So the most practical time of day is after waking up, after you've fixed those sheets (from item number one).
3. Not Drinking Your Own Coffee
Who doesn't love coffee? Caffeine is the spark plug that gets us starting our engines for the day, and while a crash is inevitable especially if you don't drown another cup thereafter, we still indulge in the positive things coffee brings. Coffee is even better if you can make your own at home and not order it at some coffee shop. Never mind the added sugar that usually goes into most coffee drinks in a coffee shop - but buying coffee outside is a huge waste of money.
Look, anyone can make instant coffee and if you're even more eager you can brew your own, but everyone knows how much coffee really costs. These coffee shops really oversell their coffee because even when you buy a to-go cup from a coffee shop you're still paying them in the full amount which includes of course the 'rent' you pay for staying in the coffee shop even if you don't stay at all, because let's face it, people love overstaying at coffee shops.
So this is a bad habit you should break - not drinking your own coffee. Don't get into the convenient habit of buying coffee outside. Make it an effort to make your own coffee because most of the time it's exactly how you want it to taste like and all of the time it saves you a lot of money.
4. Compulsive Snacking
Mainstream media blames obesity on gluttonous meals of over-indulgence with the fattiest food around. But what they don't mention a lot is that a majority of the obese tend to snack a lot, and what matters isn't the amount they snack on but the frequency. Compulsive snacking is triggered by binge eating and binge eating is caused by over-deprivation of food and also stress.
Stress eating is a real phenomenon because I am stress eater myself. Some eat because of extreme boredom and others eat because they just do it out of habit. Eating because of boredom is a sign of a very miserable life and eating out of habit is compulsive snacking itself. You can stop compulsive snacking by instead drinking water instead of consuming more calories. You might get more trips to the bathroom when you're a compulsive snacker who switches to water, but it's totally worth it. Not only will you lose some weight but your body will feel the immediate effects.
Compulsive snacking is a habit that leads to terrible obesity and therefore increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Breaking this bad habit will not only make you a better person, but will also save your life.
5. Bringing More Money than You Need
Financial planning is made complicated by self-proclaimed money-gurus who publish overpriced books and have their own morning shows. Managing your money is actually very simple - it all really boils down to discipline. Temptation knocks very loudly and eagerly when you walk into a department store with your wallet full with wads of bills. It doesn't help too that these stores arrange their products in such a way as to lure you to making you look like you just made a smart buy.
But don't you dare give in. And the best chances you have of not giving in to consumer temptation is when you don't put yourself into a position to become a consumer, that is - don't bring too much cash on hand. Mr. Money Mustache does his buying using his credit card because he only pays for what he needs to pay for - he doesn't need to collect change nor does he give himself and allowance to spend more than he ever intended in the first place.
Bringing more money than you need can ruin your financial plan so subtly that it's so easy to overlook. As much as possible, make most of your transactions cash-less and if you don't intend to use your card then bring bills with lower denominations. Another temptation is to break down the big bills you have and make it an excuse for more consumption.
6. Overthinking Your Way into Worry
Thinking is a double edged sword - if you dive deep enough into your thoughts you'll reach a meditative state and reap a variety of good ideas but then you could also dive the wrong way and instead stumble upon a lot of negatives which would cause a lot of worry and stress. You know what they say on the streets: 'Worry only about things you can control.' Now I don't know whose original thought this is, but it makes a very important point. Some things are really better left untouched by our brain - some things are better off 'un-thought'.
Get rid of the habit of thinking too much about a particular thing that you have no control of. It could be an answer to a job application, it could be your lab results. I guess this is where your God comes in and reassures you that 'everything happens for a reason' so just 'have faith'. Well, whichever God you believe in or whatever your belief systems are, it helps that you pray or meditate instead of worry. Praying creates positive thoughts while worrying does the opposite.
7. Overdependence on Pharmaceuticals
Over-the-counter drugs have been the most convenient medical wonder that man kind has ever brought to this earth. There was a time when you needed a specialist for the simplest of diseases and you needed this specialist to go deep into the jungle to find the magic herb hat will stop your allergies from taking over your life. Modern life has been defined by medical convenience, but medical convenience could also mean medical dependence.
Our over-dependence on drugs has made our bodies a lot less tolerant to even the weakest of physiological attackers. This over dependence also has a tendency to lead to some long-term side effects. I guess the notion 'an ounce prevention is better than a cup of cure' comes in handy here. Lead a healthy lifestyle so you don't have to develop the bad habit of beeing too reliant on pharmaceuticals.
8. Not Taking a Few Minutes to Nap or be Blank
Everyday, I go to work via a 40-minute commute. It may be a waste of money and a little energy, but it certainly isn't a complete waste of time. Too many people underestimate the power of meditation. Deep thought acquired by meditating for long periods of time is healthy for your brain, and it gives this detoxifying effect for when you're about to use your brain vigorously when you get top work. Napping at the middle of the day is also very important. Napping helps you not get too tired at the end of the day which means you won't get too cranky and you'll instead have more energy for after-work social activities.
Developing the bad habit of not being able to nap during a work day is not only detrimental to your work effectiveness, but also to your health. Both napping and meditation, even at short periods during the day lowers stress and recharges you so you can accomplish more quality work. Deep thought is usually the culprit for the most creative ideas, hence you shouldn't skip on your daily nap.
9. Failure to read ANYTHING
The most successful people in the word read a lot. Warren Buffett, the superpower investor is known to read entire 300-500 word books everyday, and he doesn't intend to stop that habit. There are so many benefits of developing a reading habit, aside from getting smarter. Reading also develops a person's discipline while also giving him a sense of accomplishment everytime he finishes.
Failing to read anything substantial at a given day for me makes me feel inadequate. There's just this dry spell that occurs inside your brain when you fail to read anything the entire day. And media tabloids and hot news shouldn't be considered reading because these things are designed and worded and titled in such a way that you really have no choice but to read them. Just remember to read something that enriches you each and everyday, and I'm pretty sure it'll help you intellectually and socially - intellectually because you engage your mind while you read, and socially because you can never run out of things to talk about.
10. Late Night Snacking
This is just another knock on the compulsive snacking item. Late night snacking is even more dangerous because our blood sugar at night is on a high level, which means we shouldn't consume too much at night. The other problem with late night snacking is that it is a lot harder to regulate it and know what amount of food is enough because it doesn't necessarily fall into our three basic meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's like a new kind of industry or business and our body happens to be the government - our body doesn't really have any laws on how much you can eat late at night.
How much you eat late at night can vary from a small bowl or raisins to a double ham and cheese sandwich. We usually eat late night snacks when we're watching television and that makes it even harder to regulate. It also doesn't help that you'll be burning those calories at a very slow rate when you're asleep. So better to break the habit of late night snacking before it becomes fun and has made you fat.
By just tweaking your daily habits and changing them for the good, you'll easily become a healthier and more productive person. As simple as these habits may sound, the smallest accomplishments when added together can make a very big difference. Simply start by eliminating one bad habit after another. If you're able to eradicate all these habits at once, then you're one of a kind but then just make sure to hold out long enough so you don't fall into relapse and make these bad habits all over again.
RTalloni on May 03, 2016:
These are good tips on habits we need to be careful about. I need the consistency in an exercise routine. Even though I get a lot of exercise in the garden I still need to do specific ones for specific needs, such as back strengthening.
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 03, 2016:
Some of your ideas are really pretty good. I just realized, though, that not a single one of my friends drinks coffee - I am the only one in the group who does.