Sticky solutions to your everyday business challenges
Question: Now that the first quarter of 2018 is ending, I find myself sliding out of my New Year’s resolution to plan my priorities for the next day before I leave the office each evening. I had a streak of several weeks in January and February, but in March I started slipping. I really enjoyed the clarity that planning gave me. Can you suggest ways to help me sustain this new habit?
Answer: As Charles Duhigg points out in The Power of Habit, a habit “loop” is made up of three pieces: the cue or trigger (whatever prompts you to engage in your habit), the routine (the habit itself), and the reward (the payoff that rewards and reinforces your habit). Fortunately, there are smartphone apps that can make sticking to your habits available in the palm of your hand.
Here are two that we like:
- Workflow apps like If This Then That and Zapier allow you to set up reminders based on triggers that you define. They’ll give you a reminder to write down your goals for tomorrow before you leave the office each night.
- Streak apps take their inspiration from Jerry Seinfeld’s “chain” technique: To motivate himself to write every day, Seinfeld marked a big X on a wall calendar after every writing session, and promised himself he wouldn’t break the chain of X’s. The Chains.cc app as a way of tracking any behavior as a chain. Put your chain app on your phone’s home screen so that it can prompt you not to break the chain.
Since technology is now central to many of our habit routines, use it to your advantage to form new ones that help you stay productive.