We all have bad habits that prevent us from being our best selves in business and in life. One of my favorite people, Darren Hardy (the author of The Compound Effect), just shared his experience of going on a “vice fast” every three months where he picks a vice that he has and gives it up for a month. The point is to see if his bad habits have begun to master him or if he’s still the boss of his habits. If there is a real struggle in giving up the habit for a month, then he knows that it’s probably something he should permanently get rid of.
As soon as I heard this, I realized it was a great tip to apply to business as well. Think about it—what is happening in your business that you need to change, what are those bad habits that are undermining your ability to grow or that are detracting from the amount of success you could have experienced this month or year? If you had to give up one of those habits for thirty days, how well would you do?
How to break a bad habit in your business
Here’s how to tackle this.
- Write out a list of the things you think are bad habits in your business.
- Circle the one you think will have the greatest impact on your company if you gave it up for a month.
- Give up that habit. If you struggle, it’s probably the one habit you need to give up the most. Stop doing it for 30 days and don’t backslide.
- Track your results. Whatever your habit is, break it for a month and see what kind of a difference you see in your business. Do you make more money? Do you get home earlier?
- Determine if the benefits of giving up the bad habit outweigh the discomfort of not doing it. If so, stop doing that bad habit completely.
Are these bad habits in your business?
When you’re making a list of bad habits you encounter in your business, you might not know where to start. Here are some things that I saw when I was more involved in the day-to-day workings of my company.
- Checking email first thing in the morning and letting it interrupt you repeatedly throughout the day. Do not allow email to set your priorities for the day. It’s much more important to make sales calls or return voicemails, anything that will help you grow your business. I actually try not to check my email until at least noon.
- Gossip. We love to talk about other people, but it’s not a good use of time and it can contribute to a negative feeling in the office.
- Facebook. While we have to use Facebook to promote our business, sometimes we get sidetracked looking at pictures of family and friends and spend much more time there than we intended to spend.
- Negativity. Our business is full of challenges and it’s easy for people in the office to get annoyed and irritated. Negativity comes naturally in this environment, but it is not helpful or productive and it really poisons the atmosphere of the office.
- Dawdling or goofing off. This is when you’re trying to work but you’re just not focused or disciplined. Maybe there’s not a lot of pressure to get things done that day, so you dawdle a bit, working on things that aren’t important or goofing off. I find myself throwing laundry in, making another cup of coffee, maybe watching the news, and then I see that it’s 10:30 am and I have yet to sit down at my desk. That’s dawdling and it’s unproductive.
- Other fun social media, like Pinterest or Instagram or Twitter. You can spend hours on these sites and it does very little to help your business.
- Idle chit chat. Before we made a conscious effort to reduce this in my office, we would waste so much time just chatting with each other. Now the culture is that unless you’re talking about business, you should take a break to talk about things unrelated to work.
- Online shopping. Amazon is an addiction. Once you look at something on there, you can’t stop looking. What if you had to cut yourself off from Amazon for thirty days? How much less time would you waste?
This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.
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