What if you could create new behaviours without the need for willpower or motivation?
This is the promise of Tiny Habits® created by BJ Fogg, a behaviour scientist at Stanford. After talking to BJ several years ago, I decided to put the Tiny Habits Method into practice for myself. The experience was both impactful and straightforward, so much so I decided to train up as a certified coach in Tiny Habits.
One of the most valuable observations I've made is that you can apply the Tiny Habits Method to any area of your life extremely quickly, covering productivity, health, memory, focus, emotional intelligence and more.
Putting a Tiny Habit Recipe into practice is relatively straight forward, and the ingredients are as simple as A, B, C:
An anchor is a habit or moment that already exists in your life, e.g. getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, having breakfast. Once you have identified an anchor, all you have to do is connect the new behaviour to it. The effect is that your anchor triggers the new behaviour.
You may want to create a habit to floss all your teeth. With the Tiny Habits Method, you create a very tiny version of that larger behaviour; in this case, you floss one tooth.
A celebration could be a fist pump, a smile, pat yourself on the back. This is the part where many feel awkward at first; however, it's also the most crucial. The celebration creates an emotion that makes the habit memorable. Without it, the behaviour will never become automatic. You bring these ingredients together in a particular way:
After I... brush my teeth
I will... floss one tooth
Celebrate... "fist pump!"
The idea behind a Tiny Habit is that it is so easy to do, that it's impossible 'not' to do. Combined with the right anchor and celebration, it can become automatic in a matter of days, not weeks. Once a Tiny Habit Recipe has become automated, it is then simpler to grow that habit to something more significant, i.e. floss all your teeth.
The ability to create new habits in the current climate is an almost essential skill to have. With that in mind, here are 5 Tiny Habits Recipes for Working from Home that can create more day to day clarity, overcome procrastination, increase levels of focus, create more time and achieve a level of balance.
When working from home, it can be easy to get caught up and spend your time reacting to email, messages, calls, video meetings and find the actions that move your business forward taking a back seat or taking up your entire day.
Creating 'clarity' can help maximise your time. Asking some simple daily questions is a great place to start. The right question can prime your brain to focus on the necessary actions that will move you forward and create impact. Here's an example of a Tiny Habit Recipe for Productivity:
After I finish breakfast
I will ask myself, "What am I committed to achieving today, no matter what?"
By consistently asking yourself this question in the morning, you will be more likely to give your attention to the activity during the day; this is essentially a priming effect.
Procrastination is one of the toughest challenges that show up while working from home; it's the inertia that stops you getting started. This next Tiny Habit Recipe is the first step to getting you over that inertia and into the zone. The more significant behaviour you are working towards is an extremely high level of focus for 25 minutes and then a 5-minute break. Here is a simple Tiny Habit Recipe for getting started:
After I sit down at my desk
I will open up my timer
That's it! You'll find this will become automatic pretty quickly. It gets you over the initial inertia and gives a choice back to you, as to whether you continue or not.
Research has shown that regular Mindfulness practice can reduce mind wandering and have a positive effect on working memory, verbal reasoning and focus. A straightforward Mindfulness technique to start with is the 3-minute breathing space. Here's how it works:
The effect of doing this regularly, trains your brain to focus on just one thing (in this case, your breath). With practice, you can focus on 'one' activity for sustained periods. Being able to operate in this way becomes an invaluable skill when you are in an environment filled with distractions. The Tiny Habit Recipe to get you started could be something like this:
After I pour a cup of tea
I will take a deep breath
While there are many practical steps to time management, it can be easy to get caught up focusing on the time you don't have, rather than the time you do.
We always have more time than we think, the trick is acknowledging the time we have and genuinely being grateful for it. This Tiny Habit Recipe primes your focus, can reduce anxiety and give you space to think.
After I step into the shower
I will ask myself, "What is ONE thing I can fill my time with today that will make me FEEL grateful?"
It's no great revelation that knowing when your workday starts and ends while working from home can help towards your sense of balance, especially in the current situation. However, what else can you do to avoid the "all work and no play trap" and permit yourself to connect with friends and family to maintain a happy mindset? This Tiny Habit Recipe encourages you to step outside of yourself for a moment and take the time to connect with the people that matter.
After I dry my hands
I will connect with one of my friends or family OR think about a friend or family member I can connect with
Please take a moment to like this post and leave me a comment with any insights or questions.
If you're interested in trying out Tiny Habits for yourself, then watch my Tiny Habits for Working from Home Class and then join myself and BJ Fogg on this FREE 5-day course. Here's what you get:
Tiny Habits is a registered trademark Tiny Habits ©2020 BJ Fogg.
Thanks for signing up to the Memory Talk Newsletter. To say thanks I'm including my Memory Blueprint PDF download. There's 17 cutting edge strategies to improve memory, focus and productivity. Enjoy!