I want to share something with you that has really been helping me in the past few months. I am all about creating systems; for my business, for my personal growth, for my household, etc. Having a bachelors in systems engineering, I guess it has become second nature to see how all the systems in my life work and interconnect.
But I am also inherently lazy. And guess what, so are you. I don’t mean that in an insulting way. It’s not your fault, it’s the way our reptile brain has evolved. Our brain is always looking to conserve energy. So it will always choose the path of least resistance. If your brain can choose between an option that requires less brain power and more dopamine hits, it will steer in that direction on auto-pilot. Of course, you can always override auto-pilot, but that’s exhausting and you’ll need to keep dragging the self-discipline up from your toes.
What you can do instead is design your systems for maximum laziness. This means that you make it as easy as possible to steer your brain towards the habit that is beneficial for you and your business in the long term. There are three key factors you want to take into account here; automation, dopamine rewards, and accountability.
Let me explain how you can use these with the following examples.
Freedom is an application that shuts off distracting apps and websites on all your devices at a pre-scheduled time that you choose. It is a great way to leverage automation to stimulate you towards your desired habits. The app has pre-made selections of the usual suspects, like Facebook, Netflix, or CNN. But you can also curate lists with specific websites and apps. For instance, you can block social media and email for 2 hours during the day when you need to write and block all websites after 9pm when it’s time to unwind.
I always had trouble turning off Youtube or Netflix in the evening. My self-discipline and my tiredness are heavily correlated. The later it gets, the more difficult it is for me to turn off the Internet. So I’ve set the Freedom app to shut off everything at 8.30 PM. Everything except Audible or Spotify, because it’s much more beneficial for me to listen to an audiobook or have soothing music in the background than to stare at semi-educational videos.
I now sleep better, wake up earlier, and am more focused and productive during the day. And I haven’t noticed any downside of not having access to the Internet in the evening. Plus, I don’t have to rely on my self-discipline anymore, because I like being lazy in the evening.
HabitShare is an app where you define the habits you want to adopt. You set the number of times per week you want to do the habit. Every day you check off the habits you’ve completed. Marking the days green sparks a little dopamine hit that fuels your motivation to keep going.
The best thing about HabitShare is that you can add “accountability buddies.” We tend to give ourselves a lot of slack if we do something that is only for ourselves, but when we make ourselves accountable to someone else, we get much more motivated to actually do it. This app keeps score of the habit goals you’ve set and what you’ve achieved. Plus, you can create a game with your friend. For instance, the one who scores the lowest by the end of the month is buying dinner. This makes it fun (read: more dopamine), and having that extra skin in the game increases the accountability.
These apps have helped me a lot. And if this resonates with you, I can really recommend you give them a try. Because it’s not our lofty vision or big-hairy-audicious goals that get us to where we want to be. It’s our habits. So if we can change our habits, we can change our future.
PS. We are in no way affiliated with the Freedom or HabitShare app. I just really like using them.
You probably didn't get into business because you wanted to write. If writing was what you wanted to do, you would have taken a different path. "Writing feels like bleeding onto a page"...
What you do matters.We all have days where we wonder if our efforts are worthwhile. As someone who gets to work with paradigm-shifting entrepreneurs on a daily basis, I'm here to tell...
Are you using accounting software you're head over heels for? Your accounting system can make all the difference when it comes to tax time and the right tool can be a total game-changer..