How to cultivate productive habits

A productive person is one who gets things done and the ‘secret’ to succeed that is…well, doing things. It all traces back always to what habits you have and how they affect your ability to go from ideas to concrete results. Bad habits can easily overcome even good motivation and being aware of them is the first step in changing your efficiency patterns.

The ability to get things done apply to all successful people. This can actually be regarded as a specific quality that can even overtake intelligence, talent, as the presence of those without the exercise of taking action will only guarantee projects at the stage of conception at best.

Since we don’t come into this world with fixed habits, we may as well choose to develop some that can help us accomplish more and serve our passion.

If you really want to build the action habit, you may have to make some deliberate changes to your thought processes and your perspective on things; however, while it may seems a bit challenging at first, once you engage this process wholeheartedly by completely understanding and applying these 5 phases, ACTION will become your middle name and you will notice how your life and the way you are perceived by other enters another dimension:

1. Stop waiting for the perfect time

Waiting until conditions are perfect before taking action is the perfect excuse to fail. What this waiting habit will guarantee is never leaving the starting point. The truth is, there’s probably no such thing as perfect conditions. Don’t confuse good strategy with fear to act. It’s all always happening now.

2. Take it gradually

Switching from bad habits to good ones requires patience and discipline; eventually, the newly acquired habits will become so much a part of you that you will not think of them in terms of discipline and effort as they will flow naturally and the good results will reinforce them. But remember to start small – It’s like when people used to eating meat frequently decide to go on a vegetarian diet right away – most of the times their organisms don’t take the shock too well and soon they give up because they feel tired and awkward and say that maybe vegetarian food is just not for them.

2. Act now!

Yeap, you definitely heard this one before but no matter how cliché it may sound to you, this is one golden rule. Whatever idea has been circulating your head lately, jump at it! It’s your opportunity to get things done – and we promise you will love it! The habit of leaving ideas unacted on will only weaken them.

3. Be consistent

Even if you have managed to start working on an idea, working out or taking piano lessons, without continuity, the progress you’ve made and those new habits will fade away pretty fast. So, whatever is that you began doing, commit to it with all your heart and do your ‘routine’ especially when you don’t feel like it until you sense the strength of your newly acquired habit becoming your second nature.

4. Ideas really count only when applied

It’s true that everything starts with an idea but it’s just as true that everything is accomplished with action. You might have a really world-changing idea but if not put into action, it will mean nothing next to a mediocre one but successfully executed. Stop being satisfied with just presenting great ideas to people to feel good about yourself – you might even see some of those ideas brought to life by others and that’s not likely to diminish your anxiety. Nothing compares with turning an abstract thought into a beautiful, working, concrete project.

5. Action builds confidence

Fear is most present the first time when you take action. Even after years of performing live, the best of actors tell about being anxious or fearful right before entering the stage – but once that moment passes so does fear. Nothing cures fear like getting down to business. Don’t fear fear because courage doesn’t mean the absence of fear but the determination to carry out even in its presence. Observe your fear and observe how fragile it becomes when you commit to doing.

When faced with obstacles and fear of failing to develop these habits, remember this quote by Lao-Tzu: “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

Can Akdeniz

Can Akdeniz is the author of seven books and founder of Business Hacker, a popular business blog. His books such as Go Nuts, Cool Boss, Happy Company and MBA 2.0 have changed how people think about business, productivity and work.