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Breaking Bad (Habits)

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by Lindsay Wickham, Syracuse

Bad habits are hard to break – the worst part about bad habits is that you don’t even know what damage you could be causing. As Warren Buffett once said, “chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” As noted by Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and president at TalentSmart in an Entrepreneur article, here are several bad habits that entrepreneurs should eliminate from their daily routine:

Image created by Lindsay Wickham

Image created by Lindsay Wickham

Using your phone in bed: You may not even realize it’s harming your sleep (and therefore, productivity). Exposure to blue light at close range can impair melatonin production and interferes with your ability to fall asleep (and get quality sleep, once you get there). The best rule of thumb is to avoid those devices after dinner.

Surfing the internet: A worst offender myself, I could have between five and twenty browser tabs open at the same time. It takes 15 consecutive minutes of focus before you can fully engage in a task and start to be productive. Notifications can be great – they help us make meetings on time and remember to do certain tasks. They can also be bad for productivity – right up to the point where we see or hear one and we click away from the task at hand “just for a second” and find ourselves out of focus and on some random internet page minutes later. Close distractions like email and the internet if you want to get solid work done.

Checking your phone during a conversation: Nothing bugs me more than someone glancing at their phone during a meeting. It immediately distracts the entire task at hand. The same goes for a conversation – focus your energy and leave your device in a drawer to avoid distraction.

Saying “yes” when you should say “no”: Sometimes you just want to say yes to everything – you try to do everything and please everyone. However, “no” can be a powerful word that you shouldn’t be afraid to use when necessary. It’s an act of self-control that can prevent the negative effects of over commitment.

In addition, other distractions and bad habits to eliminate include using multiple notifications, trying to multitask during meetings, comparing yourself to other people, and gossiping. By practicing your self-control, you can work to break these bad habits and increase productivity, whether it’s for school work, at your job, or in launching a startup!