In budgeting, we often recommend making savings or paying your bills automatic. You can use the same strategy with your time to build better habits and avoid losing so much of your time.
Picture: Fabíola Medeiros/Flickr
As productivity blog 99u points out, the best habits are formed when you don't have to think about them. You can't download an app that makes you decide to do more productive things, of course, but you can do the next best thing: put them on your schedule. Or at the very least, set up external reminders that will prompt you to do something as soon as you get the message.
For example, you could subscribe to an industry publication and read it every time it arrives to catch up on trends. You could join a professional group for people in your field and meet up once a month to connect or network with other creatives. Or you could commit to clearing off your desk every day before you leave your office, so you start the next day with a clean slate. All of these activities turn goals from something you might feel frustrated by not doing, but don't invest time in, to a natural part of your schedule.
If you have a calendar full of appointments, put cleaning your kitchen or texting your significant other on there. Set your phone to remind you to take out the rubbish every week. Or sign up for an event that you know will be good for you. Then, at least, the sunk cost worry can help make sure you go. The more you can make your habits automatic, the more likely you are to stick with them.