If you’ve ever written software, you know that if-then statements are the building blocks of any program. That same logic can work on yourself. Using simple if-then or when-then constructs, you can change your own habits.
Photo by Rach.
As advice site Barking Up the Wrong Tree explains, our habits are often based around simple prompts or triggers. When you get home, then you take off your coat and hang it up. When you sit at your desk, you (hopefully) start working. If someone messages you on Facebook, then you get distracted for half an hour. To tweak those habits, write your own if-then or when-then statements ahead of time:
Before it’s time to accomplish something, create a clear goal statement that includes the place or time something needs to be done and the thing you have to do. Just use the magic words “If/When” and “Then.”
- When I first sit at my desk in the morning, then I will begin the report I have to write.
- If my uncle starts another political argument, then I will hide in the bathroom.
If it helps, write your “programs” down or post them near where you want to get them down. Changing your environment is a strong way to influence your habits, so adding a note to follow your pre-written programs can give you the nudge you need. Even if you don’t plaster your home or office in post-it notes, just writing out what you intend to do can help you remember to do it next time.
4 Easy Tricks That Will Make You Productive: Proven Secrets From Robert Cialdini [Barking Up the Wrong Tree]