Want to pick up some good habits? The best approach is to start small.
In the Quora thread “What are some good ‘mini habits’ to practice each day?” readers shared the simple habits you should follow every day to become a happier, healthier, or more productive person.
The best part is, each one takes only a few minutes to complete. Here are some of our favourites:
Brush your teeth and floss
Quora user Pankesh Bamotra says brushing and flossing your teeth not only prevents gingivitis and tooth decay, but it can also save your life.
The American Dental Association recommends you brush twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day. If you don’t, you could be putting yourself at greater risk for developing dementia, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer, among other things.
Smile at yourself in the mirror
Just after you brush your teeth, look at yourself in the mirror and smile, holding the smile for 10 seconds, suggests Quora user Nistha Tripathi.
Dr. Robert Zajonc, a renowned psychologist, believed facial action leads to changes in mood, and in a 1989 study he found that participants who watched themselves smile in a mirror experienced a greater boost in mood than those who simply smiled.
Multiple Quora users suggest walking to work if you can, taking the stairs, walking around the office when you’re stuck on a problem, getting outside and walking during lunch, and walking home again.
The exercise isn’t just good for your body. It can also boost your energy levels, creativity, and mood, too.
Write down the day’s most important task
Also known as ‘eating the frog,’ decide on the one task you must perform that day to be successful and do it first thing when you get to work, writes Quora user Patrick Mathieson.
Make your bed
Starting your day by finishing something and doing it well provides a small self-esteem boost early on. And when you come home tired from a long day at work, there will be nothing between you and a good night’s sleep, says Quora user Rizwan Aseem.
It’s a moment on the lips, but saying ‘no’ can save you so much more time than that.
‘If you do not want to do it, do not have enough time to do it, see no benefit in doing it, just say, ‘No,” writes Quora user James L Moyer.
‘Refusing other people’s unreasonable requests may seem lazy, but it is absolutely the smartest way to manage your time and will free up the needed space for you to accomplish your personal goals,’ Moyer writes.
‘My days go so much smoother when I remind myself: ‘dude, you could just as easily have been born in a Sudanese refugee camp. You’re one lucky mo-fo,” writes Mathieson.
Meditation only takes a few minutes every day, but it can bring many benefits like a decreased risk of mental illness and brain degeneration, increased serotonin production, lower blood pressure, and decreased anxiety, explains Quora user Joshua Raichur.
If you have no clue how to meditate, try simply sitting in a quiet place and counting your breaths. Your focus should be on your breath and not your thoughts, says Nistha Tripathi. Restart counting as soon as your mind distracts you and you find yourself thinking of something else.
All you need is 10 minutes, and the benefits from napping are pretty astounding.
‘I realise many people do not feel they have the capacity to do this (especially working 9-to-5), but I am so much more productive on days that I nap it isn’t even funny,’ writes Quora user Darren Beattie.
Studies have shown that naps improve immune health, energy, cognitive function, and emotional control.
And while on-the-job napping is still considered a faux pas in many companies, Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post and Thrive Global cofounder and author of ‘The Sleep Revolution,’ predicts that in the next few years nap rooms will be as universal as conference rooms.
Until then, plop yourself on a couch or nab a conference room and a yoga for a little restorative shut-eye.
Listen to a podcast
There are plenty of five-minute podcasts out there, and if you can’t sit and read a book, they can be a great way to learn while doing brainless work, writes Quora user Saranya Krishnamurthy. Here are some to get you started.
Dress slightly better than the occasion calls for
‘If everyone at work wears casual clothes, wear casual clothes with a sports jacket,’ writes Aseem. It’s easy to do, you’ll stand out from the herd in a positive way, and important people will take notice.
‘Summon the courage to do something that makes you anxious,’ writes Mathieson, like speaking up during a work conference call or saying ‘hi’ to someone new. As self-improvement coach George Addair once said, ‘Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.’
As soon as you’re done using something, put it back where it belongs, Aseem suggests. This will help you drastically cut back on the clutter in your life and save you the time you would otherwise waste looking for something.
And before you go to bed, pick up the clutter left around one space at a time, he says. This could help you have a cleaner mind, have clearer thinking, and focus on things that you really want to achieve.
Writing every day can help you keep track of your progress, feel good, and stay motivated to make even more progress, Krishnamurthy writes.
Create passwords that inspire
Whether your employer requires you to frequently change your passwords or not, you might consider getting into the habit of changing your passwords each month to include your aspirational goals.
If you had to type ‘[email protected]’ every time you logged in to your computer or email, you might just have a better relationship with your mum, writes Quora user Mauricio Estrella.
You may think that you need at least a half hour to get in a good workout, but, as Business Insider’s Kevin Reilly reports, all you need is seven minutes.
Reilly spent a month testing out the 7-minute workout, a science-backed circuit routine that uses only body weight and was designed by two exercise scientists, Chris Jordan and Bret Klika, to be the most efficient workout.
‘On days I didn’t want to go to the gym it was fantastic,’ Reilly says.
After a quick morning workout, Quora user Nelson Wang says he feels ‘refreshed and focused in the morning. It’s drastically reduces my stress as well. When I have to make hard decisions, my mind is much better prepared since it’s calm and relaxed.’
This story originally appeared on Business Insider.