I’m currently reading a book called ‘The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business’. The book discusses the science behind habits and how we can use this knowledge to alter various routines in our lives. Whether it be poor eating, smoking, or the collecting of excess belongings, much of what we do stems from the process of habits.
If you would like to change a habit in your life, the author suggests you start by figuring out the three things that form what is called a ‘Habit Loop’. First is the ‘Cue’. This is a signal, a feeling, or anything else that triggers the desire for habit action. Second is the ‘Routine’, which refers to the actual act. Finally, there is the ‘Reward’, which is obtained by completing the routine. The reward can come in many forms, but essentially is anything that provides satisfaction. Determining each of these items can be difficult as they are not always obvious. For example, if someone wanted to stop eating a sugary snack in the afternoon, they might realize that the cue is a lull in work and the reward is actually a distraction from boredom, not necessarily the snack itself.
Once you have identified the elements of the Habit Loop, you must then attempt to replace either the routine or the reward with something you feel is more appropriate. To expand on the example, if the sugary snack is causing weight gain, but the real reward is a break from boredom, the person may consider taking a walk with a colleague instead of eating. The cue and reward will remain, but the new routine will provide a healthy alternative.
The reason I mention this book is that the understanding of how habit’s work can help us to change the way we manage organization, time management, and general control in our lives. We often see clients that are overwhelmed by disorganization. I suspect that if they closely examined the habits that form the basis for the problem they could make edits to the loop that result in drastic overall routine changes. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to make changes in how they operate and what they do.