Habits – at least the good ones – tend to help us get big things done that we might otherwise never accomplish.
One of the things I do every day is read a page from “The Daily Drucker“.
The Daily Drucker is a 366 page book of one-page-per-day excerpts from Peter Drucker’s books on business, management, entrepreneurism and leadership – all 36 or so of them.
First Things First
Why should you do something like this?
What do you do now?
Having a routine, a ritual or habit (call it what you will) seems like a good way to start the day. Not only does it go well with coffee, but more importantly, it acts as a transition action that signals your mind that it’s time to switch to “work mode” from “whatever you’ve been doing that morning” mode.
This may not seem like a big deal, but think about your current morning routine a little. You get the kids off to school and/or care for your pets, livestock, clean snow and ice off the car and maybe you run into someone on the way to work who is just now learning to drive. You know what I mean…
The point is, while all of these things are going on, you’re really not in a prime mental state for being productive. Your staff isn’t either, if they’re going through this every day. It might take 30 minutes for your mind to settle down and get focused after all that – even if your office is at home.
Over the years, I’ve learned that even a brief minute or two to read and process what Drucker has for me that day (along with some java) are enough to reboot and refocus after the morning’s activities – no matter how hectic, stressful, annoying, cold, wet or pleasant they might have been. A distinct mindset shift point became useful at first and later became a regular part of my day.
You don’t have to use the same technique, but if you check into the habits of highly-accomplished people, you will find that most of them have rituals, habits and the like that they perform on a daily basis.
Many go through their ritual/habit process early in the morning before anyone “wants a piece of them”. Ever notice that no one wants an appointment with you, or a phone call with you at 5am? While this may not be the easiest time of day for you – it’s more than likely going to be a time when no one but you will ask something of you – even the kids.
These people are at least as distracted by travel, family, daily life and their business as you and I, so they use these rituals, habits and so on to keep them on track and doing the right things. It was Drucker (among others) who reminded us that “doing things right isn’t nearly as important as doing the right things”.
Helping your staff with this can produce massive leverage. If 5, 10 or 30 people start their day in a better, more focused mindset – would that help your business?
Beyond the morning
Daily habits go well beyond the morning routine. What else are you doing every day?
Think about the most important work you have to get done each week. Certainly, the “real work” you do – building things, delivering product, installing systems or parts and providing service – are the things that generate value for your customers, but (for example) the marketing of that work product is what allows that work to find a home.
Has your marketing and sales effort established an important enough part of your day that *something* from this part of the business is done every single day?
What other parts of your business merit daily, habitual attention? Are they getting it? Are they truly strategic or are they “what you’ve always done”?
Be sure that your work habits include personal development. It doesn’t matter if you’re a butcher, baker or candlestick maker, much less an electrical engineer, diesel mechanic or whatever – your business is changing all the time. Keeping up is essential just to stay in the game. Make “getting ahead” a habit as well.
That’s a little bit of the trick to reading Drucker. Not only is it a transition maker, it refines the strategic and management thought process each day.