Aristotle famously wrote that excellence is a habit; not a one-time thing, but the accumulation of all the daily practices and rituals you form. In other words, excellence is something that you’re always pursuing, even during your down time and your behind-the-scenes moments.
For leaders looking to become more excellent, then, it’s not all about the particulars of your day job; it’s about the little ruts you get into over the course of your day. The wrong sorts of habits can derail your creativity, your productivity, and your stamina—which makes it imperative to identify and eliminate them.
Actually locating those bad habits can be difficult, of course, but I can think of a few fairly common ones that you might identify with.
Using your phone or tablet while you’re in bed. A lot of busy people like to check emails or simply skim their social media feeds before they nod off—but remember that these electronic devices emit blue light that can actually interfere with melatonin production and keep you from sleeping soundly. Put your devices away at least an hour before bedtime to ensure you’re getting enough good rest.
Checking your phone while in a conversation. This is frankly very rude, and it’s a real turnoff to the people you’re talking to. Ensure that you’re really engaged in the conversation—and projecting professionalism—by keeping your phone in your pocket until the conversation ends.
Surrounding yourself with constant notifications. It may make you feel more productive, more organized to receive a notification of every new email and text message you get, but studies show that notifications can provoke stress and reduce productivity. A better option is to simply set aside part of the day to check your messages all at once, then forget about them for a while.
Providing indecisive answers. When people ask you to do something, it can feel awkward to give them a straight-up no; after all, you don’t want to disappoint anyone. Truthfully, though, indecision can be draining for both parties. Don’t waste people’s time with a maybe or a perhaps. Just give a polite but firm no when you need to—and leave it at that.
Obsessing over toxic people. When you spend all your time thinking about people with poisonous personalities, that poison ultimately spreads to you—so don’t allow them so much space in your head. Make an intentional effort to forget about these folks and think more positively.
Those are five bad habits I recommend you break. A good habit to replace them with is spending time educating yourself. Expand your knowledge base by visiting the ACES page today.