Nigerians disagree on just about everything – the economy, corruption, security, everything! But we can agree on one thing: we all come into this world the same: bare, unaware, afraid.
After this entrance, our life simply becomes an accumulation of habits – from how early we get out of bed to our morning routine, how we dress, exercise, walk, work, interact with others, and even what we think about and how we respond to things that are happening. In essence, our habits are shaping our lives. And they are either taking us toward or away from our goals. I know this first hand.
Mine is a story of a young man who after seven years of career stagnation, worked my way from a banking officer to a bank executive in another seven years! From the first seven years to the second seven years – the time period was the same, the circumstances were the same. So, what happened? I was not the same!
Here’s a list of 7 productive habits I learnt from my mentors Rotimi Adelola and Akinsola Akinfemiwa that boosted my productivity, and turned my life around!
Knowing your Why
There are two important moments in a person’s life – the day you are born and the day you know why. Once you know why, you can endure any “hows” on your way to building a career or business of your dream.
Otherwise, you will feel stuck and overwhelmed. So take time each week to visualize your why, and align your daily actions with it.
Goal setting gives you a sense of direction toward achieving what you really want out of life. That’s why people who succeed have goals and people who have goals succeed. It is important to take some time to set your goals.
Writing Down your Daily Tasks
Once you’re happy with your goals, it’s time to break them into small daily actions and write them down on a list, step by step. This will help you focus on actions and habits that will help in achieving your goals, while keeping you from being distracted by irrelevant pursuits.
Making use of Your Transition Times
In Lagos, people spend up to two hours daily commuting to and from work. This equals ten hours a week, and five hundred hours in a year. That’s over twelve-full, forty-hour weeks. This is the equivalent of a university semester. So, you can become one of the best-educated people in your profession, simply by listening to educational audiotapes to and from work every day!
Committing to Continuous Learning
On average, knowledge in every field today doubles every 2 years. This means to be even, you have to double your knowledge base at least every 2 years. I remember Mr Akinfemiwa once said to us in a direct report meeting, “Read at least one book a month to keep up the pace of learning and refine your personality.” He was right. If you’re not continuously learning, you’re falling behind. Find time to learn a bit more every day.
Accepting Responsibility for Everything that Happens to You
I use to complain about unfair company practices and lack of promotions. I remember once saying to Dr Adelola, “Sir, management promised to elevate me within 6 months; it has passed and counting!” “Mike,” he said, “it is not what happens to you that determines your future- what happens happens to everyone – the difference is what you do.” Accepting responsibility allows you to take control of your productivity and your life.
Setting Aside a Quiet Time Each Day
If you are like most people these days, everything seems urgent – between the house, children, career and business – there is never enough time in the day. But setting aside a time each day, in quiet contemplation, allows you to reflect on what has happened during the day, as well as help cause adjustments in your daily actions and habits towards the direction of your dreams.
Now, it’s your turn. In five years time, you will surely arrive. The question is where? If you are thinking about building your productive habits, now you know what to do. Let me know your thoughts or any challenges you might be facing with building your own productive habits; I will read every single one of your mails.