July 1, 2011

What makes you effective at work? Perhaps you'd say it is your excellent communication skills, your deep background in your field, or perhaps your ability to think on your feet. Chances are, you wouldn't focus much on your habits. Yet your routines are a powerful force that affects your daily behavior.

Habits are associations that relate aspects of your world to an action. Your brain is a habit creating machine that allows you to perform those actions without having to think. An organized workspace allows you to focus your thoughts on the difficult new problems that you face without having to think about mundane aspects of work like filling out routine forms, pulling out a sheet of paper to take notes, or picking up the phone to answer a call. Indeed, if you move to a new office you probably find the first few weeks uncomfortable because your old habits no longer work and you have not yet developed new ones. You suddenly find yourself thinking about all kinds of simple tasks.

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