One way to get better is by hacking your habits. Habits are things you do without thinking about them consciously, which makes them a lot easier to hold on to.

If-then planning is one way to string good actions together. By linking different things or attaching a specific time to certain tasks, it will become a habit which you’ll execute automatically. A bit like it is really difficult to change the order you put on your socks (try to change that habit for a couple of days, it is hard).

If-then planning can also be a great way to get you back on track if you’re distracted at work.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • If I go to bed I read one page in a book before I go to sleep
  • If it is 4pm I will review my mailbox to see if there are any urgent messages I need to get to
  • If it is Friday afternoon I will review my calendar from past week and next week to close any loose ends
  • If I’m distracted by colleagues I will set a timer and focus for at least 5 minutes on the next task at hand
  • If it is Tuesday morning, I’ll go for a run
  • If I’m offered something to drink, I’ll pick something without sugar
  • If it is 10 PM, I’ll switch off all devices to get ready for bed
  • If I get out of bed I’ll drink a glass of water

By connecting certain activities with these “hooks”, learning a new habit or changing a behaviour can be a lot easier than with a statement like “drink more water”. What would be a simple if-then rule to add to your current list of habits today?