Optimize Your Daily Routine with 7 Habit Hacks

• Jun 3 2015

On the weekend I was hanging out with Pavlok’s Head Habit Hacker — Justus.

First stop was a pub where they had one of those basketball arcade games.

Why did we spend Saturday night feeding $1 bills into Hoop Fever?

It’s a way to make exercise fun (shooting balls, aiming for high scores), and that helps build the habit.

FYI, I’m terrible at sports — but that doesn’t matter — 326 missed shots is still a good arm workout.

And that is just one way our Head Habit Hacker optimizes his off hours.

For today’s post, I asked Justus to share 7 more habit hacks you can build into your daily routine.

Here’s his list…

1: Tea and Burpees

One of our teammates taught me this. When you put on a pot of tea, do some pushups, or better: some burpees. This hack includes two of our favorite principles of habit-change: triggers and routines.

When Pavlov rang the bell, his dogs salivated. When you put on a pot of tea, do some calisthenics. The dog got fed, you get ripped.

When x happens, do y behavior, reap z reward.

2: One-Foot Tooth-Brushing

Improve your balance by standing on one foot while you brush your teeth. I’m at the point where I can brush my teeth and floss without leaving my non-dominant foot. I honestly want to bolster my hygiene routine just to take this habit to the next level.

This is a good example of using a challenge to make the habit more fun.

FYI: I’m actually writing this in tree pose at my standing desk (a cooler on a desk).

3: A Journal Silhouette

One of our highest-performing customers has started a consistent writing habit using Pavlok. She has been notoriously creative with her habit-modification tactics.

Not so long ago, she found herself misplacing her journal. The solution to this was to outline the journal’s usual resting place with painter’s tape. Now, whenever the journal’s silhouette is empty, she instinctively seeks the journal to return it.

4: Commit to a Cause

One of the most popular — and most effective — tools for habit change is placing a bet. Our customers often bet medium dollar amounts ($200-2000) on their behavior.

If the client is successful, they spend the money on an awesome trip or other reward.

If the client fails, the money can be forwarded to a charity they wouldn’t normally support (since we can’t legally burn currency on camera).

This bet mechanism is generally quite effective. I have not had many clients begrudgingly hand over their cash. Our CEO, Maneesh, is well-known for making ridiculous fitness bets with his friends as well as at least one $10,000 longevity bet with a Pavlok employee.

5: Morning Pages

Big ups to my coach for introducing me to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which introduced me to morning pages.

This habit is very simple:

  1. Wake up
  2. Free write 3 pages
  3. That’s it.

This is one of the best early-morning habits for turbo-charging creativity on a daily basis. If you’re not familiar with free-writing, it’s simply writing whatever comes to mind with no concern for content or substance.

6: Cleanup Time

I learned this one from a master of organizational psychology, a kindergarten teacher.

To encourage collective cleanliness:

  1. Acquire the attention of a group by clearing your throat.
  2. Announce cleanup time.
  3. Play a block-rocking-beat.
  4. Start cleaning and don’t quit ’til the music stops.

This is the best way I’ve found of getting engineers to clean their workspace.

7: Celebrate Every Win

Take a moment and pat yourself for reading through this entire post. Most things don’t get finished. The fact that you made it this far is a small win and you should celebrate it.

Now use that win as momentum. Get off the computer and make something. Be something!

Have a favorite habit hack? Share it in the comments below.

This post was written by Justus Eapen, Head Habit Hacker at Pavlok. For more of his writing, you can follow Justus on Twitter.

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Habits, Technology & Behavioral Change