Still Flossing – Building Habits Through Small Daily Tasks

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Everyone starts the day with the same amount of time. No matter how hard some of us try we only have 24 hours each day to be productive.

Why then, is it that some people get a lot more done than others?

It’s all about how you use your time.

Over the past few months I’ve been working to build habits using a system known as dailies.1 The general idea being to break down tasks into small manageable activities you can perform each day.

My dailies range from “learn French for 30 minutes” to “floss”2. I’ve flossed more consecutively than I ever have in my life over the past month. And while I can’t quite hold a conversation in French, I can hold my own reading the language and could get by in a pinch.

Here’s the big thing I’ve learned during this though. We can have the system, but it is no good without a little flexibility.

Everyone is different. And on top of that each individual is different from day-to-day. We have different levels of fatigue, different responsibilities, different wants, and needs each day.

The trick then is to devise a system that has the power to form habits, but to keep things small enough that you don’t spend time beating yourself up if you don’t get one done.

I mean we’re the one that decided to do it or not do it. What’s the point in berating yourself over it and killing your productivity for the next day?

Realizing this has helped me grow my productivity. And by keeping track of my dailies in a spreadsheet I’ve got the stats to back it up.

Since starting on November 5th, 2014 I’ve learned French for over 82 hours. I’ve been active for over 48 hours3 And I’ve written over 13,000 words.4 I’ve published two plugins to I even started a podcast.

Things went so well actually that I expanded my dailies on January 1st. Sure I don’t get all of them done each day5., but I put a little bit of time in here and there and the habit forms. Eventually I start spending more time than planned on each.

Setting up dailies has been a huge boon for my productivity. And tracking it has given me the stats to back it up. Not to prove it to others. But to prove it to myself. And give me the drive to keep pushing.

  1. Try as I might I can not find where I first got the idea from. As soon as I find it I’ll update.
  2. Really more of an every other day-ly for me
  3. Going off Fitbit stats.
  4. And I only shoot for 150 words a day. Think how quickly your novel would come together at 500.
  5. See flossing

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