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Ivan Popov

i was once an athlete. then a journalist. now i am a ceo of an iT company. still running marathons though.

I Monitor My Work Habits For a Month - Here Is What I Learned

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Did you know that cracking a joke in the office can lead you to a problem-solving solution?

The majority of people are creatures of habit and I’m no exception. I’ve always found it incredibly useful to monitor a person’s habit — the frequency and the way they execute it and implement it in their day-to-day can often give you a great perspective on a variety of topics.

For instance, how often a person indulges in a habit can give you information regarding what they find important or what they need in order to function properly, both in their work and personal lives.

The type of habit an individual implements can tell you a lot about their personality and what makes them click. For example, if someone chooses often to go for a run after a long workday, we can safely conclude that they have found a great way to deal with the accumulated stress. If someone chooses to crack a joke when things go downhill, we can tell that this person likes to go through issues and problems in a light-hearted manner and always looks at things from a brighter perspective. You get the idea.

Work habits can tell you a lot about your work ethic and work approach — you can also use them to improve and grow work-wise

Surely, habits are present not only in your spare time — as a matter of fact, anyone out there expresses a wide range of habits once they step into the company’s headquarters (or turn on their laptop from home that is!).

It’s the most natural way for things to happen — after all, a huge deal of our awake state of existence we spend working. With time, we all develop certain habits that quickly turn into a work model for when in the office.

The truth is that building a habit takes time, but once implemented, it’s far more difficult to overcome it than to establish it in the first place. That’s why it’s vital for us to carefully observe our behavior and check what activities have turned into work habits.

Because habits can greatly influence our life. If we often engage in activities that make us lose concentration, procrastinate, or continuously avoid and postpone tasks and work-related duties, then we can safely conclude that the habit in question does more harm than good. On the contrary, if we’ve established a habit that boosts our productivity, helps to maintain good mental health, or makes us focus on development and growth in some way, then it’s definitely a keeper!

I figured it would be an excellent idea if I monitored my work habits for a month – I found some astonishing and dazzling results

habits observation

As a CEO of a web development company, I always have to be up to date when it comes to not only development and code but also team and time management, leadership, business, investments, business growth, events attendance, etc.

Since I always aim at improving my skills and abilities, I decided it would be quite useful for me to observe my work habits and see what can I get from them as information regarding my own working model and work ethic. I figured it would be a great source of learning and an opportunity for additional growth.

I spent a month observing my habits at the office. Here’s a quick list of what I’ve come across:

  • I arrive on time
  • I like to engage with my team over coffee
  • till noon I present strong focus and usually deliver great work results
  • at lunchtime, I also enjoy grabbing a bite with my employees
  • cracking jokes is definitely my thing in the afternoon early hours
  • I prefer to schedule meetings with clients in the conference room
  • I try to keep a great balance between my job as a developer and my job as a CEO/manager

I arrive on time

At first, this may sound not much of a big deal, but hear me out. Once I started paying attention to my work habits, I discovered I enjoyed arriving at the office way earlier than the others. Usually, while I wait for my employees to show up, I like to get a clear mind on what the day is about to offer – this is the time I look through my notebook, check my to-do lists, and go over all meetings and scheduled conversations.

Why this habit works: arriving on time is usually a great skill since no one likes people who are constantly late and never show up on time. Building a habit like this makes you far more punctual not only when it comes to working. Besides, I think anyone can benefit from the quiet and peaceful minutes in the morning at the office when no one has arrived yet – it helps you reboot and prepare for the day ahead.

I like to engage with my team over coffee

Once my employees get to the office, I discovered I usually spend some minutes with them over coffee. We engage in small talk, often we discuss a TV show, or how one another’s previous evening went. We almost never discuss business or work during those coffee minutes before the start of the workday.

Why this habit works: as a CEO and a manager, it’s crucial for me to establish and maintain great communication and relationships with my team. Sure, 1:1s and meetings are the main sources of building closure and trust, but usually, then we somehow end up always talking about work. But the truth is your relationship with your employees doesn’t have to be built on your careers only. Imagine you share a passion for Star Wars (as the case is with my team, hooray!)? That’s the kind of thing you learn while having coffee around the water cooler.

Till noon I present strong focus and usually deliver great work results

I’ve discovered I work well when I’m well-rested and able to fully concentrate. This I achieve usually in the morning hours before noon. In those times I succeed at executing the majority of my work as a developer!

Why this habit works: anyone can pay close attention to at what times they feel the most concentrated and inspired to execute tasks. Once you get to know your own work preferences, try training your brain to be at its maximum capacity at those hours. I discovered I find the morning hours to be the most productive and then I manage to deliver the best working results.

At lunchtime, I also enjoy grabbing a bite with my employees

We like to go outside of the office and visit a restaurant close by where we indulge in some delicious meals while discussing random topics and laughing our a***s off.

Why this habit works: as I’ve mentioned above, it’s important to build great relationships with your employees. You cannot simply achieve this if you only discuss work matters. Outside of the office, you can easily turn into good acquaintances. Besides, leaving the office for lunch hour is quite refreshing.

Cracking jokes is definitely my thing in the afternoon early hours

During my self-observation month, I discovered how much I enjoy cracking jokes and boosting everyone’s energy and sense of humor. Usually, we engage in being silly, laughing, and talking nonsense in the afternoon.

Why this habit works: I definitely believe in the importance of a positive working environment. Did you know that a major reason for people to leave their jobs is due to the poor and unfriendly working atmosphere? By keeping a good mood and lifting the spirits of the team, anyone can feel right where they are. Besides, having a laugh with my coworkers certainly helps me to load off some of the accumulated stress and tiredness throughout the day.

I prefer to schedule meetings with clients in the conference room

I discovered I prefer to have my clients’ meetings and conversations in a separate conference room instead of talking in front of everyone at the office. I realized this has nothing to do with secrecy since I share everything with my team after the meeting ends. It’s more like a question of professional approach and attitude.

Why this habit works: well, first of all, if you talk in front of your team, you’ll most certainly interfere with their workflow as you will be concentrating the s*** out of them. Second of all, I believe the client perceives you and your company much more seriously and respectfully once they feel you communicate with them accordingly. Booking a conference room and assuring peace and quiet both for you and for the client is, by all means, a very professional approach to the situation.

I try to keep a great balance between my job as a developer and my job as a CEO/manager

Another thing I discovered is that I cannot escape from my love and passion for coding and web development. Even though I have a great web dev team, I have built the habit to include myself in projects and balancing coding with all the additional tasks and duties I have as a CEO/manager.

Why this habit works: simply put, you never fail to not be up to date with what’s new in your business niche. The majority of CEOs tend to overlook work tasks beyond management and leadership once their business takes off and they find professional experts to join the team. But, more often than not, it’s equally important to be fully submerged in each and every project you have on your work board.

To wrap things up

Habits are great once you make sure they bring out the best from you in terms of skills and abilities. By observing your workday hour by hour you’ll soon realize what your daily work habits are and you can check which ones of them are great and which ones you better abandon as soon as possible. Because, at the end of the day, habits are hard to build but way harder to kill. Nonetheless, they can greatly benefit you in terms of discipline, productivity, and focus.


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