This week I finally kept a promise I’ve been making to myself for ages. I made use of my under-utilised gym membership, to take part in my first yoga class in years.
The teacher started the class by asking us to consider our habits, and how we can suffer by letting those habits rule our behaviour. Whether these habits are dictating how we spend our time – prioritising the desk over the yoga mat – or how we communicate with others, we need to occasionally stop and consider their usefulness.
What are your communication habits?
Whether we’re looking at our personal lives or business, we often let our habits decide how we communicate with others.
Put it in writing
Whether I text or email, my preference is usually to communicate by written word rather than phone. Messages are less intrusive and demanding for those receiving them, and – as the instigator – I get to take my time and check my words before I send.
But there are times when when talking makes more sense – arranging a meeting, discussing a complex issue or when something is needed ‘Now!’ On these occasions I often find I have to push myself to pick up the phone and it rarely hurts.
Skimming the surface
Whether it’s reading or in phone conversation, I know there are times I don’t focus. I allow myself to be distracted thinking “I’ll pick up enough to get by.”
But, how often do you get to the bottom of a page and see reference to something which interests you, knowing you’ll have to go back up the page to find out more?
Or maybe your interest is piqued by a spoken word – or question asked – and you realise you’ve lost the thread of the conversation. At this point you have to choose between admitting your lack of focus or trying to bluff your way through.
Our daily lives are now built around multi-tasking, but sometimes it’s better to concentrate your efforts, making sure you don’t miss something you’ll really value.
Maybe you always read your emails at the same time, always call your parents on the same day, always answer the phone with the same phrase…
I’m not going to suggest that this is necessarily a bad thing – routines can help you make sure things aren’t forgotten, commit to keeping in touch, or keep your message ‘on brand’.
But routines can also allow you to become stagnant and bored – even if it’s your routine. The regularity of the routine might encourage your disconnectedness, or distraction, allowing you to lose focus and interest.
Habits aren’t bad, but we mustn’t let them dictate our behaviour or blinker us to opportunities.
Take this chance to consider the habits you’ve got into, do they work for you? Or for those people you’re communicating with?
Do share your thoughts…