3 July 2019

Let’s define Anchor Habit in a simple way

Anchor habits are those core functionalities that you will do every day knowingly or even unknowingly.  Anchor habits are those habits that are recurring and imprinted in your DNA. As for example, you wake up in a certain time in the morning, take your breakfast with certain food items etc. These are anchor habits.

Take an analogy. An anchor is used to prevent a water vessel from drifting by wind or current. Anchor keeps the vessel in its spot so that it doesn’t drift away too much. Similarly, for human, anchor habits keep them in their intended direction. Even if you lose your direction due to some unavoidable circumstances the anchor habit will bring you back to the original course.

Anchor habits can be more than one depending on the situation you are dealing with

  • Let’s pretend one of your anchor habits is getting up early in the morning. If you develop an anchor habit of early morning wake up you are actually getting a kick start of the day. Early morning wake up means you are getting your stuffs done when most people of the world are still sleeping or just preparing for work. The extra time you are getting could be applied to your work projects, to your music practice, to your freelance time, to your fitness workout or any other activity you like.

Now, this anchor habit is actually working (yeah, silently) to improve your productivity. As you are leaving bed early you are getting several turbulence free hours and are able to finish so many tasks.

  • If you are a ‘stay at home’ mom one of your anchor habits could be keeping the house clean. No matter how your day starts you will work hard to make your house clean even in the subconscious state of mind. Sometimes you may have a meeting outside or guests may arrive at your house. In that case, you can’t start cleaning right away because you will have to deal with them. However, when you are finished with the guests or with the meeting your anchor habit that is imprinted in your DNA will push you to clean the house even in late hours. That’s the power of anchor habit in increasing productivity.
  • In the workplace, your anchor habit could be responding to emails instantly and keeping your inbox clean. You don’t need any complex email sorting system to develop this anchor habit. Simply read an email and if it doesn’t require any further action for the moment move it to the ‘processed’ folder. Use your mail search bar to find older emails, it’s easier than anything else. Sometimes, due to excessive workload you may find it difficult to respond to every email instantly or you may not get the time to clean the mailbox properly. However, as you have built an anchor habit of dealing with the inbox you will do it as soon as you get a small interval. This anchor habit will keep you up-to-date of what’s happening in your workplace. And in the process, you will be more balanced, more organized and more productive.
  • Anchor habit is also helpful for maintaining a good social life and managing your finances. You can make regular phone calls to friends and families who are living far away or you can schedule a date night in every weekend with your spouse and kids.

Similarly, you can develop a habit of reviewing your accounts, checkbooks, cash in hand, credit card bills and utility bills on a monthly or fortnightly basis. This anchor habit will help you in making quick adjustments as needed.

Defining your anchor habits is important

You already know that anchor habits may vary from person to person. In order to boost your productivity, it is vital that you know your anchor habits and use those subjectively. Here are some quick tips on how to do that:

  1. Make a list of few top anchor habits and keep it visible always. Whenever you need a boost in productivity go through the list and recite it loudly.
  2. Be able to notice when you stop doing your anchor habits. If you stop your anchor habits even for a few days it suggests that something unusual is going on. Take some time to identify what’s going wrong and adjust it.
  3. When you are off track from your everyday goal get back to the anchor immediately. Start waking up early in the morning, clean the sink, make phone calls to friends, organize your email or do your exercise. These little things will reinforce your anchor habits and you will be able to get back on your highest productivity.

Final thoughts

Life is not always fair and all of us drift away from our goals every now and then. You have busy schedules, you get sick, you take business trips & pleasure trips or just simply forget to get back to your routine. No matter what it is crucial that you should get back on track with your productivity goals as early as possible.

Anchor habits are extremely powerful that help in boosting the productivity and take you where you want to be in our life. Even when you try to develop a new habit it is useful if you can pair it with one of your anchor habits. This will reinforce the productivity and make the new habit permanent.

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