PE #7: What do space rockets, Jerry Seinfeld and early mornings have in common? [free e-book]

PE #7: What do space rockets, Jerry Seinfeld and early mornings have in common? [free e-book]


How to create a habit

Welcome to WAHD Productivity Elements (PE for short). This is a seven part series related to different productivity elements that are important to internalize and apply in every work at home dad’s (WAHD) daily life.

Each part of this series focuses on one important element (nutrition, systems …) that is needed in order to keep a WAHD as productive as possible.

Every post focuses on one certain WAHD group and contains an interview regarding that particular group member.

Not only is it important to understand these elements, but it is also important to realize how these elements are used in real life scenarios.

Previous posts on this series:

“A habit is something you can do without thinking – which is why most of us have so many of them.”  ~Frank A. Clark

Meet Joe. Yet another day has passed and he feels exactly like in any other day: he hasn’t got any work done.

Paper piles are growing on his desk, deadlines are looming for a couple of personal projects and his inbox is filling up with emails.

Yup, Joe has been procrastinating. This is causing him to feel unsatisfied about himself.

Joe knows he needs to get his work done, yet he doesn’t seem be able to find enough energy to take care of those tasks in a timely manner.

Don’t just blame the conditions

One part of Joe’s problem is the time he has available for his work. His family takes up quite a bit of his time during the evenings, so he doesn’t have any time to work on his personal projects.

Even if he does manage to work during the evenings, his kids distract him as soon as he turns on his computer. Constant interruption is a reality in his household and he knows that it is impossible to focus on his work.

Joe’s low energy levels form another part of his problem. He is very tired when he gets home from work and the last thing he wants to do is turn on his computer and start working again.

Lack of time, lack of energy and distraction: Joe thinks that these are the causes of his procrastination and the growing pile of paper on his desk.

Unfortunately, Joe won’t solve his problems by blaming his external conditions. Something else has to change first.

Let’s check your routine

We’ll notice something very interesting when we start analyzing Joe’s behaviours and his current results (or the lack of them).

Joe seems to have a routine way of doing things every day: he wakes up at 7.30am, takes a quick shower, grabs some toast and some coffee, then heads to work.

He might go to the grocery store and buy some food for his family before he comes home from work at 6pm.

As soon as he gets home, he might drink a cup of coffee and watch some television. He feels kind of “numb” and tired after a long day at the office.

After watching television and drinking his coffee, Joe’s kids start to pulling his sleeve and beg him to play with them. Joe has also some catching up to do with his wife: he needs to ask how her day was and whether the kids behaved nicely during the day.

The evening follows the same routine as every other day: dinner with the family, put the kids to bed and watch a show on the television (the Game of Thrones).

Finally, Joe spends a couple of moments talking about the events of the day with his wife until they turn the lights off and get some sleep.

I bet you know how Joe feels, so I have a question for you. Can you guess the two magic words that describe his situation accurately?

Yes, it’s ineffective habits.

When you look closer at Joe’s day, you will realize that his life consists of many unproductive and ineffective habits. These habits seem to eat up the majority of Joe’s day, thus lowering his energy levels to zero.

By replacing a couple of ineffective habits with productive ones, Joe’s well-being and productivity would improve dramatically. In other words, he might have a chance to keep his desk clean of the paperwork if he’d make some changes in his life.

Do you have any habits to help you?

Some habits are formed very easily while it’s very difficult to make others stick. I bet you’ve also found that it is much easier to slip into bad habits than to form good ones.

While you can create a bunch of bad habits, it is also possible to create new and powerful habits that will change your life.

For instance, these are the good habits that I have created for myself in the last few years:

  • Becoming an early riser
  • Eating healthy (thus losing weight)
  • Exercising daily
  • Becoming more productive
  • Reading and writing on a daily basis

There is one habit that connects all these new, powerful habits on my list: the replacement habit (I replaced old habits with new ones). When you decide to replace an older habit with a new one, miracles will occur.

Even if the change is only a minor one, it can still yield massive results in the long run.

That’s the real power of habits: if you keep executing them consistently, they will change your life – for better or for worse.

Here’s how Joe changed his life

Here are the elements you need to master before you can start a new, successful habit:

1. Awareness: realizing that there is a need for a new habit or replacing an old one.

2. Motivation and mindsets: having the right mindset and motivation to learn a new habit.

3. Preparation: making small preparations to execute your new habit every day.

4. Launch phase: deciding on the optimum date to start a new habit.

5. Execution: executing the habit consistently using the right tools to help.

6. Exceptions and allowance: preparing for some exceptions to your new rules and allowing yourself temporary breaks from your good habit.

7. Triggers: being aware of what makes you want to get rid of the old habit.

8. Support group: selecting people to support you, if you slip back into your old habit.

The previous 8 points are just an overview of the steps you need to take. If you want to learn the specifics of learning a new habit (with an example of how Joe fixed his situation), download my free e-book to find out more:

A boring task

All you have to do is to right-click the book cover and choose “Save Link As”  (Chrome/FireFox) or “Save Target As” (Internet Explorer) in your browser!


Creating new habits requires work, but with proper planning (and with the information I provided here), the process should be easier a bit more straightforward.

Grab the e-book now and start forming new successful habits!

  • Very cool list Timo! Very cool name (Timo) as well!

    In reference to #1 on it, I think one of the most important questions you can ask in order to become aware of your auto-pilot tendencies is, “What am I doing when I’m not doing what I need to be doing?” Are you texting? Are you looking at your Facebook notifications? Are you playing solitaire on the computer?

    The answer to this question is the problem when you’re doing it unconsciously in the place of what needs to get done.

    Next you can ask, “What am I getting from that?” Is it feelings of connection, release, love, security, significance, joy, etc.?

    And then ask, “What can I do proactively do to get these feelings as a result of a conscious and deliberate decision to do so?” Schedule into your day an hour that’s completely dedicated to connecting with friends and family. Schedule in time dedicated purely to enhancing one skill set you want to master. Set aside a “Joy” hour where that’s your primary purpose is seeking joy from others or by giving it to others.

    I love how you point out Timo that once you become aware of where you go to hide from productivity and you work to eliminate those distractions from your environment, you end up getting more done and not feeling guilty when you do screw around because you’re doing it at a preset time allocated precisely for that.

    Keep on being a force for good Superdad!

    • Timo Kiander

      Thank you Lewis :)

      I like the idea of a “Joy hour”. Having one would make a big difference in one’s life: I bet your life would feel much more meaningful again :)

      Also, you are correct about those auto-pilot habits: there are a lot of things we do unconsciously, without realizing. Replacing those habits with conscious (and good) ones, can improve the quality of your life quite a bit!


  • You know one of the things I remembered that my professor taught me was that anything you do for 21 consecutive days will become a habit. So if you have a bad habit and you are trying to stop it, try replacing it with a good one and do it consecutively for 21 days and see what happens. I have actually tried doing it and it isn’t an easy thing to keep doing the same thing that you aren’t used to for 21 days, but I strive hard and start from scratch if needed.

    • Timo Kiander


      It is difficult indeed and I would say that the time required depends of the habit.

      Anyway, the repetition is the key. When I’m forming new habits, I try to execute it at the same time every day.