One day, when I was browsing through the daily newspaper, I came across this quote:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”. – Aristotle
And eureka! The long known fact suddenly started making sense to me. When we do something repeatedly, it becomes a habit.
If we repeatedly complete tasks on time, punctuality becomes a habit. If we always listen carefully to people, good listening becomes a habit.If we exercise regularly, maintaining good health becomes a habit. So for a person with a reasonable number of good personal and work practices good performance becomes a habit!
After my graduation in engineering and working for two years in the industry I felt that my career needed a boost. On analyzing multiple career options I realized that my true interest rested in the area of business management.
Earlier as an engineering student, I had a belief that once my studies are over and the day I start to work, I will automatically become a great professional.
Quite contrary to what I believed my experience in the industry taught me that there is much more to work than mere academic scores that we gather in schools and colleges.
Good work is a result of the uniqueness and commitment that each person brings to the table when he or she assumes a task and completes it. And to excel in one’s area of work, good performance should be a consistent rendering and not a one-hit wonder.
When I joined IBS, I knew that I wanted to make the most out of my MBA. In addition to the academics, I was determined to learn the tricks that make people excellent performers. To develop habits that would prepare me for the corporate world, MBA was the best platform to get started. The environment there is similar to any corporate workplace. You are expected to be very professional, you have to learn to work independently and in groups, you are subjected to stress and have to meet deadlines.
Business is based on relationships. People run business. To do business and to be in business one has to know how to relate to people. Networking is one of the key factors in any business. During our MBA we meet a lot of people. It begins with our classmates. They come from different places and different backgrounds. As a nature we tend to flock around with people whom we like or who match our frequency.
We must remember that networking is much beyond personal preferences. Irrespective of what we dislike about a person we must learn to build a neutral relationship with that person. In our career span we are bound to work with all sorts of people. Knowing to build and maintain professional relationships will reduce people-related stress to a great extent in our work life and will keep us focused towards our work.
Communication is no doubt a must have skill. But many people with good communication skill fail to use it to their advantage. Communication is not only about expressing your ideas clearly and precisely it is also about being able to invoke a response from others. We tend to shut ourselves out once our speaking is over. We need to develop the habit of completing the loop by listening and understanding what others intend to say to us.
The feeling that time is slipping away and we are not in control of the work to be done propels us to eleventh hour acrobatics. With lot of struggle and stress we manage to finish the work. But we don’t realize that we are habituated to putting things off until the last moment.
MBA provides an excellent opportunity to break this habit. It gives us an opportunity to set a target, prioritize and plan our work and work according to the plan. Presentations, book reviews, projects need preparation well in advance. Dividing the work in small sections always reduces the load.
Reviewing our work after it is completed is very important. Reviewing improves the overall quality of the work and gives us another opportunity to make changes wherever required.
We are often required to take strong and important work related decisions in our life. Working on case studies, real life examples and practical business scenarios during MBA helps us to learn to arrive at a good decision based on information and facts and not merely on gut feeling.
Professional behavior is expected the day we enter a B- school. Taking care to maintain professional etiquette and dress code clearly reflect on our confidence.
Most of us already that these habits are important but knowledge is of no use unless it is not applied. We always resolve to get started also but we fail midway and drop it all together. The challenge as Aristotle mentioned is to repeatedly do it over and over again.
I found that the below tips are very helpful in keeping us stuck to a habit!
- List: Make a list of all the habits that you think are important.
- Prioritize: Analyze the list and number them starting with the one, which seems to be the most important one followed by the next one.
- Work on only one habit at a time: When we are in a good mood we want to do all the good things at once. Later on it becomes so overwhelming that we let go. Instead start the other way round. Let go of everything else and include just one habit to your routine at a time and stick with it for one month.
- Don’t over do: Do little of it, do it more often. For example, if you have picked up time management skills, don’t pull out all the old pending work and start work on all of it. You will lose energy and interest. Instead allocate some time everyday for your current work and some time everyday for pending work. Over a period of time, you will see that you are up-to date with your current work and you are in control of old pending things too.
- As soon as the month is over add another habit to the routine.
- You are never too late to start again. Whenever you find yourself slipping away, jump into it again.
Found a hilarious note on WatsApp the other day which goes as below-
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last.
Well, neither does bathing.
That’s why we recommend it daily.”
Contributed By : Sanjit Das, Class of 2005, IBS Hyderabad
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