Do You Use Habits to Your Advantage?

Worker in production plant on the factory floor

We build habits all the time, both good habits and bad ones. And there’s tons of research data that provides insights about how to build a new habit or break an old one. There are plenty of misconceptions about habits that you can find on the internet or in the self-help section of a bookstore, like the belief that you can create a new habit in 21 days. If you’re really interested in changing your habits (or those of your crew), you’ll benefit from understanding a little about the research and psychology of habits.

How To Change Your Habits In Order To Benefit Your Work

One straightforward way to influence your habits is to deliberately manipulate the friction surrounding the actions that make up habits. Professor and author, Wendy Wood writes about this concept in her book, Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick. The basic idea is to make it easier (reducing friction) to do the things you want to do and harder (increasing friction) to do the things you don’t want to do. For instance, say you’re trying to be more consistent about keeping good, usable job site notes.

You can reduce friction that makes it difficult for you to build your habit by:

  • Buy a dedicated notebook or journal for your notes (and we can help you with that!).
  • Keep that book or journal handy all the time — maybe with your phone so you remember to take it to onsite.

Alternatively, you can create friction in order to make it more difficult for you to bypass the habit you’re trying to set. Creating friction may mean:

  • Create a disincentive plan where you have to give $5 to your partner for every day that you neglect your job site journal.
  • Reduce scratch paper on your desk or in your truck. File invoices and receipts right away. Throw out empty envelopes and napkins. Without other paper around, you’ll be more likely to use your journal for taking notes.

How you can reduce friction to build your habit by incorporating the Online Library into your safety program:

  • Bookmark the Login page:
  • Find your password and log in before you need a different Safety Meeting—if you run into problems, call our office for help.
  • Start seeing the Online Library as another safety resource.

Occasionally when you review the Meetings we’ve sent for the upcoming month, you may find that one title just doesn’t apply to your crew and the work they are doing now—we get that and we’ve got your back! Remember that you have unlimited access to the Online Library during your subscription.

Safety Meeting Outlines Log Books

We said we could help you find a great place to keep your notes. As it happens, Safety Meeting Outlines publishes excellent Daily Log Books. You can order yours or find out more by visiting our Construction and Maintenance Daily Log Book web page.

And please note that Safety Meeting Outlines doesn’t get any compensation for mentioning Dr. Wood’s book; we just think it’s helpful and cool.

Construction Health