Over the last two months I’ve read two books with titles containing “The Power of,” but have yet to implement much of the power their authors mentioned. The books are The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and The Power of A Positive No by William Ury.
In the case of Duhigg’s book, I haven’t created any new habits although I am able now to more easily identify the habits, mostly bad, that are ingrained in me than I hadn’t taken notice of before. And in the case of Ury’s book, I have learned to be slightly more assertive in saying no, but still don’t say no as positively as I should sometimes.
With Duhigg’s book, the basic idea is identify the routine, experiment with rewards, isolate the cue, and have a plan. I haven’t done this systematically, but in my head I’ve done it and I have the first three parts down, it’s just the “plan” part that I am having a problem with. With Ury’s book, the basic idea is say no but still get to yes. I have done this recently with a little success as I asked for a day off from work, but couched it in terms of spending time with my wife and my boss was kind enough to grant my request.
However, now thinking about it, I was able to plan yesterday at work for a habit I’ve fallen into: getting stressed by the end of the day when we have several more patrons come in to get DVDs right before closing. We have to get the DVDs for them from behind the counter where we keep them because unfortunately we’ve had DVDs stolen. (Before you ask, we don’t have magnetic strips in our books or items; the library is a small town library and to have that done for the collection at this point would cost a lot of money that the library doesn’t have.) As a result, it takes a little time to get the DVDs from a cabinet we have them in, and we have had to institute a policy that we won’t get DVDs after 15 minutes before we are closing. That way, we still can get to our closing procedures and get out by closing time.
That seems simple, but when you have things you have to do to get ready to close, you (or at least I do) can feel a little stressed to get everything done: counting money in a register being one of those things and finding the change to balance the register before the next day. So yesterday, at the start of the day, I suggested to my coworker that whenever we were getting DVDs for patrons, only one of us focus on that, instead of having both of us help patrons, especially within the last hour and when occasionally there can be a line of people (for some reason, seem to wait until the last hour to come) waiting for DVDs. That way, we don’t get scatterbrained and forget to do things like scan out the items, which we sometimes do, or stamp (yes, we still stamp, we have an older population where we live and they like it that way) the items.
At the end of the day, we did just that. I was able to focus on “clearing” the register and she was able to help the patrons, and we both were happier I think as a result. I believe it also helped that the night before, I had plenty of rest and came into work with a positive attitude, saying “no” to any negative thoughts to get to “yes,” yes, I am at work and I’ll like it because to mix the premises of the books, I was looking forward to the reward of going out to dinner (yes, wings) with my wife right after work.
Maybe I won’t implement all the power that Duhigg and Ury discussed in their books, but I guess if I can implement some of what they mentioned, it’s all for the good.
How about you? Do you try to implement the ideas you read in self-help books? Have you been successful? Share your experiences in the comments.
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