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Build Tiny Habits: They Can Be Surprisingly Powerful: Productivity Tip from Chris Messina

Takeaway: The smallest habits like looking people in the eye during conversations can be your most effective productivity tools.


Chris Messina, UX Designer at Google and the inventor of the Twitter hashtag is improving his communication skills with the habit of making eye contact with people during conversations. Say what?

Messina has all the tech and tools at his disposal to increase his productivity yet he chose to focus on building a simple habit…and he’s completely right for doing so. Making eye contact has been shown to increase your effectiveness during conversations. Studies found that the appropriate gaze can increase your success in face to face meetings like job interviews and improve your chances at love. It’s a brilliant productivity hack because it’s so simple and easy to do.

About a month ago (early days still I suppose!) I started tracking a new habit to look people in they eye when conversing with them. Seems simple and obvious, and I’ve observed that many people seem to already do this naturally (if not intensely!) but for me, I’d realized that I’d look down or away when talking, like I wasn’t owning my words or explaining something in a rushed, confusing manner.

I don’t know if anyone actually noticed the change, but by taking the time to slow down, observe my behavior, adjust it, and look people in the eye, I feel like can articulate my ideas better, connect with my audience more directly, and employ more of my senses when interacting with others. I’m still experimenting with this, but if I can communicate more clearly with my peers, the result is that we’ll both be more productive.

More productivity tips from entrepreneurs:

Evan Williams: Workout When You’re Least Productive
Erin McKean: Schedule Easy, Small Tasks as Work Breaks
Loïc Le Meur: Meditate – It’s the Productivity Trick People Are Afraid to Talk About
Joel Gascoigne: Optimize Your Daily Routines
Buster Benson: Experiment with New Habits Regularly
Marshall Kirkpatrick: Hack the Science of Behavior Change

There is one thing that all of these entrepreneurs have in common: they’ve all built habits using Lift. 

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