One of the best books I’ve read so far this year is Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s a fresh and modern take on an old idea that comes into focus every so often (30 years ago we had “7 habits of highly effective people”). Habits are a useful lens to examine our behavior, understand why we do the things we do, and gain some control over our lives.
According to this book and the research it’s based on, habits have 4 parts:
- Cue – A sensory experience that hints at a reward (like the smell of apple pie, or a stressful argument that causes a smoker to crave a cigarette).
- Craving – I think everybody knows what a craving is.
- Response – The action. Giving in to the craving.
- Reward – That satisfying feeling which reinforces the habit.
Some habits are good, like brushing your teeth and pouring a glass of water before bed. Some habits are bad, like chewing your fingernails when you get nervous, or reaching for unhealthy snacks when you are bored.
Good or bad, habits can be extremely hard to break. Simple willpower, mind over matter, is not enough for most people. You have to mess with those 4 steps in some way. You can avoid the cue, you can feed the craving with a better alternative (think nicotine gum), you can make it more difficult to perform the response (hide the chips, or just don’t buy them), you can reward your good habits and dream up punishments for your bad habits. There is no room in the post to cover all the nuance – countless books and self-help groups have been devoted to correcting bad habits.
The tremendous upside to habits is that they take a load off our minds. They are how we move certain actions from our conscious mind to our unconscious mind. And thank goodness for the unconscious mind, or else we’d need to worry about every breath we take every time we blink.
Habits get us through the day without mental overload.
Because of habits, we don’t have to think about the order we do things to get ready in the morning, or the route we’ll take to get to work. They are the reason we signal and shoulder check before changing lanes, without really having to think about it.
Have you ever driven a short distance and then realized you can’t remember the trip? That means the route is so familiar and the habit so ingrained that your subconscious took on the brunt of the task (Try not to do this. Keep those eyes on the road buddy).
Applying habit theory to your business
A similar idea to setting up great habits is increasing automation in your business. It reduces mental strain. The less mental strain on yourself and your staff, the better, because that attention can be redirected toward more important matters.
You free up mental space when technology takes care of the tasks that, previously, people had to worry about. Computers were a massive step forward here. A lot of trucking companies have now moved on from whiteboards and paper. Some use Excel spreadsheets to track information and perform complex calculations. Programs like QuickBooks or Sage can help with customer invoicing and basic accounting. There are payroll apps, fuel tax apps, crm apps, dispatching apps, shop apps, and more.
Hmm… that’s starting to sound complicated again, isn’t it?
Now take it one step further
If you believe in the idea of simplifying things as much as possible, then you need to check out Axon Software, which we have developed and improved over the course of 37 years. It combines everything you may need from a transportation management system, to trucking accounting software, to freight broker software.
We know trucking companies get best results by working in one program that specializes in trucking software. We’ve seen it over and over again.
“We’ve been able to reduce our hours, as a staff, by about 30 hours.” — Rob Eldredge, ME3 Corporation
Imagine freeing up 3-4 extra hours in your own day. You can do it – by automating as much as possible.
- Turn your staff into superheroes, who can do twice the amount of work in the same amount of time.
- Get paid faster, when your invoices go out more quickly and you have extra time to spend collecting on older invoices.
- Increase the value of your trucks by finding better routes, lanes, and maintenance schedules.
- Improve your customer service with better record-keeping for info and file attachments.
- Make better decisions, with real-time reports and info on your company’s financial situation.
Contact us now for a FREE DEMO and learn how your company can benefit from Axon Software today, and how you can take a load off your mind!