It's Time to Completely Check Out: Why Operating on Autopilot Can Actually Increase Your Performance
What do you and an automated machine have in common? Much more than you realize.
Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, automation has helped industries produce more, more efficiently; maximizing yields and minimizing costs.
Just as we have done with robots, you can automate yourself to yield exponential results in your personal and professional performance.
By repeatedly completing a habit loop based on cue, routine, and reward (The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg), we can decrease the level of personal effort (energy, time, money, error) to produce our desired performance results.
This means that the more of our daily decisions and activities that we can engrain into habits, the less mental effort we will expend contemplating how to bring about the results, the more efficiently we can mechanically complete functions, and the more consistent our results would be - just as it is with machine automation.
Companies invest billions in process improvement through both machine and people automation and as a result, reap exponential Returns of Investment. According to Mordor Intelligence, the business process management market will be valued at $4.78 billion by 2026 because of its "potential to increase productivity and significantly reduce costs".
If you just look at the organization you work for, you’ll notice that much has been standardized for you to simply plug and play and get on with your day. And where it is not, there is much time, money, and energy wasted trying to figure out and put out fires where streamlined processes would have driven better results.
Companies aren’t the only ones. Athletes, musicians, circus performers, and many other groups of individuals who must perform routine functions to bring about a predetermined result, also invest significantly in creating predictable, repetitive actions that yield maximum results with the least amount of effort.
In your personal life, you too have used the cue-routine-reward habit loop since childhood to brush your teeth, tie your shoe laces, prepare your clothes, etcetera.
Take tooth-brushing for instance; you probably respond to a cue that tells your brain to go brush your teeth, and while at it, you follow a routine you’ve had for years. Once done, you receive a reward (fresh mouth, no fuzzy film) that gives you a sense of fulfillment and motivation to do it again next time you get a cue.
Now that you have mastered brushing your teeth, you spend very little time, if at all, thinking about whether or not, when, or how to brush your teeth, you just do it - on autopilot.
Which areas in your personal and professional life are you currently struggling with delivering desired results?
You can apply the same habit loop concept of cue-routine-reward to trigger yourself to start, process, and reinforce habits that improve personal and professional performance so that rather than go hard, you can largely check out, allowing yourself to operate on autopilot as learned habits produce the results you want.
It’ll take discipline but once mastered, you won’t even give it a second thought.
One of the definitions of “discipline” is: “training oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way”.
When you google the word, “mastery”, it is defined as, “control or superiority over something”.
Note that the “training” results in "mastery"; doing something “in a controlled and habitual way”.
This means that you can discipline, or train yourself to form habits.
According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, in her book Switch on Your Brain, it takes three cycles of 21 days to form and cement a new habit in your brain. A little investment to yield a lifetime of positive results.
This is what the best-performing companies and best-performing people do - they invest in identifying the areas that need streamlining into predictable processes so that they can efficiently yield maximum results.
Do you want to grow and distinguish yourself in your field?
Develop personal habits and work processes that allow you to automate results excellence.
A Forbes article writes, "operational excellence is key to scaling [and] process excellence is one of the key elements to operational excellence". This is as much true for organizations as it is for individuals.
Wouldn’t you love to be able to reduce costs (time, energy, financial, relational, reputational) and still deliver maximum results?
You've seen the difference automation has made in industry and even your workplace. It may be time to invest in behavioral automation to create habits that allow you to deliver excellence at work and in life.