Habit Bank

Be Well, Work Well is all about everyday behaviors and habits that fuel our four dimensions of energy – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual — which are proven to help us become our best selves, personally and professionally. The Habit Bank is intended to provide some inspiration for habits that can energize you in each dimension. To maximize your success, we recommend focusing on starting no more than two new habits at a time and trying to keep it up for at least 21 days for it to stick! Share your chosen habit(s) with a friend to help keep each other accountable.

  • Personal: Find the habits that help you feel energized, renewed and more productive.
  • Team: Find the habits that are most meaningful to you and your team.
  • Quick wins: Prioritizing your well-being can start with something as simple as taking a five-minute break away from your screen. Discover quick wins for well-being.

The four dimensions of Be Well, Work Well

Physical icon

Physical

is your fundamental source of energy—your energy expenditure should be balanced with intermittent energy renewal, so you perform at your best in a sustainable way.
Improve your physical well-being with these individual, team and quick win habits.

Stand up for short meetings

Projects usually take as much time as is in the schedule or more – rarely less. The same goes with meetings. Keep meetings quick, concise, and efficient by standing for short meetings. Standing creates a sense of urgency, keeping meetings on topic and to the point. An added benefit – you’ll be more focused and engaged.

Share sleep schedules for team advantage

Discuss the importance of sleep and preferred sleeping / waking times. This will foster consideration of scheduling early/late meetings, deadlines, flights, etc., so everyone meets their physical energy needs, not to find ways to schedule more in the day.

Don’t skip lunch

When you’re busy and deadlines are looming, it’s easy to lose track of time or power through, but skipping lunch leads to lower productivity, irritability, fatigue and a lack of concentration. Prioritize meal time by blocking off time in your calendar.

Physical image

Snack to get energized

Choose snacks high in lean protein and low in sugar and simple carbohydrates (e.g., unsalted raw nuts, carrots/celery sticks, hummus, etc.) to maintain your energy throughout the day.

Hydrate for your mind

Scientists have found that even mild dehydration can lead to decreased cognitive ability and a negative impact on mood and stamina. So don’t forget to drink eight cups of water a day (64 oz). Keep a glass of water at your desk and refill it every hour (which also is a reminder to get up and walk around!), or use a large water bottle to track your daily water intake.

Move it, move it

If you’re feeling tired, stressed or fidgety at work, you may find relief in a rather unexpected place: exercise. According to this blog, employees who exercise during the workday are more productive, happier and have more energy than those who don’t. Take a break and get active, even if it’s just standing up doing a lap around the office once every hour or two.

Get more sleep

Commit to getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night. An hour more of work is not worth one hour less of sleep. You’ll find yourself feeling healthier, more productive and cultivating better relationships.

Wind down before bed

Make your bedroom a serene, comfortable, and electronic-free zone. Add a new ritual: a cup of herbal tea, a hot shower or bubble bath, a few minutes of reading (nothing suspenseful!) or meditation. Quality sleep sets you up to have a more productive day tomorrow. In the end, you’ll end up getting more done and will feel less stressed.

Track your sleep

Do you wake up feeling tired? Are you having trouble falling asleep? Track your sleep to see how you can change your habits to promote a longer and more restful night’s sleep. Note when you go to bed and when you wake up, along with any medications or supplements you are taking and caffeine intake. Over time, you should notice trends that will illuminate habits you should change, such as no coffee after 3 p.m. 

Park your worries

If you struggle to fall asleep because you can’t shut your mind off, put a pad of paper and a pen beside your bed. Whatever you’re worrying about before you go to sleep, write it down. Do the same if you tend to wake up in the middle of the light. This is a powerful way to calm your mind, freeing up memory in your brain so you can get a better night’s sleep.

Track what and when you eat

If you find you’re eating too much or you are skipping meals too often, log your eating habits for a week. Tracking what, how much and when you eat is the first step to changing your eating habits.

Bike to work

Make your commute earth-friendly and reduce your carbon footprint by biking to work at least twice a week.

Schedule a workout

Schedule a workout in your calendar and make it happen. Breaking a sweat has a variety of health benefits, such as lowering stress levels and increasing energy, which help you stay focused and feeling positive.

Physical icon

Emotional

is your internal climate from which you act and react—your emotions impact your performance, the higher your reservoir of positive emotions, the more resilient you are.
Improve your emotional well-being with these individual, team and quick win habits.

Show your appreciation

People who practice gratitude consistently report greater physical, emotional and mental well-being. Make a habit of thanking your team members for their help throughout the day. Send a thank you note, text or tweet someone. Be specific about how they made an impact. Encourage your team members to recognize others too.

Share in the laughter

Have a daily laugh with your team. Encourage everyone to share a fun fact, some trivia or a funny video clip each day and take a break to enjoy each other.

Emotional image

Spend time outside (or look at pictures of nature)

Stepping outside for 15 minutes a day has been linked to better mental health - and simply looking at scenic photos can increase positivity, happiness and emotional stability. Try a “Vitamin D at 3” break and step outside at 3 p.m. each day or a ‘Pause for positivity’ break and look at a few scenic pictures each day.

Keep a gratitude journal

End your day by thinking of five things that you were grateful for that day. It could be as simple as electricity that powered your kettle, the water you enjoyed today or a client thanking you for your work on a project. Take it one step further by jotting your gratitudes down in a notebook and challenging yourself not to repeat anything.

Notice temptations to respond negatively

Stress is entirely driven by how you choose to react. Tell yourself the most realistically optimistic story and ask yourself: “Is there a more hopeful and empowering story I can tell without denying the facts?” Inform your team members if you catch them reacting negatively. Sometimes we don’t realize we’re doing it!

Periodically check-in with yourself

If you notice you’re feeling tense, take a break away from your desk or task at hand. Set a calendar reminder to check in once or twice a day and ask yourself: Are you rushing for no reason? How tight are you clutching your pen? How furiously are you typing? Are you clenching your jaw? Are your palms sweaty? How close are you leaning into your screen? 

Be curious

Get to know your colleagues so your brain can shift focus for a bit. Encourage participation in discussions about people’s backgrounds, interests and experiences by implementing Cultural Mondays or Team Tuesdays where team members share fun facts about themselves. These activities build a greater sense of community and trust among your team.

Listen

Give the people you're talking to or meeting with today your full, focused attention. At the most basic level, listening makes others feel valued and appreciated. 

Care

Begin a meeting by asking each team member a simple question: “How are you feeling today?” Encourage responses that express emotion and state, not just “fine” or “good.” Sharing what we’re feeling in simple terms helps us to better contain and manage even the most difficult emotions. By naming them out loud, we are effectively taking responsibility for them, making it less likely that rogue feelings will spill out at the expense of others during the day.

Celebrate wins

With each win – big or small – take a moment to celebrate your success as a team. Celebrating can be as simple as pausing for a moment at the beginning of a meeting and giving a round of high fives or can be as robust as a team dinner after the successful completion of a project.

Regardless of what win you are celebrating, taking time to honor the hard work will allow you to appreciate the outcome, recognize the effort that went into the work and spread feelings of value across the team.

Hold weekly team challenges
(team, quick win)

Initiate weekly challenges with your team, rotating who develops it each week to keep things creative. Announce and recognize the winners during weekly team calls. Some challenge ideas include:

  • Workspace challenge: everyone takes a picture of their workspace and the team votes on who has the coolest or most creative one.
  • Steps challenge: set a step goal for the week for each person to work toward.
  • Cooking or baking challenge: create a cake or special dish, share pictures of your creation and vote on whose looks the most appetizing.

Schedule a virtual lunch or social hour
(team)

Stay connected and maintain team relationships by scheduling a virtual lunch, coffee break or happy hour with your team. Use video so you can see each other and enhance the virtual experience.

Sit in a new workspace
(personal)

Spend part of your work day experiencing the new workspaces around you for a change of scenery to help spark creativity or recenter your focus. When working from home, test out different rooms, work by a window or try an outdoor space. When working in the office, try a private ‘telephone’ booth, group booth, comfy chair or walking desk.

 

Physical icon

Mental

is your ability to drive focus and direct your attention at will—your attention is like any other muscle, the more you train it, the stronger it gets.
Improve your mental well-being with these individual, team and quick win habits.

Set time limits for every task

Setting a time limit for every task no matter how small can make you incredibly efficient in maximizing time at work and checking items off your to-do list.Care

Begin a meeting by asking each team member a simple question: “How are you feeling today?” Encourage responses that express emotion and state, not just “fine” or “good.” Sharing what we’re feeling in simple terms helps us to better contain and manage even the most difficult emotions. By naming them out loud, we are effectively taking responsibility for them, making it less likely that rogue feelings will spill out at the expense of others during the day.

Hold device-free meetings

Check your cell phones and computers at the door when participating in a meeting – except for the person leading a presentation or taking meeting notes.

Turn off smartphone notifications

The constant dinging of emails, reminders, texts, tweets, etc. is distracting and interrupts your concentration. Turn notifications off to give yourself the space to focus on one thing at a time. You can always turn notifications on if you’re expecting something important or aren’t in a place where and when you’re trying to concentrate.

Emotional image

Manage your inbox

Resist the urge to continually refresh your inbox. Set specific times to manage your email to allow for absorbed focus. Share when you plan to manage your email by including a note in your email signature and/or with an autoresponder.

Disconnect from devices

Try a ‘no phones during lunch’ or a ‘device-free commute’ to give your mind the space to renew and unwind. And, try turning off your chat and email alerts at intervals during the day to allow yourself a distraction-free, focused sprint to complete a task or to simply mentally re-energize.Turn off smartphone notifications

The constant dinging of emails, reminders, texts, tweets, etc. is distracting and interrupts your concentration. Turn notifications off to give yourself the space to focus on one thing at a time. You can always turn notifications on if you’re expecting something important or aren’t in a place where and when you’re trying to concentrate.

Meditate

Incorporate meditation into your work day. Start small with three minutes to quiet your mind by focusing on your breathing. This will release tension, refresh your mind and prepare you for what’s next. Meditation is great for stress reduction, a powerful way to connect to your inner wisdom and genius and an effective way to train your focus and attention. Be patient - it takes practice to stop the mind chatter.

Help co-workers manage their time

To help others manage their energy and priorities, put an “action/input requested” line complete with due date/time early in the body of an email when asking others for help. This will enable them to quickly see any action and deadline and not have to read the entire email unless they need further context.

Test assumptions

Foster an environment where team members can freely voice concerns regarding requests or deadlines perceived as unnecessary or unrealistic. Achieve this by initiating daily discussions on priorities and be a champion for your team in challenging unnecessary or unrealistic requests.

Step away from the screen

Taking a break from the task at hand helps your brain refresh and  work harder and more efficiently. The most effective breaks are spent away from all screens. And, the best break of all is one that makes you feel good – so whether it’s a 20-minute power nap or a 10-minute stroll, know that your brain will always benefit from a little ‘"me" time.’ And remember, hold yourself accountable for setting boundaries to make sure it happens.

Just breathe

Practice some simple breathing techniques: Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of three; hold your breath for a count of two, and; exhale completely through your mouth for a count of six. Embed it into your day. Include a short breathing exercise in your meeting agendas.

Do one thing at a time

Practice doing only one thing at a time for a day working your way up to a week. This means no scrolling through emails on your phone while waiting for your coffee. Keep only one browser tab open at a time and keep a minimum number of programs open on your computer at a time to address a single task. Try to work in uninterrupted 90-minute sprints before taking breaks.

Read a book!

Reading is not only rewarding in itself, but it's also a great attention-building practice. Begin with a subject or genre that demands less absorption and work your way towards books that require more focus. The practice will quiet your mind and lengthen your attention span.

Learn something new daily

Successful leaders are linked by one common thread – they read and educate themselves daily. Dedicate yourself to constant learning. It's mentally stimulating and broadens your knowledge. Make your commute and/or lunch breaks a learning session. Even 15 minutes a day can add up.

Do the most important thing first

Most of us have the highest energy and the fewest distractions at the beginning of the day. Decide the night before on the most important task for the next day. Try to do it first thing for 60-90 minutes without interruption.

Limit the number of team members in meetings or on calls

Keep meetings and calls small. Other team members can always get up to speed via a shared meeting notes that tracks all meeting notes in real-time (when possible) and any post-meeting actions.

Plan for time off
(personal, quick win)

Don't let your earned time go unused. We need to take time off to renew and those who take time off to recharge are healthier and happier than those who don't disconnect from work. Plus, having time off on the calendar gives you something to look forward to!

Cleanse your calendar
(personal)

Each month, review your calendar and think about which meetings are critical for you to join, which can be held without you and consider saying ‘no.' Also, look at personal obligations that fulfill you and those that drain or stress you and find a way to reduce or restructure your commitment.

Create a 'no email' zone
(team, personal, quick win)

Set ‘no email’ zones with your team (e.g., no emails between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.). Leverage the 'schedule send' feature within Gmail to schedule emails for the next morning. Be mindful that your recipients may be in different time zones from you!

Delegate one task a week
(personal)

Increase your delegation skills by reviewing your responsibilities and identifying one task each week to delegate to someone else. Delegating creates capacity for yourself and provides development opportunities for others.

Develop a shutdown ritual
(personal)

When working from home the line between 'home' and 'work' can become blurred. Create a shutdown ritual as a mental signal that it's the end of your workday. Examples include shutting down your laptop, signing out of chat, not checking emails past a certain time each day or scheduling an errand or workout at the end of your day.

Lead with an open mind: Assume positive intent
(personal)

Assuming positive intent at work means to consciously choose to believe our coworkers are operating with the best intentions in mind. Take a pause and look at the situations you encounter today. Is your internal story positive or negative? When we choose to assume positive intent, we find ourselves more times than not, having better relationships, higher quality communication, stronger bonds of trust, and the opportunities for growth and rewards are plentiful.

Respect and protect personal time
(personal, quick win)

Block your calendar and/or agree as a team to no emails, calls or hangouts when you need guilt-free, uninterrupted time to renew, including on evenings and weekends. And, unapologetically stick to your plan!

Work in focused sprints
(personal)

Incorporate 25 or 60-90 minute work sprints into your week to focus on a client project, learn something new or check off that item on your to-do list that's been lingering for a few weeks. Close your inbox and shut off notifications so you can focus on the task at hand more easily.

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Spiritual

taps into your individual core values and purpose—you serve yourself and others best when you act in alignment with your values.
Improve your spiritual well-being with these individual, team and quick win habits.

Put it on your calendar

Put the most important tasks for your day on your calendar. By doing this, you’re more likely to actually spend time doing what’s important to you. Block time for activities, such as diving into a new podcast to learn something new, calling that friend or colleague you’ve been meaning to connect with or reflecting on how to achieve your personal and professional goals. Use reminders like your phone alarm or calendar reminders to hold yourself accountable. Invite a coworker or friend to do the same for greater accountability.

Decide what not to do

Rather than saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity, consider your values and purpose to make a conscious decision about what you do and don’t need to do or be a part of. Understand what is important to you and use it to filter through opportunities and tasks, allowing you to prioritize, hone in on and seek out those that connect to something personally meaningful.

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Be intentional about your daily goals

Create structure in your day by establishing daily goals to help set the tone for your day, no matter the setting. Start every day by identifying what's most aligned to your purpose and goals. By setting your intention each day, you consistently are connecting your work back to your greater purpose – a powerful source of spiritual energy. 

Set aside “me” time

Replace 15-20 minutes of TV, social media or other similar activities with something that enriches, recharges and/or renews you, such as: sharing a random act of kindness or reading a new book. Remembering how energized or fulfilled you feel after doing more meaningful activities will make you think twice before scrolling through a social feed.

Remember your larger purpose and impact

Place a visual cue at your workspace — physical or digital — that reconnects your work to a larger purpose. Maybe it's a thank you note from a client or colleague or a personal or team photo. No permanent workspace? Update your desktop background image or add a digital sticky note reminding you of your “why.” 

Focus on the positives

Rather than focus on the aspects of your job that you enjoy less, think about the aspects that you find most challenging and meaningful and create a plan to spend more time doing those activities. Rather than always leaving those aspects as a reward after completing less fulfilling tasks, use them intermittently to fuel and refresh you.

Take inventory of “extra” obligations

Each quarter, make a list of your current voluntary activities and involvement — at work and in your personal life. Think about which ones fulfill you and which ones drain/stress you. For those not meaningful to you, consider transitioning one of the other activities to something else that contributes to your sense of purpose.

Ask “why” for context

On your next project, make sure that its greater purpose is clear; if not, ask why it is important and the role it will play in achieving broader project, team or practice goals. Make a habit of talking about “why” with your team.

Take stock of your relationships each week

Consider what relationships and/or types of relationships are most fulfilling in your work today. Is it being a mentor or mentee? A trusted advisor? A loyal friend? A reliable teammate? At the start of each week, find a meeting or project already on your calendar or to-do list (or go seek them out!), giving you an opportunity to build on a relationship that matters to you.

Amplify your impact

To begin each week, reflect on one area of your work or personal life where you want to make a bigger impact. Identify meetings, tasks or other projects already on your week’s schedule that can help you amplify your impact. You can do this by teaching someone something new, better understanding the needs of those around you or seeking out the expertise of someone outside of your team.

Find growth opportunities each week

Think about activities that help you grow, personally or professionally. Review your calendar and task list at the start of each week to identify three growth opportunities. Those could be asking for feedback from your team, having a colleague share their favorite tech tip or experimenting with a new approach or process.

Do good, feel good

Giving back can have a positive impact on you and your community. Volunteering builds empathy, strengthens relationships and makes you happier. Find a cause that you're passionate about and share your skills. Find volunteer opportunities within your organization or community and make a difference.

Contact us

DeAnne Aussem

DeAnne Aussem

Leadership Development & Well-being Leader, PwC US

Cecilia Tse

Cecilia Tse

Director, Well-being Strategy Leader, PwC US

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