Part of Starbucks’s national design strategy is to have all of its stores appear more or less the same. This has probably occurred to you before, but maybe the reason why this is so smart has not. A cue for a habit doesn’t have to be just a specific time or activity, it can also be a specific environment.
When you get into your car, you probably go through most of the driving routine as a habit without really thinking about it. When you get to work, you probably have a starting routine that you go through that’s become a habit. Starbucks wants you to see a Starbucks, walk in, and have the familiar environment cause your habits to take over and make you order your 5$ frappuccino.
No matter where you go in the country, the Starbucks’s will look the same, and you can use this to your advantage.
Creating the Habit
Next time you really need to get some work done, go to Starbucks. As soon as you get there, sit down, start working, and don’t let anything distract you until you’re done. This might be kind of hard if you’re someone who’s used to being distracted, but trust me, it will get much easier. Once you’ve done your work, leave and go back to what you were doing.
Repeat this a few times over the course of a week. Every time you really need to get something done, go to Starbucks and plow through it. Don’t let anything distract you, don’t bring anyone with you, and don’t do anything besides the work that you went there to do.
The more you do this, the more ingrained the habit will become. Your cue will be arriving at Starbucks. Your routine will be sitting down and immediately plowing through work. And your reward will be the satisfaction of getting all of that work done. You’ll have developed a reliable space where you can go in order to be highly productive, and after a few difficult sessions of plowing through the work against your desire to procrastinate, you’ll become able to do that without thinking about it or having to exert any willpower.