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    Are bad habits slowing your family down? Simple steps can make you more efficient

    Almost everyone has a habit they wish they could break, and with the kids back in school, there’s no better time than now to identify and break routines that could be slowing your family down.

    It’s hard to break an established routine. But, according to Bing lifestyle expert Lisa Gurry, simple steps to put better habits in place can help you and your kids save time and get more out of each busy day.

    *Identify the bad habits: The first step is identifying what needs to be changed, as many of us don’t even realize just how many habits we’ve formed. Take time as a family to come up with goals and identify roadblocks. Want to cut homework time down to allow for more quality family time? If homework time is anything like family dinner time, your problem might lay with tech habits. According to a recent Bing survey, nearly one quarter of people report it is too hard, or even impossible to break tech habits such as texting at the dinner table or always having cell phones on. Try turning off the TV and putting away cell phones during homework time to increase productivity and get homework done quicker. Quick and easy changes can instantly have an impact and increase focus.

    *Try out alternatives:We may not like them, but we all become attached to our habits and routines, and it can be hard to see alternatives. Trying out new things, even once, can open your eyes to great possibilities. For example, when it’s time to do research for a homework assignment, do you automatically go to the same search engine for help? Most people visit the same sites and use the same resources because it’s what they’re used to. But, is there a better alternative? To see for yourself go to and take the Bing It On Challenge. You might be surprised the impact one small change can make during homework time.

    There are many other ways to shape up your family’s homework habits. Try changing homework time to after dinner instead of right after school, when kids are itching to burn off energy. Or, if children are dragging at the dinner table to avoid doing homework, set a time limit for dinner.

    “Procrastination at the dinner table often led to late-night homework sessions at our house, leaving everyone tired and slow the next morning,” adds Gurry. “To combat the problem, we started using a timer, giving ourselves 25 minutes to eat, once dinner is served. Once time is up, the table is cleared for homework. This minor change has given us back an extra 30 minutes each night before bedtime.”

    *Add in rewards: A great way to overcome bad habits is to integrate a rewards system. If your child usually feels like plopping down on the couch and zoning out instead of completing a reading assignment, give him/her a reward for doing the right thing, such as a call to grandparents or a family bike ride. Rewards are important because they help reinforce good behavior and keep everyone motivated to stick with the new routine.

    Bad habits may be hard to break, but with a few simple steps, you can weed out routines that are slowing your family down and be on your way to a happier, better life.

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