4 Bad Habits That Are Holding You Back At Work

Robin Schwartz

4 Bad Habits That Are Holding You Back At Work

It is not uncommon for people to become blind to some of their behaviors and practices. When these behaviors begin to reflect negatively on you, it’s likely others are aware of them and even impacted by them.

Slipping into bad work behaviors can do serious damage to your career and workplace relationships. Knowing how to identify your bad habits and take the right steps in correcting them will help you preserve your reputation in the office.

Falling Down The Social Media Black Hole

There are many temptations out there on the internet. If you have an office job, you can be assured your system is constantly connected to the pitfalls of the internet. While we all need this connectivity to remain productive in our work, it can also prove to be the greatest weakness many of us have. It takes only a few minutes of checking your Facebook feed for you to start clicking on articles, lists, or searching through some old friend’s photo stream. Before you know it, you’ve jumped over to someone’s Twitter you don’t even know and over an hour has escaped you.

If every time your boss or a colleague walk by your desk they see Facebook up instead of the excel spreadsheet that’s due in an hour, you’re going to quickly gain a reputation as someone who shrugs off their work.

How To Break It: While easier said than done, you have to become more disciplined when on social media. Close out Facebook or Twitter pages completely instead of leaving them in the background. Turn off notifications for group chats or Facebook posts. Put your phone on silent/mute as well! The temptation to retreat back to this social media hole isn’t just on your computer screen, but your phone as well. If you’re really have an issue breaking the habit, set specific times you’re permitted to access social media accounts like over your lunch break.

Being Late

Those who suffer from chronic issues with lateness don’t just tend be late coming in to the office. These people are often the ones who are “just a few minutes” late to phone conferences or meeting well. Constantly being a few minutes late indicates to your co-workers that their time isn’t a precious as yours and it won’t be well received. Your supervisor is also none too pleased to know that they can’t rely on your being at work when you’re scheduled.

Regularly having an issue with being on time reflects in one’s productivity. It takes these people longer to get ready to start the day and longer to get caught up on what they missed.

How To Break It: Only you can be ultimately responsible for showing up on time. You can’t expect others to remind you. If you don’t set Outlook or other calendar application reminders, start now. If you hit snooze 3 times in the morning resulting in your being 10 minutes late every day, buy another alarm clock or use your phone as well. You need to create the visual or audio reminders that work for you. Most importantly, you need to acknowledge that your behavior affects others. You’re not the only in your workplace.

Poor Planning

Everyone works a little differently and with different motivations. Some people insist having less time to complete work makes them more productive while others will tackle a task the moment they receive it. Whichever you are, you need to plan accordingly. If you don’t have “to-do” lists, flagged tasks, quotas, etc. set up for yourself, you’re likely not planning your work out enough.

Failing to plan can lead to procrastination or, worse, failing to complete the task at all. If you’re in a position where you’re being given the autonomy by your supervisor to decide when you work on tasks, you need to show him/her you can be trusted to do so.

How To Break It: Take advantage of the calendar systems available to you. Block out sections of your day to focus on certain recurring tasks or deadlines that need to be met. Don’t leave work without creating at least a basic “to-do” list for the next day to ensure the most time sensitive or urgent items are handled.

Saying “Yes” Too Much

Saying “yes” can benefit you in some situations. For example – you’re give the chance to work on a new project and really show a skill set your supervisor or colleagues haven’t seen before. You want to be cautious you’re not become the go-to person for others to drop their extra workload on. That’s going to quickly become unattainable for you.

Saying “yes” isn’t just about willingly taking on more work. If colleagues stop by your desk to ask if you want to grab a coffee, go to lunch, go for a walk, take a break, etc. and you always say “yes”, some might start to wonder if your workload is enough to keep you busy. Just like you shouldn’t be the one willing to shoulder everyone else’s extra work, you shouldn’t be the one willing to drop yours that quickly either.

How To Break It: Before you say “yes”, think about how it will impact what you’re currently working on. Have discussions with your boss if you’re concerned taking on another task or project will negatively impact your current ones. If someone asks you do something for them, consider discussing your current workload with them. Colleagues might hesitate to ask you to do more work if they know how full your plate already is.

And before you say “yes” to walking to get that fifth cup of coffee, really try to think about how much of your time has been spent socializing or not doing your work. Set yourself specific break times and stick to them.

Most importantly, we need to realize that our behaviors affect others in our workplace. Hanging on to bad habits and not being willing to fix them can have a negative impact on our reputations and careers. Take some time to think about what habits you have that may be holding you back and make a plan to break them.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz has nearly a decade of experience providing HR expertise to employees and management in higher education. Her broad experience includes benefits, compensation, performance management, employee relations, payroll, talent acquisition and management. She received her masters degree from American Military University and maintains a PHR certification.

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