Now that you’ve dusted off your strategy and online assets, it’s time to hone in on your most important asset: yourself. While showering is important, there are many other things that you can do to clean up your act at work.
We all have our fair share of bad habits, but some of them- like the ones that spill over into our careers- simply need to be broken. I am not talking about the bored pen-tapping, the whistling, or the leg jiggling that may annoy your more irritable co-workers (they’ll get over those things, I promise); I am talking about the few that could be detrimental to performance, morale and maybe even your career as a whole.
Bad Habit: Being Late
Have a meeting at 9 am? You stroll into the office at 9:10. Need to be on a call at 3PM? You dial the phone at 3:05.
Being late shows disrespect to others’ time and is a habit to be broken ASAP. It is easy to get caught up in whatever you’re working on or to let a meeting time slip your mind now and then, but if you are a habitual offender, it is time to change that.
Break the habit: Set alerts on your phone or computer so that whenever you have a meeting you will get a five- or ten-minute warning. As soon as the warning pops up, wrap up whatever you are working on and get ready for your next appointment. Once you get into this habit, you may even have time to pour yourself a cup of coffee before those longer presentations!
Bad Habit: Being a Slave to E-mail
This one can completely interrupt your day’s to-do list if you let it. E-mails come through at all times of the day and for some reason many of us feel we need to respond that very minute.
When you have a chunk of time blocked off in your schedule to get a task done, close your inbox. Anyone who e-mails you will likely be able to wait the hour or so it takes you to complete the task you’re working on. Otherwise, you can get caught up in e-mail after e-mail and before you know it, your entire hour went to answering e-mails instead of the task that was nailed down in your planner. For most of us, our daily e-mails can wait. And if it is that important, your co-worker will walk over to your desk, or your customer will pick up the phone and call.
Break the habit: Schedule e-mail into your calendar as you do daily tasks. A little time in the morning when you first get in, a little time mid-morning, time after lunch and time before you leave should suffice. Oh, and while you are at it- unsubscribe to the e-mail lists that you never open; you’ll end up taking more time deleting those mass messages than is worth it.
Bad Habit: Not Having Pride in Your Work
No matter what you do, you should take pride in it. Otherwise, what are you doing it for? This nasty habit could start off justified in your mind (maybe you’re not currently working your ‘dream job’ and you tell yourself you don’t care about this role so it is okay to slack off) but it can end up having a big impact on your career. When you take pride in your work it shows, it makes you feel good and others will probably pass you compliments, which will only increase your positivity in the workplace. If you just don’t care about your work, then the opposite will happen and you will end up feeling negatively about your work and your job.
Not to mention- we all know that old habits die hard, so if you ever do land that dream job, who says that slacker style own’ follow you?
Break the habit: No matter what you do, put your all into it. You might just surprise yourself at how well you can do and how much you can enjoy a position that may not have been your ‘dream job’ going into it.
Bad Habit: Spreading Negative Vibes
Let’s be honest- we have all had those moments where we just need to blow off some steam. But, there are better ways to do it than to bring
everyone around you down. Spreading negativity will do zero good- it will just put a negative spin on everyone’s day.
Break the habit: Go for a short walk outside, listen to a happy song, take a five-minute breather, make a coffee run, do some desk-side yoga, engage a co-worker in a positive conversation that’s non-work related… Do whatever you need to do to turn your mood around, but do it without complaining. Be careful to steer-clear of negativity as well. It is easy to get caught up in even if you didn’t start it.
If something about your job is completely bogus, gather your evidence and present it in a professional way to your manager. That’ll solve much more than the negative water-cooler chitchat.
Now that warmer weather is (finally) upon us, let’s bring our spring-cleaning into the office and make it a point to clear out these detrimental workday habits together. Once these habits are broken, we can all start enjoying the weather, and the more productive and positive weekdays that this spring will bring.