We all do things that are either bad for our personal lives or bad for our professional lives. An occasional slip is problematic, but when certain behaviors turn into habits, they can wreak havoc on your career. Here is a look at ten bad work habits you will want to start breaking today so that your career can take off tomorrow.
1. Skipping lunch
A lot of people skip lunch because they want to look good in front of the boss of because they want to keep up with a colleague who does the same. The truth is that everyone needs a break.
Taking thirty minutes for lunch can actually improve your performance for the rest of the day. It seems counter-intuitive, but taking thirty minutes to rest and recuperate can make you more productive and more creative.
2. Instant email reactions
Sure, email is meant to be fast and you should respond quickly. That said, responding to every email as it comes in can seriously damage your productivity. It makes you feel great, because you are knocking down tangible “to-dos” as they come in, but it is actually making you less effective at your job. Set aside two or three times in a day to respond to email and then forget about it for the rest of your working hours.
3. Being late
Being late is not only a bad habit, it can end your career. Being late, even occasionally, will send the message that you are unprepared, can’t handle your work load, or simply do nщt care about the time of others. It is terribly unprofessional to be late, so just do not do it.
4. Not taking time off
Once again, spending all of your time at work can damage your productivity. You need down time in order to be the best you can be at your job. What is more, never taking a vacation can make other employees resent you and may even irritate your boss. Work hard when you are at work, but play hard as well. You need to rest.
5. Being too introverted
Not everyone is a social butterfly, but that does not mean that you are free to spend all of your time by yourself. Be sure to talk to colleagues in the hallways and go to the occasional after-work social event.
You do not have to love your coworkers, but you do not want them to think you are aloof or arrogant either. A few minutes of chit-chat can really improve your work relationships.
6. Never asking for help
Even if you have everything under control at all times, an unlikely scenario, you should ask for help. People will feel included and useful if you ask for help, especially if you have the reputation of being a person who can get things done. The worst thing you can do is guess on an answer or ignore things you do not understand. Ask for help.
7. Keeping quiet
Not speaking up at meetings and when ideas are being bounced around causes two problems. First, it makes you appear to be unengaged, uninterested, and unprepared.
More importantly, not speaking up in meetings will prevent your good ideas from helping you, your colleagues, and your company to shine. You owe it to everyone to make sure your ideas are heard from time to time.
8. Inappropriate humor
You never know which jokes will be offensive to which individuals. If you like to joke around and have a laugh, remember that things need to be far more “vanilla” at work than in any other place. Do not tell jokes that have even the slightest chance of being offensive.
9. Slow responses
You do not have to respond to every request immediately, but you do have to be timely in your correspondence. The rule for email is that you should respond within twenty-four hours unless it is urgent. If response time affects another person’s productivity, prioritize those communications.
Complaining makes you look bad to the boss and makes people around you uncomfortable. Things change and deadlines shift, but complaining about surprises will not do you any good. Demonstrate your professionalism by rolling with the punches and by avoiding complaining at all costs.
Tackling bad work habits is just one half of the equation for success. To be truly successful, you also need to cultivate good habits like showing up on time, volunteering for extra work, following the dress code, and being a team player.
A great way to tackle a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. So, when you address the issues above, think about how you can convert them into good practices.