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List of Good & Bad Work Habits for Your Career

In: How To

Your education, skills and experience are important factors for having a successful career. Yet, your daily habits and actions are equally important. No matter how qualified and skillful you are, if you display poor work attitude, show up late, and aren’t willing to help others, you’re likely to be overlooked for a promotion.

Cultivating good workplace habits will help you improve your professional reputation, get more productive and organized, and open new paths for career development. At the same time, you should focus on eliminating bad, counterproductive habits. Today’s guide from the resume writer NYC will list the top habits you should develop as well as those you need to get rid of.

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The psychology of habits

Before we proceed to listing the exact work habits, let’s define what a habit is and how it’s formed. Habits are created through learning and repetition, often in the course of pursuing a certain goal. Our brain starts to associate certain cues with behavioral response, and then this response happens automatically. On average, it takes 66 days to develop a new habit. Which means that the process of changing your habits at work won’t be fast, but as soon as you adapt a new habit, it will become a part of your personality.

Top 7 bad work habits

Your pathway to building helpful professional habits starts with eliminating bad ones and professional misconduct. Check if you have one of these bad habits, and start fixing them immediately:

1. Showing up late

One of the most popular workplace sins is tardiness. You may show up late because you have a solid reason for that, but if you appear at the door when your colleagues are up to their ears in work, it’s a warning sign. Being late a few times a month communicates lack of organizational skills and probably little interest in your job in general. Moreover, the statistic claims that 1 in 5 employees fired someone because of tardiness.

2. Taking frequent breaks

It’s true that regular breaks improve productivity. Yet, you still want to come across as a hard-working, reliable employee. And if you leave your desk every hour to take a walk, have a coffee, or chat with a friend from another department, this isn’t sending the right message. Not only it prevents you from concentrating on the task, but also other colleagues who don’t take breaks at all might be cross with you.

3. Dressing unprofessionally

Casual environment is not an excuse to look sloppy in the workplace. Even if there isn’t a strict dress code in your organization, you need to look tidy and stick to more conservative outfit choices. This is especially important if you work in the customer-facing position. Untidy clothes send the message “I don’t care much about the position and the company” which isn’t the impression you want to make.

4. Being not organized in the office

Cluttered desk with tea cups, piles of papers and markers everywhere make not the best of impression. Yet, poor organizational skills aren’t only about having a messy desk and a cluttered desktop. Do you forget to send a clarification email or submit an important project according to the deadline? Do you struggle to find the contract on your computer or show up for meetings unprepared? Then, you might want to reconsider this habit.

5. Negative attitude

Your attitude at work is contagious, and this explains why people like to be around positive, enthusiastic coworkers. If you often complain about things, gossip or display other signs of negative attitude, this isn’t going to help you climb up that corporate ladder. Moreover, it makes others less willing to work with you. If you tend to be negative in the office, you can change the situation by restraining yourself from negative comments and offering solutions instead.

6. Poor communication

Communication skills are essential not only for sales reps and social media managers. Poor communication skills lead to misunderstanding, which results in late delivery of projects, setbacks in teamwork and tense workplace relationships. If you respond to work-related emails late, don’t listen to opinions of others or argue with others, it’s a sign that you need to work on this issues. Good communication abilities are valued by employer and can help you find a graduate job faster.

7. Being too talkative

An occasional chitchat can relieve the stress, but you should know when to stop. Nobody likes the annoying colleagues who dominates all office conversations and meetings and distracts other team members from work by breaking into their cubicles. Not only that, talking too much instead of working during office hours means that you are less productive than your coworkers, and communicates poor work ethics.

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Top 7 productive work habits

Have you noticed one or more counterproductive habits about yourself? It’s time to replace them with good habits that will drive your career forward. Take a look at the positive habits you might want to develop:

1. Block unnecessary distractions

Distractions are what prevents us from doing work on time and staying focused on business activities throughout the day. Your smartphone, chats with colleagues, unscheduled breaks all serve as distractions, so you might want to get rid of them. Put your phone aside and tell your colleagues not to disturb you when you’re focused on an important project. Thus, you’ll get more things done and gain a reputation of a dependable employee.

2. Get organized and punctual

Organization and punctuality go hand in hand. If you plan things carefully and set reasonable time frame for completing each activity, you’ll find it easy to deliver result on time. So, be sure to create to-do lists, prioritize tasks, and set deadlines. Use the planning tools that appeal to you most. Some are comfortable with a plain paper to-do list while other prefer calendar with reminders on their smartphones or even the project management software.

3. Learn to accept criticism

Feedback about our work helps us understand our weaknesses and areas for growth. So, it’s pointless and counterproductive to react negatively to criticism. Instead, learn to accept it with gratitude and ask more questions to better understand what exactly you need to improve about your work. Here you’ll find some strategies to respond to criticism productively.

4. Aim to search for solutions instead of complaining

If you are unhappy about something, whether it’s about your responsibilities or how something works in the company, restrain from whining and complaining. Instead, come up with the idea of how this can be improved. In this case, you’ll be seen as a proactive employee who is looking to make things work better rather than someone who is constantly dissatisfied with somethings and annoys others with their complaints.

5. Don’t gossip or badmouth others

Talking behind the back of some colleague or even boss is the nerve-wracking way to make mundane office days more enjoyable. Yet, it’s best for your career to stay away from office gossip and intrigues. Gossiping can destroy relationships within the team or between you and your boss and eventually cost you a pay raise or a promotion. Thus, the rule of thumb is to remain neutral and focus on work.

6. Ask questions and seek help

If you don’t know how something work, it’s better to seek help of a colleague. Asking for help when you need it can save you time and prevent you from making a mistake that may be costly for company. Moreover, seeking guidance on professional matter improves relationships within the team and helps others feel better as they share their expertise.
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7. Be willing to take on extra responsibility

Career progression begins when you step outside the comfort zone and take on the new and unfamiliar responsibility. If you are asked to lead a new project or to replace for an absent boss, don’t reject this offer. Thus, you’ll show your loyalty for the company and willingness to go an extra mile, which is always valued. You’ll also get invaluable experience which can lead to you to a promotion in the future. And even if it doesn’t you’ll definitely earn new skills that you can add to a resume.

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