List of Good & Bad Work Habits for Your Career
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 11 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.
8. Give (and receive) constructive feedback
We’ve mentioned earlier the importance of receiving negative feedback and improving your performance based on it. In fact, you needn’t look at negative feedback as a bad thing. Both constructive criticism and praise helps you and your subordinates work efficiently while paying attention to areas that need improvement.
Giving constructive feedback as a work habit means appreciating the person’s input and efforts while pointing out where certain tasks could be done better. And vice versa, if boss criticizes your work, develop a positive habit of being thankful for their feedback and act on it. After all, good bosses criticize to help you spend time more productively and grow as an employee.
9. Allocate a longer deadline for each project
Many successful people set longer deadlines, especially for important tasks. They know that day-to-day work tasks can pile up, and distractions might intervene.
Imagine a situation when a client expects that social media report by 2PM and a boss approaches you with an urgent analytical tasks. If you’ve set longer deadlines for upcoming tasks and started working on them earlier, you can manage your own work and handle all difficult tasks on time, even considering interruptions. And if you work from home where unplanned distractions can happen, allocating some extra time for everything will help you spend productive time.
10. Set personal problems aside at work
One of the best work habits that many employees should develop is setting boundaries between personal life and work. This workplace habit is essential to stay organized and create environment for a focused, deep work. To develop this critical workplace habit, set physical boundaries first. During working hours, focus on professional tasks of your current job only. Don’t make personal calls, don’t check social media or use search engine to look up for something you don’t need for work.
If you don’t get distracted by personal matters during office hours, you’ll make a better impression on your boss. Moreover, when you are focused on professional tasks only, you will save time and complete your tasks faster.
11. Beat procrastination
Procrastinating and postponing your job duties is not a healthy habit, and it can slow down your professional development. As a rule, even productive people procrastinate when the task looks too complex or rather unpleasant. But not everyone knows how to overcome procrastination in favor of effective working habits.
First of all, you need to break the complex task into small, actionable steps. When you can complete each small step and see the result, it will help you to keep working on the project on a positive note. Experts also recommend that you start your day with the most unpleasant and dreadful task, so that the rest of the working tasks will look more enjoyable.
To sum up, all good workplace habits boil down to the following:
- The ability to communicate effectively and show high emotional intelligence as a team player and build positive relationships with coworkers and subordinates;
- A willingness to go beyond the job description, fill the skills or knowledge gaps and take on an important task to help the company succeed;
- The ability to stay organized even in stressful situations, manage tasks, priorities and deadlines so that colleagues and boss could rely on you;
- Maintaining a positive attitude, actively listen to feedback of others and moving forward in completing certain projects with a go-to attitude.
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