When you’re thinking about goals for yourself, remember to put your work life on the list. What are some of the changes could you make to become a more productive and pleasant colleague? Here are ten bad work habits you should ditch ASAP.
1. Going to work sick: Some people think that if they refuse to take a sick day, they’re demonstrating their outstanding work ethic. Wrong! Dragging your sniffling, sneezing self to the office isn’t heroic, it exposes your co-workers to your nasty germs. The only thing that should be contagious in the office is your good mood. When you’re sick, stay home. The world will keep spinning without you.
2. Being late: If you show up 5 or 10 minutes late for a meeting, you can cause a “domino effect”, which means that meetings later that day may be thrown off schedule because you caused yours to run late. And the people who do show up punctually feel their time is being wasted. There’s nothing fashionable about arriving late.
3. Oversharing: Unless you’re quietly chatting with a particularly close friend, no one at the office needs to know the details of your Saturday night date or your dog’s surgery. It’s important to draw the line between what’s personal and what’s professional. If the whole office knows about your private life, you’re definitely taking the TMI (Too Much Information) route. Don’t go there.
4. Procrastinating: If you’re the “I’ll do it tomorrow” type, it’s time to stop waiting until the very last second to turn in your report or finish your presentation. If you’re constantly delaying, you might be keeping your colleagues from doing their own jobs. And if they have to work overtime because you haven’t gotten around to doing your part, they’re not going to love you for it.
5. Complaining: Everyone occasionally feels put-upon. What not everyone does, however, is share every little grievance with the whole company. The next time you feel the need to complain about a deadline, a client, the weather, or whatever else is bugging you, write it down instead. It will give you a sense of release while keeping you from driving your colleagues crazy.
6. Overusing social media: Social media has become such a huge part of our lives that it’s hard to stay away from our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts at work. But unless you’re your company’s official social media guru, you shouldn’t be checking for updates 20 times a day. It’s an unhealthy habit and the fact that you’re updating your social status during workhours won’t win you any promotions. Do your social stalking during breaks.
7. Being messy: If you abandon your dirty coffee mug in the office sink or leave a trail of potato chips across your shared desk, you will not be voted Most Valuable Team Player. A bit of messiness may seem innocent to you, but it can be annoying for your colleagues – especially if you’re guilty of letting your stuff spill out onto their personal workspaces. Make a pact with yourself to stop being sloppy.
8. Not responding to email: Do you get so absorbed in your work that you forget to check your inbox? Do you sometimes send one-word replies that might come across as rude or abrupt? Your lack of proper email etiquette makes you look unprofessional. Make a point of paying more attention to your inbox and take a few minutes every hour or so to scroll through your emails, dealing with the important ones and making a note of those that can wait until later. Your failure to provide timely responses might be interpreted as disrespect or indifference.
9. Being overly-critical: Sometimes the performance of a colleague or a subordinate requires you to give them negative feedback. But there’s no reason to deal them a crushing blow! You can always find a way to be kind when criticizing someone. If possible, offer a positive comment for every negative one, and be constructive rather than cold-hearted. The person receiving your criticism will appreciate your empathy.
10. Talking more than you listen: Listening is vital for success. In fact, many companies consider it to be one of the most precious soft skills you can possess. Not listening when people are speaking or interrupting them is arrogant and it belittles what they have to say. Teach yourself to pause before you speak, and then show you care about what others think by following your input with a question that invites a response, such as “Do you agree?” or “I’d love to hear your thoughts!”
Bad habits aren’t easy to break, but with a little determination and self-awareness, you can change your behavior and build better, more productive habits.