Whether you’ve found a new job, are moving up the ladder, or simply wish to revamp your work style for the months ahead – it helps to assess the habits that have brought you success, and those that only hold you back.
Breaking off bad, yet routine behaviours can be a challenge; but with enough practice and discipline, you’re soon bound to see improvements in both your workplace performance and employee or colleague relationships.
Avoid letting toxic habits sabotage your career path. We explore the five most common work habits to break this year, and how to get rid of them for good.
Procrastination and wasting time
It’s the classic beast we all battle: procrastination and all her loyal distractions.
Whether it’s getting distracted by the latest memes on Instagram, or getting caught up in extensive catch-up sessions with your colleagues, wasting valuable work time is a common issue for any employee – though easily remedied with the right change in mindset.
Rather than leaving your “procrastination-prone” tasks up in the air, try scheduling them at the same time each day, forming an eventual daily habit of tending to (or even completing) them. Establishing this disciplined routine can also easily thrust you into a daily state of “flow”: a mental status of deep engagement and focus. Also known as being “in the zone”, this is an ideal trance to be in when working on critical tasks, though damaging when misdirected at time-wasting activities.
With most of us now working from home, procrastination can be more challenging than ever. Avoid abusing this privilege by setting up a dedicated work environment free of noise and distractions. This can range from having a simple, quiet desk in the corner of your room to having a full-blown home-based office. Make it a frequent habit to check in with your peers, assuring them you’re on top of the week’s tasks.
Going hand-in-hand with our first point, having a clean, organised schedule can help beat the desire to procrastinate.
Experts recommend planning out your workday on the evening before, allowing you to “hit the ground running” as the morning rolls around. This includes plotting out your “to-do list”, your incoming deadlines, and critical projects that need priority attention. As mentioned, be sure to have a set, constant schedule for those most prone to procrastination; an ideal time being your valuable morning hours. As explained by professional organiser Ramona Creel, “Get it out of the way first thing, before you do anything else; and even if you don’t accomplish anything else, you will still have had a productive day."
Using collaborative calendar and scheduling apps, such as Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook Calendar, can also help keep you on the ball.
Organisation doesn’t stop at having a prioritised schedule, however. Having a tidy, uncluttered workspace can also foster the right focused, productive mindset. Psychological research shows that visual disarray hampers our concentration just as much as mental disorganisation, on top of causing higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Taking the time to clean up your work environment – whether an office desk or your entire bedroom – can thus lead to a higher quality, more efficient work performance.
Having a poor work-life balance
As millennials and Gen Z’s continue to make up the vast majority of the global workforce, these generations have increasingly shown high levels of stress, anxiety, and workplace burnout. The phenomenon has been a striking new focus among younger workers with the prevalence of smartphones and our interconnected, online culture.
However, while research shows them to be the prime demographic affected, studies on the mental health of corporate Australia reveal nearly one-third of workers (31%) struggling from “unsustainable workplace stress”.
The ability to properly balance one’s work and personal needs is crucial, as neglecting this often results in both mental and physical distress. Your work performance, as a result, can suffer significantly.
As you carry out the week’s tasks, be sure to check in on your health-related needs: are you eating healthy, substantial meals each day? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you setting aside the time to exercise? When left unchecked, even essential routine habits can fall by the wayside – such as neglecting your hygiene or professional appearance. While one may sacrifice these to get more work done, doing so can ironically leave a negative impact on your workplace reputation.
Holding a negative (or toxic) attitude
Finally, maintaining a positive, friendly attitude is necessary to succeed in the workplace.
Though it’s easy to fall prey to the stresses of work, dwelling on the negative will do favours for no one. Going back to our previous tip, working on healthier, personal habits can help you ease or manage your stress – this includes having a quality diet, sleep, and exercise routine. Focusing on the “positive side” of situations may sound simple, but can be a highly effective boost for your overall mental wellbeing.
Additionally - should you find yourself amidst conflict or frustrating circumstances, practicing clear, honest communication can often be the best tool for keeping negative emotions or responses at bay.
Being your own worst critic is also an all-too-common issue, and can typically result in a defeatist or toxically competitive mindset. To combat this, it may help to frequently review your goals, reminding and rewarding yourself for your achievements and adjusting other plans to create more realistic, achievable targets. Though it requires practice, it’s best to drop the habit of comparing yourself to others – instead using their successes as motivation to further your personal and professional development.
Goodbye bad habits, hello new skills!
As you bid farewell to bad behaviours and past routines, it’s worth replacing these old practices with new skills and expertise.
Upskilled offers a wide selection of online courses across Australia’s top industries – from careers in community services to in-demand roles in the information technology sector. Lead by veterans of their chosen field, students can acquire the necessary training they need to stand out among competitors in the job market.
Build your ideal work skills in place of old, damaging habits – and enquire with us on a course today.