Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Breaking Bad [work habits edition]

"Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become character.
What your character, it becomes destiny"

Having bad work habits can affect your overall motivation, credibility, and ability to advance your career. Often times, if someone in your office notices one bad habit, they will be prone to noticing more of your other faults. You don’t want that! Some habits you might be doing unknowingly, or some you already know. Either way, once you are aware- you can change your ways!

Here are 6 bad workplace habits and how you can fix them.


We’ve all done it, and we all know how damaging procrastination can be. In an office setting, you’re working on the deadlines of various other people (each with multiple tasks) so it can be challenging. It’s detrimental to work in such a rush that your colleagues get the backlash. You’ll be the first one blamed and the last one praised.

The fix: Make a to-do list for yourself each day so you know exactly what needs to be done and by when. This visual will help you notice when you start to procrastinate and guide you back on track.

Engaging in office drama and gossip

Yes, it can be cool to be “in the know” but that doesn’t mean you should spread what you hear. You also need to make sure you’re not the one starting the office gossip. Doing either ruins your credibility in the office and can give you a bad reputation. Remind yourself that you’re at work and not on a playground at recess.

The fix: If you hear something, send it in one ear and out the other. Harboring office gossip can make you quick to judge others, and when you spread it, they will be quick to judge you. And of course, if it makes you uncomfortable that someone is gossiping around you then speak up!

Lack of focus

You know you’re not focused, your coworkers know, and unfortunately, your boss knows too. The only one who can change that is you! When you walk through the front doors to your office in the morning, you should be leaving all your feelings, distractions, attitudes, and situations behind if they don’t pertain to work.

The fix: If social media is distracting you, put your phone in a drawer and/or block certain sites from your web browser. Get enough sleep each night, make sure to eat breakfast, and drink caffeine if need be. Break down big tasks into smaller ones and take small breaks to give your brain a breather.


Nobody likes a Debbie downer or a pessimist. Even if your job requires a lot of independent work, you still work for a company that needs to be cohesive in order to be effective. Remember that you’re always part of a team, and you never want to bring your team down.

The fix: Start your day off with something you really love- a bagel, a walk, a funny video- and it will put you in a better mood for the day. Actively try to bring a positive attitude to the work environment.

Eating lunch at your desk

No, no, no! You never want to isolate yourself or immerse yourself in too much work. You need to give yourself a break throughout the day.

The fix: Don’t forget that there is a world outside your office, and you should enjoy it for at least 30 minutes a day. Sit with a coworker, meet up with a friend, or just sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. It can really lower your stress levels and help you focus.

Lack of care

Your current job may not be your dream job, but it’s a stepping-stone to getting you there. It can be hard to care about a job you don’t absolutely love, but your attitude plays a big part in your career advancement. You might not even realize that people think you don’t care! Unfortunately, perception is reality.  

The fix: Small changes can show that you care about your job. Listen fully when someone is talking to you- be fully present. Work on meeting deadlines, saying thank you, and paying attention to the little things (ex: having a clean work space).

Bad habits can hinder your ability to get a promotion, receive a job offer, and can sometimes get you fired. If you’re unsure of your bad work habits, don’t be afraid to ask a peer or your supervisor for some honest criticism. If you notice that you’re developing some poor work habits, set goals for yourself to change things around. Remember, you’re the only one who can change you!

Have more advice on how to fix these bad habits? We'd love to hear it! Comment below:

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