Career Development

4 bad work habits and how to overcome them

artice image Bad work habits can hamper your career progression (Shutterstock.com)

Bad habits are an inevitable part of our personal lives. And with the countless hours spent at work they can easily creep into our professional lives too.

But while you may be hyper-aware of your bad habits at home, the office can be a different story. If you’re in luck, your co-worker has probably made you aware of your flaws. If not, we suggest you read through the following bad work habits and how you can kick them to the curb.

Your bad habit: You’re set in your ways

Although adopting an if-it-ain’t-broken-don’t-fix-it attitude may work in some situations, in others – especially the ever-changing work environment - it usually doesn’t work. Contrary to what you might think, sticking to the same way that things have always been done can easily make you replaceable.

How to overcome it

If your career goal is to grow professionally and boost your reputation, making connections with the people you work with, contributing to great ideas and being innovative is the way to go about it. Resisting change often leads to being left behind at work. The sooner you become comfortable with the idea that there is always going to be someone smarter or younger than you, the sooner you’ll adapt to evolving environments.

Your bad habit: You’re Chatty Chatha of the office

You’ve got plenty of work to do but listening in on the latest office drama is more important. While joining in on a little gossip while you wait for your coffee is inevitable, spending hours away from your desk stirring the pot will make you come across as a troublemaker or unproductive.

Read: Career habits that will cost you your job

How to overcome it

You obviously love being in the company of others, which is an excellent asset to have when used appropriately. Instead of worrying about who said what to whom when, use that energy for work purposes. If you’d like to interact with more people, ask your manager for more opportunities to work on projects that will allow you to collaborate with others.

Even a few hours spent working with others will break that need to loom over your colleague’s desk for a not-so-quick catch up session.

Your bad habit: You’re late (all the time)

Whether it’s arriving on time at work or submitting your tasks in time, you're always behind schedule. Whether this is a case of putting things off for the last minute or thinking about how much you have to do rather than doing anything, you need to realise the negative impact your actions have on your performance. Repeatedly missing deadlines or arriving late at work can make those you work with question your reliability.

How to overcome it

Save your reputation by making an effort of arriving early to meetings or returning on time from your lunch breaks. Respecting your time and that of others is one of the most fundamental factors in any business setting. Not only will changing this bad habit boost your reputation, but you’ll command more respect from your colleagues and business partners one day when you hold your own corner office.  

Your bad habit: Social media addict

If tweeting, posting images on Instagram and commenting on quirky posts were a race, you’d win the Olympics. You simply cannot unplug from your social media networks. In the long run this can cost you your reputation and job.

How to overcome it

Engaging in social networks is naturally addictive, and the more you interact on these platforms the more time you want to spend online which leads to distractions. The best way to keep focused on your work is to allocate times to check your social feeds. This will ensure that you settle into your work without being sucked into the trap of wanting more.

If you must get your hourly dose of social media updates, ask your supervisor if you can put your social media skills to good use – for the company’s benefit of course. In that way, you’ll get your social media fix and the company will boost its online presence through your expertise.

For more career growth tips, visit our career advice column.

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