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15 Poor Work Habits to Break in 2015

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Updated By: Nikki Saar on Fri, Jan 09, 2015

New year, new you, right?

January is the month that many people decide to set goals to better themselves for the next 365 days. Whether it’s going to the gym more, eating healthier, spending less time staring at the computer screen, or spending less money, many people have some sort of personal improvement goals they would like to achieve.

Resolutions List

When setting New Year’s resolutions, many times people look at their personal lives. The question I ask you is if you ever set resolutions for your work life? Do you want to spend more time getting to know your coworkers, earn a raise, or be more productive? We spend more time at our jobs than anywhere else in our lives, so it only makes sense to set goals around this aspect of our lives too. How do we go about this? Breaking bad habits is a place to start.

Everyone has habits. Literally everyone – if people say they don’t they’re lying. Whether it’s checking social media before getting out of bed, watching Netflix for hours on end without even realizing it (totally guilty of this), or having a sweet treat after dinner – habits are a part of life… even at work.

Do you spend a little too much time checking social media throughout the day? Are you always a few minutes late arriving each morning? Little things add up. To better your work life, I suggest you start with avoiding these 15 poor habits in 2015:

1. Talking too loud (or too much)

Let’s face it – some people are just louder than others. It’s a fact of life. The problem with speaking too loudly in the workplace? It’s distracting. What’s also distracting is when people talk too much. People who wander around creating conversations with coworkers are not only getting less work done themselves, but they are also distracting their coworkers from their work as well. Limit both of these, please.

2. Complaining

Everyone has their own workload. Complaining about yours doesn’t help the matter whatsoever. Instead of complaining about what you have to do, create a plan of action and work diligently. Work is work and has to get done one way or another. Complaining will not change this – it just annoys everyone.

3. Showing up late

Missing your alarm once or twice is bound to happen, but there are those people who no matter what they do are always late. Ten minutes, five minutes, even one minute – it doesn’t matter. Being late is never a good habit to get into, and if it is a habit, it needs to change immediately. Punctuality isn’t going anywhere, and it’s more important in the professional realm than anywhere else.

4. Being addicted to social media

Social media…oh so addicting. Browsing social media has it’s time and place, and the workplace is not it. One minute of checking Facebook can easily turn into 30 minutes without even realizing it. Keep social media outside of the workplace, but if you really need to check it, try just looking during lunch breaks.

5. Having poor email communication

Email is how people communicate nowadays. Avoiding your email because you don’t know how to use it or are overwhelmed with how many emails you receive is not an excuse. Communication is extremely important and checking your email frequently and responding to emails timely is essential.

6. Having a negative attitude

Like complaining, negative attitudes are not workplace friendly. At Leighton Interactive, we actually have a jar that people put money in if they are negative. It really makes you conscious of what you think and say and creates a positive environment.

7. Always procrastinating

Let’s be real, procrastination does more harm than good. Some tasks may seem daunting, but they need to get done. Procrastination creates stress and can impact coworkers work if it’s a team task. My advice? Create a plan with steps that are achievable. It makes the task less daunting and helps you get things done little by little. 

8. Never leaving your desk

Some days are crazy busy, but making sure to get up and move around can work wonders. It gives you a few moments to stretch and allows you to take a mental break so you can concentrate better.

9. Being unsocial

Some people are more independent than others, I understand that. Regularly not talking to others, avoiding work involving teams, or never being a part of work activities (inside or outside the office), creates a divide. Work involves working, but it also involves socializing. Finding a balance is key (even if you are more on the shy side).

10. Never asking for help (or helping others)

Being overwhelmed is not a good feeling. If you need help with something, ask. And if you have a light workload and your coworkers need help, be a good human being and ask if you can help with anything.

11. Not eating throughout the day

Never underestimate the effects nutrition has on work productivity. Your brain needs nourishment to think properly. Being hungry can lead to irritability, tiredness, and headaches, and no one wants any of that.

12. Never cleaning your desk

Clutter can be overwhelming. If you have things on your desktop or laying on your desk that you don’t need, get rid of it. Having a clean space is refreshing and can help with productivity.

13. Not making your space your own

Have a quote you love? Pictures of friends or family? A keepsake item? Personalizing your workspace is something everyone should do. As I said before, we spend more time at work than anywhere else, so why not make it your own?

14. Spending more time thinking about time spent at work than the amount of work you get done

Instead of being the person staring at the clock wishing time away, think about how many tasks you get done. Accomplishing tasks are what keep a company going, not how much time you spend at work. 

15. Not using vacation time

People need to remember that it’s important to take vacation. I know it may mean that you will fall behind, but you will eventually catch up. Taking a break is more important. Work is mentally and physically exhausting, and taking a break can have a tremendous impact on your efficiency at work.

If you have any of these habits, I challenge you to take a moment to create a plan to break them. If not, figure out goals you have and create a strategy to accomplish them. Make 2015 the year of becoming a better employee not only for your place of work, but more importantly for yourself. A new year is a new chance to get things right. Cheers to 2015!

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Nikki Saar

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Nikki Saar

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