Work and sleep are two of the most time-consuming things we do.
The average American will spend nearly 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, so the way you approach your job can have a huge impact on your quality of being. As Annie Dillard famously said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
Do you want your experience at work to be as happy and anxiety free as possible? If so, perhaps it’s time to put the scalpel to some of your less-than-desirable work habits.
Here are just a few ways bad choices might make your life more difficult at work.
Habits that Hurt You Personally
Sometimes we think we’re too busy to take breaks or grab some fresh air.
But this simply isn’t true. Research shows productivity is highest when people work in “sprints” with frequent breaks (around 90 minutes with 15-minute rests).
Winging it on Mondays
Do you struggle to get down to business at the start of each week?
Devote part of Fridays to making a “start here” list for the following week so you can hit the ground running on Mondays.
A recent CareerBuilder survey showed that 62% of employers say they are less likely to promote employees with a pessimistic attitude.
Avoid complaining (which comes across as unprofessional) or responding to suggestions with negative comments like “that won’t work,” or “I wouldn’t know where to start.”
Even when things go wrong, focus your energy on what you’ve learned rather than despising your situation.
Habits that Annoy Others
Eating Smelly or Loud Foods
While a small snack may be fine, avoid eating foods that are messy, noisy, or smelly to protect your reputation with co-workers. Top stink generators include reheated fish, raw onions, tuna, smelly cheese, and hard-boiled eggs.
Grooming at Your Desk
When you are distracted, do you tend to chew your nails, play with your hair, pick at your face, or pull food out of your teeth? What if the co-worker next to you did this? Yuck. Enough said!
Interrupting or Asking Too Many Questions
While a willingness to contribute can be great, often you may be repeatedly cutting off others without realizing it.
Interrupting is rude and shows a lack of self-control. Similarly, asking an abundance of abrupt questions can be draining or annoying to others. When you need further information, gather a list of questions and pose them in an organized, positive way so you are respectful of others’ time.
Habits that Harm Your Reputation
Using Work Time Improperly
Be honest: while at work, how often are you handling texts, personal e-mails, or private phone calls?
If you think others don’t notice, you’re wrong. While co-workers may tolerate this behavior, it will certainly hinder the respect or opportunities you receive in the future. Keep your personal life out of sight (perhaps tucking the phone away or on silent) and you will be more efficient and more valued.
Distraction or Delays
Why is texting while driving illegal?
Because it’s impossible to concentrate fully on two things at once. If you are jotting personal notes, sending e-mails, or galloping through the fields of your imagination during meetings, it sends an inconsiderate message and communicates a lack of integrity. Come to appointments on time and ready to focus.
Being Nosy or Political
While small talk goes a long way to build rapport with others, avoid uninvited personal inquiries or incessant curiosity that won’t let things go.
And remember, if certain topics are divisive in politics, they’ll be divisive at work. Keep conversations focused on work-related issues to avoid insulting others, hurting your professional image, or causing rifts in your company.