For the Sake of Your Career: 10 Bad Work Habits You Must Break

work habitsLove your job or hate it. And whether you’ve been there for 10 years or 10 minutes. We all get into routines at work that really aren’t great for our mental health or our productivity. After all, since most of us spend the vast majority of our waking moments at our jobs, it’s tough not to develop certain work habits.

And some of us, intentional or not, develop some toxic work habits that do more than just annoy our coworkers.

You may never truly *love* going to work. But breaking these toxic work habits will help ensure that your work grind is as pleasant as possible.

1. You’re a Negative Nancy

Or a Debbie Downer or a…You get the point. It may seem like an easy way to commiserate with your coworkers when the coffee machine is broken again or that pesky client won’t stop bothering you for a response, but here’s the thing: Negativity breeds more negativity. We all have things about our jobs that we hate. But constantly complaining to those around you brings everybody down, too.

No one is saying you need to be perky and happy all the time. However, giving off negative vibes all the time is not a healthy way to live.

2. You’re the Real Gossip Girl

Let’s be real: A little harmless office gossip can breathe life into an otherwise dull day at work, but  keep it to a minimum. Getting to know your coworkers can help create lifelong friendships even if you end up moving on in time. Constantly spreading gossip, though, is not only a recipe for disaster, it is one of the worst work habits.

Sure, it may be fun to chit chat about the latest rumored office fling. Make it a habit though, and people will find out that you’re the one spreading the rumors. So, they might stop trusting you. And people don’t generally want to work with someone that they can’t trust. You don’t want to end up being the office Lonely Boy, right?

3. You Hit Snooze… Again and Again

If you’re lucky enough to have a workplace or boss you love (and who loves you back!), congratulations! That still doesn’t give you license to show up for work late on a regular basis, or roll into the staff meeting five minutes late (even though everyone know those first five minutes are reserved for small talk and queuing up the PowerPoint presentation).

Part of being a reliable employee means showing up on time most of the time. Of course, things happen, but you should make an effort to arrive on time for most work-related activities. People notice more than you may think they do.

4. You Try to Become Besties with Your Boss

One of the most challenging parts of any job? Impressing your boss. Which makes sense; your supervisor is the person who shapes so much of your experience at work. But even if you are blessed to have a supportive, thoughtful, and understanding boss, always remember: they are still your boss.

No matter the dynamics of your relationships, strive to maintain a level of respect and professionalism. So even if your boss loves hearing about your wedding plans or your new puppy, skip telling them about your wild bachelorette weekend.

5. You Procrastinate… a Lot

Sure, it may seem like no big deal when your work gets done. As long as it gets done, of course. But procrastinating is one of those work habits that is really hard to break, even though you should.

Even if you work well under pressure, procrastinating is ultimately a reflection on your time management skills. Add to that the added stress of worrying about hitting that deadline in time, and it’s double trouble. And if you work in a collaborative environment? Your personal procrastination may prevent someone else from finishing their work.

6. You Only Focused on Your Job

Part of working anywhere is understanding the value of being a team player, and that sometimes means doing things that are outside your job description. And when you balk every single time someone asks you to do something that maybe isn’t part of your job? You could be losing out on opportunities to learn new skills.

So keep an open mind when someone asks an unexpected favor of you (within reason, of course).

7. You Have No Boundaries

That said, it can be very easy to fall into a trap of never learning how to say “no.” This can be especially tricky for young women. So what happens when you condition yourself to constantly say yes and then attempt to juggle everything? A boss or colleague may take advantage.

An essential for your professional life (and your overall mental health): Learn how to assert yourself. Stand your ground so that you don’t become a pushover, taking on more weight than you can carry. Though it feels unnatural at first for most of us, it’s an invaluable life and work skill.

8. You Never Take a Lunch Break

It may seem much more convenient to have a “working lunch” at your desk every day (or worse, not eating at all), but skipping a lunch break to increase productivity is actually terrible for you. You may think that stopping to eat wastes time, but you need to take a break at work.

Preferably, you’re taking regular breaks that involve getting up, going outside to eat, and taking a stroll in the fresh air. But if that’s not realistic, you still must take time every single day to step away from your workspace and nourish your body properly.

Taking a proper break gives you the energy to clear your mind. Eating a balanced meal will give you the strength and nourishment you need to get through the day.

So figure out what works best for you and commit to it. Maybe you have time to take a lunch time workout class or go for a walk while listening to a podcast. Or maybe you only have time to run to Starbucks down the block or grab food from the cafeteria. Whatever works for you, just do it.

9. Your Phone Never Leaves Your Fingers

On the other hand, if you totally hate your job, or don’t find it challenging, it can be so easy to get sucked into a social media void, where you emerge four hours later after browsing the Sephora Beauty Insider sale, watching five make-up tutorial videos, and taking every quiz on BuzzFeed’s home page. Or perhaps you take part in a group text, sharing cat memes with your pals all day as you laugh about your hijinks from last night.

As work habits go, this one is dangerous. Even if you think you’re being sneaky, there’s a solid chance your boss knows what you’re up to. Keep the texting to a minimum, and save the quizzes for your lunch break. We know it’s hard, but you can do it!

10. You’re a Slob

If you litter your desk with piles of paper, you may think it’s only impacting you, but a messy workspace negatively impacts both you and your colleagues. Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, an etiquette and civility expert and author of Don’t Burp in the Boardroom recently told Business Insider why sloppiness is a major no-no:

“Whether you’re at your desk or in the break room, being known as the office slob is never a compliment… Leaving your mess behind shows lack of responsibility or consideration, arrogance, and immaturity.”

A gentle reminder: always leave communal spaces like the office kitchen, restrooms, and conference rooms cleaner than you left them. Your coworkers will thank you. And it’ll be so much easier to find those budget reports you worked on last week!

It may seem like rolling into a meeting five minutes late is no big deal. Or sharing stories about your wild weekend with your super-cool boss only makes work more fun. But these work habits are definitely ones you’ll want to keep an eye on. That way, you’ll keep the peace both with your coworkers… and with yourself.


For this post, we’d like to thank our friends at Levo.





This entry was posted in Career Advice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.