Career advice: 10 bad habits to break
18th OF October 2012
If you’ve spent the past year hoping for a pay rise, promotion, or both only to realise it’s October and you’re still stuck in a career rut, it might be time to break some bad habits. These common pitfalls might not get you fired, but they will prevent you from doing your best work and landing the dream role you deserve.
Now is the time to break these habits so you can head into your holidays feeling satisfied and start your new year off on the right foot.
By Chloe Schneider
1. Being a wallflower
If you work hard but never get the acknowledgement you deserve it might be time you start thinking about whether or not you’ve made your manager and co-workers aware of your achievements.
Finish off the year on a good note by stepping in to your boss’s office and letting them know exactly what you’ve achieved, what you wish you’d achieved, and where you want to go next year.
2. Getting defensive
We all get bad feedback sometimes. It’s how we deal with it that makes us stand out. When you receive less-than glowing feedback on something you've done, aim to have a meaningful conversation about it rather than getting defensive so you can learn from your mistakes and move on with your head held high.
We’re not just talking about spending too much time on Facebook or forwarding every lolcats picture that hits your inbox – procrastinating comes in many shapes and forms. Writing endless, unnecessary to-do lists is just procrastination wearing a work mask.
To beat it, try setting a timer on yourself. Aim to work consistently for 55 minutes, then take 5 minutes to surf the web, go to the bathroom, or grab a coffee.
4. Sending hasty emails
Many of us work on the go and a fair few of us are guilty of replying to work emails while on the treadmill, or cooking dinner for the kids.
This is okay most of the time but when it comes to major work issues and decisions it pays to take time out and re-read your emails before you hit the send button to avoid approving something you don’t entirely agree with or later discovering the tone of your email was more emotional than you intended.
Engaging in office gossip is not only a time waster, it breeds a negative attitude in the work place, can end in your saying something you don’t really mean, and there’s always a risk it will get back to the person you’re gossiping about.
If you need to get something off your chest, do it outside work hours with your partner or close friends in a place where you know you’re safe from outside ears. And if something about a colleague is really bothering you – confront them!
6. Running late
Getting to work and to meetings on time will not only make you seem more reliable, it will change your mindset completely. Rather than showing up to work and feeling like you’re behind before you've even sat down at your desk, you’ll have a chance to sit, take a breath and tackle your workload head on. And instead of sitting down to a meeting feeling frazzled, you’ll have a clear head which will enable you to have a more meaningful exchange.
7. Neglecting lunch breaks
Working through lunch may seem like the best way to get through extra work but by refusing to take time out, you could be doing yourself – and your workload – more harm than good. Take time out to walk around the block, get some sun, take a break from the screen, and eat something healthy.
You’ll benefit from an energy boost that will get you through the rest of the day without that 3.30pm chocolate and coffee fix.
8. Working in clutter
Your surroundings have enormous effect on your mindset and, while your desk doesn’t have to resemble an IKEA catalogue, you should aim to have a tidy workspace.
Clean up your working area before the year is out and you’ll feel a lot better about getting back to your desk in the New Year.
9. Underestimating yourself
Are you avoiding taking on that big client or asking for that pay rise because there’s a part of you that doesn’t believe you deserve it? It’s time to stop that negative self-talk and believe in yourself.
If you’re underestimating yourself, it’s more than likely the people around you will have lower expectations of what you can achieve.
10. Resting on your laurels
When you've been working in the same area for a long time, it can be too easy to keep repeating the methods that have worked for you before. This ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ mentality might get you through your workload without any hitches, but it won’t allow you to grow.
Innovate, take risks, and experiment, and your work will become more invigorating and fulfilling as a result.
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