Everyone's the model employee when they first snag a job. Showing up on time, staying late, giving everything 100 percent — the whole thing. But over time, we all start to slack off and pick up some bad work habits. It's totally normal, but it can really affect your success. (Think future raises, promotions, etc.)
That's why it's important to figure out your bad habits, and put a stop to them once and for all. Things like showing up late, taking a long lunch break, and handing things in past the deadline (even if it's just by, like, 20 minutes) doesn't bode well for your future. That's because people notice when you inconvenience them, or when you give off an air of not caring. Like it or not, your indiscretions get tucked away in your boss's memory for-ev-er.
So do your future self a favor and make some changes. It doesn't have to be anything super earth shattering, and it doesn't mean giving your life over to work 24/7. (This feeling is probably why we all start to slack off in the first place.) All it means is organizing yourself, showing up, and putting out a little effort.
I promise it will go noticed, and it will up your chances of eventually one day taking over your company. If that sounds good, then here are some bad work habits to look out for.
1. You Forget To Plan Out Your Day
It's normal to spend Monday morning staring blankly at your desk. I get it — you need a few minutes to adjust your eyes to the blindingly bright lights of the office, so go ahead and have your minute. But then make moves so the rest of the day (and the rest of the week) can go a lot more smoothly.
And the best way to have a successful day at work (sans blank stares) is to plan ahead. As Margaret Steen noted on Monster.com, many people leave their office and have no idea what they're going to do the following morning. If you want to get anything done, don't just drop everything and leave at 5PM. Inside, take a moment to prepare for the next day before you leave work. This could mean making a to-do list, straightening up your desk, scheduling blocks of time for certain tasks, and planning ahead for meetings. That way, when you come into work, you can get right to it and wow everyone with your organization prowess.
2. You Don't Do Things In A Timely Fashion
Another beneficial side effect of setting up your day is that you'll get things in a timely fashion. This means arriving to meetings on time, making phone calls when you say you will, and meeting all your deadlines.
Timeliness really won't go unnoticed, and it's especially appreciated when you're working as part of a time. As Alison Green noted on USNews.com, "People pay attention to whether you do what you say you're going to do, by when you say you're going to do it — whether it's as small as forwarding the document you promised in a meeting or as big as meeting a project deadline. If you do, they notice and you build a reputation as someone reliable and someone they can have confidence in."
3. You Constantly Show Up Late
Ever notice how once you get in the habit of showing up late, it's really hard to break it? It's probably because no one says anything, so you kinda "get away with it." And then those five minutes turn into ten, which turn into 15, and soon you're a half hour late each morning.
As you have probably guessed — this doesn't look good. As Jacquelyn Smith noted on Forbes, "If you constantly arrive late to work, or return late from breaks, it displays an attitude of complacency and carelessness ... So be prompt or even a bit early to show that you are time conscious and that you do care about your job and other people’s time, as well."
4. You Can't Stay Off Social Media
If you have a job that allows you to be on social media all day, then lucky you. Go for it to your heart's content. But if not, playing around too much online can get you in trouble.
That's because many employers view it as a distraction, and they'll immediately assume you're one of those slacker types. According to Smith, "Some companies have taken measures to monitor or limit their employees’ social media use, while others have blocked these sites completely. So beware: spending too much time on social media or other websites not related to your work can cost you your job."
5. You Procrastinate All Day Long
A lot people thrive on that last-minute panic before a deadline. It can make finishing a project seem easier, since you kind of have to do it right now. But waiting until the last minute is stressful, and often leaves your coworkers waiting around.
As Kitty Boitnott noted on Careerealism.com, "If someone is waiting for your work before they can proceed with their own ... your procrastination can cause major headaches for everyone around you. Your boss will get tired of your excuses, and your co-workers will lose patience — and their respect — for you. Don’t do it! Change that habit right now."
Start forcing yourself to work on projects the moment they are assigned. This will often leave you with days, if not weeks, to really perfect your final product. And everyone around you will take notice.
Try: Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now , $10.99, Amazon
6. You Aren't Being Assertive
Do you keep your head down at work, stay quiet in meetings, and slip out the door unnoticed at 5 p.m.? If so, you probably have yourself convinced that this is the best way to act at work. After all, you aren't making waves, rubbing anyone the wrong way, or embarrassing yourself with "wrong" answers, so what's the big deal?
Turns out, this is not the best way to get ahead professionally. As Green noted, "... being unassertive is more likely to hurt you. If you believe a decision is wrong, or a project is headed for disaster, or that you deserve a raise, good managers will want you to speak up. There's a difference between being assertive and being obnoxiously pushy, of course, but voicing your opinions in a professional way is key to professional success."
7. You Get All Gossip-y
By all means, make friends at work. Just try not to get caught up in the water cooler gossip circle. According to Boitnott, "People may enjoy your stories for a while, but eventually they will start to wonder what you are telling other people about them given your penchant for not being able to keep a secret or hold a confidence." This is not exactly the best, most shining quality of someone who's "going places" at work. So do your best to avoid these middle school-esque situations.
And do your best to avoid all of your bad workplace habits. They might not feel like a big deal, but your sneaky boss is probably watching.
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