5 Bad Work Habits-and How to Break Them

I recently came across an article on Yahoo.com, which explained 9 bad works habits and how to break them. Below are 5 of the 9 bad habits and ways in which you can break them. You can view all nine of the bad habits by clicking here.

1. You constantly check your email or post updates on Facebook or Twitter.

There’s a reason (beyond procrastinating) why you can’t stay away from your personal email account and social networking sites. “Social interaction is addictive because it activates the rewards center of our brains,” says David Rock DProf, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Your Brain at Work. Connecting to people is similar to eating chocolate, he explains. “The more you do it, the more you want it-that’s when it becomes distracting.” To keep yourself focused on work, Dr. Rock recommends designating times of day when you’ll check these sites. That way, you’ll get your fix without being sucked into the trap of constantly wanting more. Or, as Michelle Goodman, author of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide advises, treat visiting these sites as a reward. Work for, say, an hour, and then allow yourself to check in quickly as a treat.

2. You write-and send-work emails too hastily.

“Misread emails create unnecessary anxiety,” says Dr. Rock. A slapdash message may come across as confusing, or worse, offensive, to the person on the receiving end-and it may cast you in a bad light. There’s a huge benefit to pausing after you write an email but before you press send. “If you feel uncertain about your message, save it as a draft and come back to it later,” suggests Dr. Rock. Not only will this give you time to work off anger that may have provoked you to write things you didn’t mean, but it may also allow you to add helpful information to the email, which can make you come across as capable and thoughtful. And if you struggle with an email about a sensitive topic, keep Dr. Rock’s rule in mind: “Anything that’s likely to generate strong emotion should be a phone or face-to-face conversation.”

3. You’re set in your ways.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it-right? Not always. If you’re sticking with outdated procedures because “that’s the way it’s always been done,” re-think your attitude. Though knowing the ins and outs of office processes may seem like proof of your expertise, it may actually make you seem obsolete. Especially in a shaky economy, it’s integral to be open to new ideas, says Goodman. “Holding on to old systems isn’t the way to be irreplaceable,” she explains. “Getting along well with everyone, contributing great ideas and doing innovative work is.” She adds that resisting change often stems from a fear of being left behind in the workforce. Instead of standing your ground, be flexible about learning from others.

4. You’re too involved in office politics.

Happen to find yourself gathered around the water cooler frequently? While joining in on office gossip is inevitable, spending too much time dissecting workplace dynamics can harm your reputation. “If you’re seen as always schmoozing or stirring the pot, you may also be seen as a troublemaker or unproductive,” says Goodman. Instead of worrying about who said what to whom when, devote that energy to work.

5. You start each day with the wrong plan of attack-or none at all.

After a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is prepare for the next one. But by making a beeline for the door at quitting time, you’re setting yourself up for trouble the next morning. “Without a plan, it’s easy to become distracted by small tasks and coworkers’ questions,” says Goodman. And that can prevent you from accomplishing the bigger stuff. “If you spend most of your day handling minor assignments, you won’t have the mental resources left to give your most important duties the attention they need,” says Dr. Rock. Goodman suggests taking a few minutes the night before-or first thing the next morning as a last resort-to write down the two or three meatiest tasks you need to get done that day.

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