There are all different kinds of bad work habits. There are those that we tend to think of as procrastination methods, habits that wreak havoc on your productivity. Then there are those that make you work harder and impose additional stresses on your life. Then there are the bad habits happen as a result of being busy and stressed at work, but don’t necessarily happen at our desks. Regardless, all of these bad habits have something to do with how we work, and affect our productivity, and how we feel when working.
The trick is to first identify our bad habits. Breaking these habits will guard you from becoming a victim of your own self-destructive behaviors.
Here’s a list of seven very common bad habits that will threaten your integrity and performance at work (and after work!) — and what you can do about them.
1. You “multitask.”
Several important studies have recently come to light that revealed multitasking to actually be counterproductive. If you think you’ll do more in less time just by completing two or three tasks at once, you’re simply wrong.
Humans have a very limited attention span. After a period of hard work, you might find some of your tasks unfinished and forgotten. Learn to prioritize them and do one thing at a time. Being mindful of what task you are doing at any given moment will help you stay productive for a long time.
2. You check your email every minute.
We tend to spend time on unnecessary activities by rationalizing them as necessary or related to productivity. A common example of this is constantly checking emails. Even if we know, on some level, that we haven’t gotten any new messages, we may think to ourselves, Well, what if my boss wrote to me in the past 30 seconds? It’s a great procrastination method, right?
Well, not really. Think again: every time you do it, you’re actually losing your focus. So stop constantly wondering whether you’ve received an email, and try to concentrate more on the given task at hand. You can check your email once you’ve completed it.
3. Your desk is messy.
If you thought a neat desk was just a question of personality, think twice. A messy desk will only impede your ability to properly concentrate: having piles of documents or objects in your line of vision will in the long run become very distracting. A clean and ordered desk is something that will help you focus on the job that needs to be done.
4. You don’t eat healthy lunches or snacks.
Lunch is important. If you don’t take a proper break for a healthy and nutritious meal, your concentration and focus will suffer for it. Eating junk food won’t help you either; it will only provide you with high volumes of salt and simple carbs, making you feel like a zombie for the rest of the day. Enjoy a light, healthy lunch, and take your mind off your work while eating. Having a bit of mental space away from your work-tasks will provide you with lots more energy and inspiration.
5. You avoid exercise.
Some of us stop working out once our lives become busier — and more often than not, this has something to do with our professions.
But there is no good excuse to avoid your usual dose of exercise. Even if you’re convinced that you have no time for physical activity, realize this — you need it in your life for mental and physical health. It may seem counter-intuitive when you feel like you don’t have any free time, nor energy left in you at the end of the workday (or when you wake up in the morning).
But take a risk: try working out at that moment where you think you’re totally sapped of energy. I assure you that you’ll feel energy begin to radiate through you, and from you.
6. You are obsessed with checking your phone.
Don’t just pick up the phone when it rings. Don’t check it immediately once you feel it vibrating. Have you ever experienced the illusion that your phone just vibrated, when in fact it didn’t? Don’t become a victim of digital dependency — keep it with you for emergencies, but don’t take it too seriously. The phone is there for you, not the other way round.
7. You use social media as a break.
If you consider social media as a valid way to spend your breaks at work, you’d be surprised to learn what it does to your concentration. Checking your news feed, you might find yourself more tired than before. Even worse, you thought you’d been doing it for just a few minutes, but in fact, half an hour disappeared somewhere in between checking your friend’s wedding photos and updating your status.
Use your break to rest your eyes and stretch your legs instead.
Today, we live our lives at an increasingly fast pace. In order to stay focused, healthy and productive you need to learn how to shut out the frenzy of your professional life and embrace good habits that will make your time at work all the more enjoyable.