“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed — easy to get into, but hard to get out of” – Anonymous.
Good or bad, habits define you as a person and they also define people’s perception about you. Who doesn’t have bad habits? Of course everyone does. While bad habits don’t necessarily make you a bad person, certain bad habits can have a very negative impact on your professional life.
If you want to really make it big in your career, experts advise that you need to be self-aware and mindful about your habits, cultivate those which will be of real value to the company and chuck those which create a negative impression. Here are some of the bad habits which can damage your professional life:
No breaks. If you think that you are getting a lot done by not taking a single break during the day, you are wrong! Human brains are not built to focus hard for a long time. Stretching yourself beyond a limit will make you unfocused. Taking a break is a scientifically proven method for regaining your focus and improving productivity. Get in the productivity zone for a stretch of time and follow it up with a small break to get back to the task with a refreshed mind.
Bad email habits. Being extremely busy or the fact that you receive 380 emails in a day cannot be valid excuses for your sloppy emails. Not responding to emails, unnecessarily including a lot of people in threads, writing abrupt and unclear emails, changing content without changing the subject lines, not mentioning the expected action — these and more are extremely sloppy email habits that need to go.
Social media addiction. Let’s admit it — social media is not a break. Always having that Facebook tab open in your browser or constant notifications beeping for your tweets on your cellphone is distracting and can make you less productive. Experts suggest that during your concentrated productivity zone in the day, you should switch off phones and definitely disable all social media networks and related notifications.
Phone obsession. Studies have shown that an average human being checks their phone at least 150 times in a day. In a professional environment, when you are with other colleagues or at meetings, checking the phone constantly for emails, news, social media, games or other such things not only creates a bad impression but can also be very distracting and can hamper your productivity. Be mindful and stick to the habit of checking your phone only at specific times.
Smoking. A study led by Micah Berman, Professor of Public Health at New England Law, found that smokers cost their employers an average of $5816 a year in the cost of smoke breaks, additional health care, absenteeism and lower productivity. An average smoker loses 75 minutes per day to smoking breaks, and the company CXOs do care about this. Time to pop the nicotine gum!
Such bad habits can sabotage your reputation and also make you unfocused and unproductive. It takes commitment to break habits but, of course, the benefits are for a lifetime. To achieve work-life harmony, focus your attention on the most important results and remove those bad habits that get in the way of success.