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How to leave bad habits in 2016

Career advice  

Break bad habits , New Year resolutions , Improve work habits , SEEK

Nobody’s perfect – we all have some bad habits and, usually, good intentions to ditch them. However it can be hard to focus on breaking those habits when you’re getting on with the working week. But as we’re about to enter a new year, now is a great time to do away with our bad ways once and for all, and focus on positive practices instead.

We’ve rounded up five common vices that we would all be better without in the workplace, and tips on how to overcome them. Here’s to a more positive and productive New Year!

  1. Procrastination. We all do it. And while taking some time out to think or daydream is definitely justifiable at times, it’s also pretty obvious when this turns into procrastination. Overcoming it is all about making little adjustments so that you change the cycle. Break the task you’re putting off into smaller steps, try working somewhere else for a while, and make yourself a detailed timeline with specific deadlines. Also, do yourself a favour by eliminating distractions: switch your phone to silent, close all the unnecessary tabs on your browser and deactivate all notifications until you get the job done. You can do it!
     
  2. Letting emotions get the better of you at work. We can all get worked up if we’re feeling snowed-under with tasks or finding certain people difficult to deal with. But it pays to remember that work isn’t the end of the world, and not to let our emotions overflow there. So take five and go for a walk to clear your head, or talk to a friend. And if you are having a particularly tough time, there is absolutely no harm in asking for help, whether that’s from your boss, a co-worker, HR or an external helpline. Professionalism is important, but your well-being is more so. Seek help if you need it.
     
  3. Bad language. It’s all good as long as the boss doesn’t hear it, right? Well, not if you’re concerned with coming across as polite, professional and respectable. Call it old-fashioned, but many people find swearing and foul language inappropriate at work. If you use profanities around others, it may get back to those in charge, or worse, unintentionally offend someone. So keep the cursing at home – you could be amazed at what kind of career opportunities open up as a result!
     
  4. Spreading rumours or negatively talking about colleagues. While it can be intoxicatingly fun to take part in, gossip is a danger zone when it comes to work. Telling tales about co-workers, whether unfounded or otherwise, can end badly for everyone, damaging feelings and your chances to move up at work. So, keep it professional by politely excusing yourself if someone tries to engage you in gossip. And if it’s about you, take the high ground and try to resolve it with the person. If that doesn’t work, inform your boss – they are obligated to try to rectify the situation.
     
  5. Running late. Whether it’s repeatedly getting to work after you’re supposed to, struggling to get to meetings on time or missing appointments, running late can be a problem for many of us. But there are ways you can make it easier for yourself – set your watch or phone to be 10 minutes fast, get your gear and outfit organised the night before work, and plan your route to appointments so that you stay ahead of the curve and on time. It can be done, it just requires a bit of perseverance and patience with yourself.

Above all, don’t be too hard on yourself. We all have things we need to work on, and now is an excellent time to get cracking on them!