5 Bad Work Habits To Break In 2015

As you approach the New Year, you may be considering how you might change some of the bad work habits that could be holding you back from being a better employee. Perhaps you are wondering which practices are preventing you from being more successful. Related: 7 Vital Habits Of The Successful Professional Here are five bad work habits that need to eliminated in 2015 in order experience more success at work.


Bad Habit #1: You are always late.

It doesn’t matter if you are late for work or late for a meeting or appointment, you need to stop being late if that is one of your “bad work habits.” Don’t shrug your shoulders and sheepishly offer that the “traffic was awful.” Leave the house early enough that no matter what the traffic is like, you can still make it on time. It is much better to be known as the guy (or gal) who is always 10 minutes early for everything as opposed to being known for always being 10 minutes late for everything. Being late is disrespectful of the people who are waiting for you. Set the alarm clock for 20 minutes earlier than you normally get up. Set your clothes out for the next day the night before. Make sure you have gas in the car, or get up early enough to allow time to stop for gas. Just get to work on time! This is a habit that needs to be developed right away if you are currently suffering from the “I’m always late for everything” habit. Create the “I am always early or on time” habit instead.

Bad habit # 2: You always procrastinate when it comes to getting your work done.

This bad habit is the cousin of Habit #1. You get a high from leaving major work until the last minute in spite of having a deadline weeks or months in advance. You are convinced you do your “best work” at the “last minute.” The problem with this logic is that it is surely going to take you longer to get things right once you have finally gotten around to the project. As a result, you wind up needing more time, and you rarely hit your original deadline. The idea of finishing a project early is a foreign concept to the true procrastinator. If someone is waiting for your work before they can proceed with their own, however, 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. Create the “I will not only meet my deadline, I will get the project in early” habit.

Bad habit # 3: You love to engage in office gossip.

People may enjoy the titillating stories that you offer, and they might even encourage you to “dish” about your co-workers or your boss. In the long run, however, this is a very dangerous—not to mention a very destructive—habit. Lose it now! 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. Gossip is an unattractive habit, and you can decide right here in this moment to stop yourself… so stop it! Create the “I don’t participate in office gossip” habit. (In fact, you would do well to avoid gossip everywhere.)

Bad habit #4: You conduct personal business on company time.

Don’t be the person who is always on the phone on personal business while you should be working. Avoid doing personal stuff when you are on company time. In a job I had a few years ago, I learned (through office gossip, sigh) that one of the people in the office was using a work computer, printer, and company time putting together a church bulletin. The boss learned of this by walking by her desk when she wasn’t paying attention. He stopped and asked what she was doing. When she admitted that she was working on the church bulletin, he asked her point blank whether or not she had enough work to warrant her full-time job. She was mortified. He was disappointed. I guarantee it never happened again. The problem is, however, that he will also never forget that incident... and neither will she. Keep your work separate from your personal life to the extent that you can. You can make the occasional quick call to make an appointment if you need to, but keep it to a minimum. Create the “work is work and personal is personal” mantra as a reminder that you need to work when you are at work.

Bad habit #5: You use the “It’s not my job” excuse.

You use the "It's not my job" excuse for not volunteering to do extra work even when it might help advance you. Depending on where you work and with whom, you may be guilty of using this excuse to avoid taking on extra work. “It’s not my job,” or “That’s not in my contract,” are words that are like fingernails dragging down a blackboard to your boss or supervisor. While it may be true that a particular job that you are asked to perform is outside the actual letter of your contract, by doing it anyway you demonstrate that you are a team player. You show that you are willing to go above and beyond… at least occasionally. If your boss begins to take advantage of your willingness to help out or you are routinely asked to do more than your job description entails, then it might be time to renegotiate the terms of your employment. Or you might need to ask for a raise. You can’t do that, however, if you have avoided the extra duty you may have been asked to perform because it is “not your job.” Step it up. Offer to do a little extra and watch your boss start to entrust you with more responsibility that might even result in a promotion and/or a raise. Breaking bad habits can be daunting whether it is personal habits or work habits. We are the sum of our habits, however, whether we like to think of ourselves in that way or not. The five bad work habits highlighted here can negatively affect your ability to succeed and earn promotions along the way. Turn the bad habits around and adopt new work habits for 2015. Happy New Year! This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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About the author

Kitty Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT is a Certified Life Strategies and Stress Management Coach and is an ICC at CareerHMO. Visit her coaching page here.       Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CareerHMO coach. You can learn more about coach posts here.   Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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