Nobody’s perfect. Except for me. Just kidding, I have tons of flaws and bad habits, like picking my split ends and drinking too much coffee (but it’s so good). However, there are some bad habits you need to kick before others, like the ones that affect your work performance. I know I have a flair for dramatics, read about how to utilize that skill here, but some bad work habits could cost you your job. Here are four bad work habits you need to break today.
I won’t lie, I wrote this blog post the day it was due because I work better under pressure when it comes to writing blog posts. Could I do the same thing with a project for a client? Absolutely not. I work weeks in advance when it comes to creating content or an email newsletter because a certain amount of time needs to be allotted for edits. You will drive yourself bat-sh*t crazy if you put projects off until the last minute. Plus, when you rush to put something together in a short amount of time, it will show in your work. It’s one thing to write a short blog post, it’s another to throw a presentation together in less than 24 hours. I get that all bosses are different, but most won’t appreciate your lack of attention to detail and sloppiness. Get yourself on a schedule and start utilizing time management tools to make your work day more productive. I love Insightly because it’s like having my own digital to-do list where I can schedule daily, weekly or monthly tasks for myself. It also helps me prioritize which tasks need to get done before others. I keep Insightly in a tab in my web browser all day. That way I can see if any new tasks have been assigned to me, or if I can work ahead on other projects.
This one seems a bit obvious, doesn’t it? But we all tell little, white lies every now and then. It’s human nature. But when you’re caught in a lie by your boss, that’s a problem. Don’t make excuses as to why something didn’t get done on time. Just tell the truth, apologize and make sure it doesn’t happen again. I know this is easier said than done, but trust me, it’s the best option. Bosses understand that people make mistakes. Slip-ups will happen. But here’s the thing, your boss doesn’t want to hear about why or how something didn’t happen, they want to know that you won’t make the same mistake again. How do you do that? You have to earn their trust back. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether you need to directly ask your boss or consult with a coworker, they are there to help you, not hurt you.
Having a bad attitude is contagious. Your coworkers and your boss will definitely pick up on it. Sure, we can’t all be a ray of sunshine every single day, but nobody likes a Debbie Downer. Everyone is entitled to a bad day, but constantly complaining about every little thing won’t make you feel better. Trust me, your boss will notice your bad attitude, and if they don’t a coworker will probably mention it to them. If something or someone is really making you crazy, take a few minutes to step outside and do some deep breathing, but don’t let it affect your work, or the rest of the office. If you’re truly unhappy with your job, speak to upper management first. If you make your boss aware of the issue, then the two of you can work to create a solution.
I’m a firm believer that, depending on the level of importance, you don’t have to respond to every email the second you receive it. However, I won’t go longer than two hours without replying to an email. If you get stuck in a meeting and can’t respond to a customer, just make sure you apologize for the delay when you do talk to them. You have to be able to communicate with customers, as well as your coworkers. If you’re always one of those people who forgets to tell a coworker something, you need to break that habit right now. Good communication skills are required for any job. Going days without replying to a customer is unacceptable. It makes you look irresponsible and careless. If you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question and can’t get an immediate answer, just shoot them a quick email or give them a call when you do have the answer and let them know. Lack of communication can delay projects and possibly cost you your job. Your boss would much rather have you nag the crap out of a customer, than go days without speaking to them.
There’s always room for improvement and we all make mistakes, but don’t let bad work habits cost you your job. You can break these bad work habits. It won’t be easy and it won’t happen immediately, but over time you’ll notice a difference in your work productivity and office environment. Oh, and you’ll still be employed.
Looking for more bad work habits you can start breaking today? Read our post on toning down your workaholic tendencies to improve the quality of your work.