10 work habits that will change your life

10 work habits that will change your life

Work habits have changed since the pandemic’s beginning – days are 15 percent longer, recurring meetings are 25 percent more likely, and focus time is down eight percent. So how do you fight some of these new work habits with some better healthy ones?

Here’s a list of several work habits that will help you shake off that pandemic attitude.

1. Work on your niche

Having something you’re good at can differentiate you from other workers, and working on it daily can make you a subject matter expert. So pick something you love, like a current industry topic or a digital tool that you can make your own. Taking a little time every day to study up on the things that matter to you make you better at your job now and better at whatever roles you may pursue in the future.

2. Be on time

Punctuality is another key habit for success at work. Being present when you’re asked to show that you respect the other person’s time just as much as you appreciate your own, and being late can be construed as impolite. It displays your time management abilities, assures the other party that you’re dependable, and implies that you’re at least a little disciplined. Additionally, you don’t want to just be on time for a Zoom meeting or an in-person interaction, but deadlines as well, as it indicates the same skill set.

3. Ask questions

How often do you ask questions in the workplace? If the answer is only once or twice a week, your success could be impeded by your lack of curiosity. During every meeting, make it a habit to ask at least one question about something relevant and engaging. It could be about work material, an upcoming project or initiative, or it could just be about how your manager or teammate is doing that day. Questions are an easy and effective way to deepen bonds between coworkers and give voice to those too nervous about posing questions of their own.

4. Mentalize

Study Mentalizing is a term psychologists use to understand your own emotional profile and others as well. The technique involves understanding how someone’s thoughts and feelings motivate their actions. Get into the habit of going beyond empathy – relate to someone’s reactions, but also try to make links between why they’re being reactive and how their emotions manifest into those reactive actions.

5. One thing at a time

A study from RescueTime found that the average employee spends almost half of what they would consider their “productive time” multitasking by using communication tools like Slack or Teams. Notifications are always on, and email inboxes are in the background, pinging all day long. How do you have any time to work when you’re always busy fielding questions about how your work is going? Make it a habit to check your Slack notifications or emails at the end of every hour, or reserve some time every day to put your status as “away” and just focus on tasks you need to accomplish.

6. Learn constantly

Another of the best work habits to ensure success involves taking a little time out of your week to build your foundation of knowledge. Even if you’re not sure what your specialty is yet, learning about new things can take your career further, even if the thing you’re learning doesn’t seem especially relevant to your job. Online software like Bridge or Lessonly can offer sales teams and product managers extra opportunities to learn about their fields or explore new ones. And websites like Duolingo teach languages that will accelerate your processing speeds and improve memory or focus.

7. Keep organized

Organization is another work habit that will lead to success. This extends beyond to-do lists and neat desks into time management and measured communications. Take a little time each day to organize your email inbox. Even if you’re not invested in the inbox zero methods, having some folders and flagged email chains can help you streamline your processes. Additionally, techniques like time boxing show what kind of work you’ve done and what work you have planned. That way, you can show those around you (and yourself) a concrete image of your productivity on a day-to-day basis.

8. Work-life balance

Sustaining a work/life balance is imperative for success in the workplace. Experts say keeping some work-free time for yourself can lower stress and burnout. This means that your time in the office will be fueled by excitement and energy, which will both be helpful tools to propel you forward in your career. By using your time off to recharge, you’ll be living your life with intentionality – at work, you intend to be present and diligent, and at home, you intend to decompress.

9. Take criticism with grace

Philosopher Michel de Montaigne once said, “those who venture to criticize us perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him.” Five hundred years later, that statement still stands, and criticism is one of the most important parts of growing and learning. Data shows that those who are worse at accepting criticisms have low job performance, low self-esteem at work, and get bad performance reviews. Even if the criticism is harsh or unappealing, there might be pearls of wisdom hidden deep beneath the grit and dirt surrounding it.

10. Promise less than you deliver

The old saying “under promise, over deliver” might be a way to dazzle your employers, but intentionally promising lackluster outputs really isn’t the best way to succeed in your career. So don’t make it a habit to underpromise – just make it a habit to deliver exceptional outputs and be realistic about your abilities. Give yourself more time than you need to complete projects, and don’t pitch lofty ideas just to walk them back later.

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