How to #Create #Good #Work Habits

February 9, 2020

© Carole Kanchier, PhD

How to Create Good Work Habits

Are your work habits holding you back? Are you aware of your bad habits? Are you settling for less than your best?

Habits are acquired behavior patterns regularly followed until they become involuntary. You may not be aware of some habits because they’re made without thinking. However, superiors and clients will catch them.

Spring is perfect time to make changes that will advance your career. Here are common bad habits and tips on how to eliminate them.

Create good habits from bad habits

– Bad habit – Abusing time  

Good habit:  Manage time. Get up an hour earlier to think and plan. Review daily work activities to identify self-defeating habits such as underestimating time needed for tasks. Make a to-do list and prioritize tasks. Don’t try to do too much at once. Break big jobs into smaller, manageable tasks. Allow for the unexpected. Consult your schedule often and re-prioritize tasks as necessary to ensure you deliver on commitments.

– Bad habit – Fearing failure

Good habit: View mistakes as opportunities. Failure is a powerful teacher. Learn the lesson.  Ask yourself: “Why did the mistake occur?”What elements were responsible?” “How can I avoid similar mistakes in the future?” If you make the same mistake twice, put the lesson in writing. Place the questions and answers where you’ll be reminded not to repeat steps which led to the error.  Measure success by how quickly you recover from mistakes. If you accept setbacks, you’ll continue to grow.

Bad habit –  Criticizing co-workers

Good habit:: When you give colleagues feedback, be constructive. Offer suggestions. Don’t hover or nitpick. Resist the urge to offer advice on non-essential matters.

– Bad habit – Staying in a rut

Good habit:  Reevaluate your career goals and progress. Can your current position help you attain desired goals? If not, think of other more satisfying possibilities. Explore options in your company and field as well as different fields. Consider moving down the corporate ladder. Explore lateral positions or creatively redesign your job. Think about self employment, relocating and retraining. Devise a plan for attaining your goal.

– Bad habit – Adhering to old notions of career advancement

Good habit:: Reevaluate your definition of career development. View career growth as a lifelong process of personal and professional development — a continuing quest to maintain harmony between who you are and what you do.  Select an occupation that is congruent with your personal qualities rather than to please others or for the myth of security.

Bad habit –  Failing to maintain a healthy lifestyle

Good habit:: Find time for yourself. Work is just one component of a happy and productive life. Identify activities that would bring peace and satisfaction to your life (relationship, hobby, spiritual practices or volunteer activity). Reward your successes.

– Bad habit – Using company computer for personal matters
Good habit:  Work on personal projects at home or during the lunch hour. Focus on tasks for which you get paid during business hours.

– Bad habit – Sending useless e-mails

Good habit:: Send relevant information only and ensure that the message content is clear. Verify each message answers the “5 Ws” (who, what, when, where, why).

– Bad habit – Practicing poor business etiquette

Good habit: Present a professional, confident image. Consider others’ feelings. Be respectful and considerate to everyone. Practice such basic courtesies as returning messages promptly, leaving concise voice mail messages, sending hand written thank you notes and greeting people when entering an office.

– Bad habit – Interrupting others

Good habit:: Value others’ opinions. Listen when they speak. Offer your opinion after people have spoken. Ask questions when you’re not clear about something. Summarize what you hear people say to correct misunderstandings. Let others know you hear what they’re feeling but not saying.

– Bad habit – Failing to give feedback and recognition

Good habit:: Let others know you appreciate their efforts or accomplishments. Feedback and praise are most effective when offered immediately and linked to specific activities, products or attributes.

– Bad habit – Abusing company expense accounts
Good habit:  Apply the same smart frugality that you use in your personal life to business expenses.  Save the company money and you will be recognized for it.

– Bad habit – Being impatient with clients

Good habit:: Value customer service. List reasons why customers are important to the business. Take a refresher course in customer service offered by your company or local college.

– Bad habit – Stealing company products

Good habit:: Don’t take products such as office supplies that belong to the organization for business uses. It’s unlawful, and can cost your professional reputation.

Recognize and break poor habits

List habits that are hampering your career advancement. Ask superiors and colleagues for feedback. (Examples include: not following through on promises, not meeting deadlines, not being a team member, not being flexible, not managing conflict, and sharing personal information.

Each week, replace a bad habit with a more productive behavior. Describe how the good habit will advance your career. Observe successful people. Read. With practice, each new activity will become easier, more automatic. Stay positive, focused. Persist.

Review the many suggestions offered in award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life which redefines lifelong career decisions making. Paperback edition:

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Author Bio: Carole Kanchier, PhD, is an internationally recognized newspaper/digital columnist, registered psychologist, coach and author of award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life.  Kanchier has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz, University of Alberta, and other institutions of higher learning, and worked with clients representing many disciplines. Dr. Kanchier is known for her pioneering, interdisciplinary approach to human potential.