Breaking Free From Bad Habits in the New Year

I like to think I’m pretty efficient in my work, but I have a confession to make: I’m a stacker. Look on my desk, and you’ll find stacks of papers. I do use an upright filing system, but things just always seem to land back on my desk in stacks. I know I could find critical documents more quickly if I filed them, so when I think of breaking bad habits at work next year, this tops my list.

What's on your list? Are you like me and need to get better organized? I know some of you may even be thinking, “I don’t need to worry about how to break a bad habit at work, because I don’t even have bad habits.” Is that really true, though? Consider whether any of these bad habits ring a bell with you:

Bad Habit #1: Getting Stuck in Routine

You’re great at what you do as an administrative professional, so you keep chugging along doing things the same way, day in and day out. But are you really doing things the best way?

Bad habits don’t have to be dramatic to be a problem. Sometimes they’re as simple as not slowing down to take a serious look at what you do everyday. Consider whether you can shake up a routine to be more productive or save money.

Also, when was the last time you had any formal training? You may possess all of the skills you need for your job today, but are you staying marketable and preparing yourself for future opportunities? Think about options like seminars and online training that will keep your knowledge current, especially with technology.

Bad Habit #2: Gossiping

It may seem like harmless talk with coworkers, but this is one bad habit you need to break, and now. You’ve heard some interesting news in your job and can’t wait to share it with them. You consider your colleagues to be friends and know they won’t spread the rumor, so what’s the harm?

The problem is that you’re damaging trust with this kind of talk. People may figure out quickly it’s best not to discuss private matters with you because you may tell others. Gossiping is the most common form of office politics but that doesn't mean you need to be involved.

Bad Habit #3: Being Too Quiet

When you think of how to break a bad habit, trying not to be so reserved may not be a top-of-mind concern. You’re a nose-to-the-grindstone employee, what’s wrong with that? You show up at work ready to give it your all and do your work diligently. The problem is that you may be so focused on your assignments that people hardly know you’re there. That’s not such a good thing, especially if you have dreams of advancing in the company. Out of sight, out of mind.

Make sure you’re an active participant in what goes on in your department. Before you attend a staff meeting, look at the agenda and figure out where you can offer ideas or feedback. If someone sends out an email soliciting suggestions on an event or topic, offer your input. You’ll reinforce that you’re a valuable contributor to the team.

Bad habits don’t have to be big ones to impact your career success. So, make that list and get ready for change!