Thursday, October 28, 2010

5 Steps to Breaking Bad Work Habits

We all have our own bad habits at the office, maybe it's gossiping or complaining, or binge eating or nail-biting, or checking e-mail incessantly.

Step 1: Identify your bad office habits
Routine makes us feel safe, but don't hide under the umbrella of familiarity for too long, the problem with habits is that we let them control us and our subconscious kicks in and tendencies take over--without us even thinking about them.

Step 2: Determine which habits are hurting you
Let's shoot big; identify the habit that affects you most negatively, it could be wasting time, putting physical or mental stress on your body, fatigue, and look at the short-term and long-term picture and prepare to face your worst habit head on.

Step 3: Stop your habit dead in its tracks
Sometimes stopping a habit is as simple as recognizing it, so next time you find yourself carrying out the habit, say to yourself, "stop!" and if you have the luxury of yelling it aloud, do it and if you're in a public office, say it in your head (rather than risk looking bonkers).

Step 4: Replace your bad habit with something awesome
Because office life is conducive to repetition, the same routine that created your habit might help you replace it with something useful, instead of reaching for a coffee or candy, or rather than participating in gossip and complaints, do something that's good for you.

From breathing to stretching to resting your eyes, there are a million positive things you can do while at work.

Step 5: Hang in there
Some habits are deeply embedded, so don't expect to replace them overnight, instead, focus on vigilantly monitoring your habits and routines for weeks or months and consider making "habit inventory" a weekly ritual.

Habits can be powerful, so why not have them work for you rather than against you and master the art of habit replacement and watch your work experience improve.

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