Whether you’re looking to set some goals or are thinking to up your game at the office we’ve got 3 habits that you should quit doing at the office – pronto. Changing habits is hard, but doing so can cause sparks that will ignite major change. Who wants to shake things up for the better? You do.
No. 1 – The Never-Ending Quest to get your Inbox to Zero
Remember that movie from the 80’s called Never Ending Story? We do too. Well, the never ending story of your childhood has turned into the never-ending quest to get your inbox to zero, and it’s not doing you any favors. For some reason we often hear that success comes from having things done, finished, perfect. Many workers feel like they’ve succeeded when their inbox is at zero – that they can now put up their feet and call it a day.
The problem? The inbox continues to fill up again and again and your efforts start to seem pretty trivial. In fact, cyclical jobs, like answering emails, can turn into projects that add unnecessary stress. So we say ditch the goal to empty that inbox.
If you do feel like you’ve got to dig in and tackle the inbox make a goal that says you’ll spend a good 30 minutes at the beginning of everyday in your inbox, or better yet, set up a strategy that you’ll take care of minor emails immediately and delete them and not look at your work email over the weekend – then stick to it. You’ll find your productivity increases and your feelings of failure, when you open a full inbox, fade away.
No. 2 – Listening to Negative Water-Cooler Talk
It’s easy to do. Back in our parents day office talk happened around the water cooler or in the break room. Nowadays it can happen everywhere, popping up on your computer in a chat window, showing up in your inbox, and dinging on your phone as a text message.
The amount of communication between co-workers has definitely increased and that often leads to less work getting done. When it’s really a problem is when the talk is negative. Negative thoughts never helped anyone and it’s obvious that such thoughts make coming to work a chore. In addition, negative comments between or about co-workers make it more difficult to get things done.
If you’re looking to increase your productivity, enjoy your job more, and be an employee that your boss can count on to work with just about anyone – start avoiding the negative talk in the workplace.
No. 3 – Fighting your Internal Clock
When it comes to talking success in business you’ve probably heard that “all successful people wake up before 5 a.m.” right? If you’re a night owl then, it looks like you’ll never be a CEO and probably not even that successful in your career.
When it comes down to it, our sleep patterns and circadian rhythms are quite possibly genetic. Meaning that our internal clocks aren’t something we can so easily control or force to fit a certain schematic. If you’re a night owl you might find that it’s easier to get things done with an extra hour late in the evening where others find that early mornings are when they’re most productive. A recent scientific study shows that our modern-day sleeping habits may be ancient survival tools. In the days when people lived in groups or tribes, a variety of sleep patterns meant that at least 1 person would be up and alert to protect the tribe – and that means that every person was important.
Instead of crossing that dream of being a CEO off your list because you’re a hardcore night owl, use your skills to your advantage. Stop fighting your internal clock (waking up early if you’re a night owl or staying up late if you’re an early bird) and start using your strengths to your advantage. Take a look at your day and then put tasks where they make the most sense for you – of course maximizing your productivity and creativity. Once you accept what you are and then use it to your advantage you’ll find that your success will follow.
What other habits, good or bad, would you add to the list? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.
Ben Sutton is the founder of Mazuma USA, an accounting firm providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses. Since founding Mazuma, Ben has established himself as an expert in the small business world. He’s still driven by that same desire to provide accounting help to all small businesses – from photographers, bloggers and creatives to lawyers, doctors, and dentists, everyone needs affordable accounting help. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But Ben considers his greatest achievement and credential to be his happy wife and four children.