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5 Bad Habits That Waste Your Day Away (and What to Do About Them)


Ever wonder why some people are hyper-productive and others are always playing catch-up? If you’re part of the latter group, then you’re probably guilty of productivity-destroying behaviors. Learn how to kick those bad habits, so you can stop wondering why there are never enough hours in a day.

wasting time at work

(Photo Credit: Death to the Stock Photo)

Bad Habit #1: Poor Listening

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Your constant need to finish people’s sentences or interrupt others while they’re talking is causing you to sound like a know-it-all who doesn’t value what others are saying. Did you know that the single most important thing about negotiating (i.e. getting a raise) is listening to what the other person is saying? 

Solution: It’s time to zip your lips and practice your listening skills. What’s the benefit of being a good listener, you ask?

“It helps build relationships, solve problems, ensure understanding, resolve conflicts, and improve accuracy. At work, effective listening means fewer errors and less wasted time,” says Forbes‘ Dianne Schilling.

Bad Habit #2: Saying “Yes” to Everything

If you never say no, then you’re probably not really listening to what is being asked of you, you’re definitely over-committing, and making yourself look bad in the end. There’s nothing wrong with being agreeable, but when it’s all you’re doing, you’re creating a situation in which it’s impossible to meet any of your commitments.

Solution: For starters, stop, think, and listen before you blurt out, “Yes!” Ask yourself, “Am I understanding what’s being asked of me?” There’s nothing wrong with getting back to the person after checking your workload/priorities or simply asking for further clarification on something you may not understand fully. It’s better to be realistic with yourself and others, than to pretend you’re this superstar who can do it all, only to fall short because you weren’t prepared for the task at hand.

Bad Habit #3: Gossiping

Gossiping in the office doesn’t just waste valuable time, but costs the company money, morale, and good employees. If you find yourself caught up in the office gossip, then beware, because you may also be jeopardizing your reputation and employment with your petty opinions of others. Remember, loose lips sink ships … and careers.

Solution: Once you’re knee-deep in the office gossip, it’s hard to get out. The first step to removing yourself is to keep busy, or at least look like you’re busy to your fellow gossipers. You’ll not only be much more productive by not participating in useless chatter, but you’ll probably find that you’re happier with your job than when you were the office “Chatty Cathy.” Learn some helpful ways to deal with negative co-workers, here.

Bad Habit #4: Complaining

Do you find yourself doing nothing but complaining to co-workers throughout the day? Your negative thoughts are probably interrupting your work, causing you to lose focus and leave your work to find the nearest person who will listen to you. Complaining is a waste of time and it does nothing but dampen the mood, morale, and your career potential. If you’re constantly in a state of negativity, then how do you expect to have a successful career? Not many employers value a professional who is known to complain about anything and everything at work, so shape up or ship out.

Solution: The next time you find yourself jumping on the “complain train” at work, stop yourself in your tracks and detour your thoughts to a more positive route. No good comes from complaining, so take a break and try and get your mind back on track. Find the good in every situation, rather than immediately focusing on the negative and dwelling. Practice thought-stopping and these other successful methods to improve your mindset and your mood.

Bad Habit #5: Your Phone Addiction

Chances are, you’re addicted to your phone and check it obsessively, like every other unproductive person. Did you know that goldfish now have better attention spans than humans? It’s a sad, sad fact, but it’s definitely true. Not only are you wasting your precious time checking and re-checking your phone, but you’re creating unnecessary distractions throughout your workday that break your focus and make you less productive.

Solution: Break the addiction to your phone and unplug! You’ll find that unplugging will boost your productivity, efficiency, mood, and even improve your quality of sleep. People are most productive the first few hours they get to work, so put your phone away until lunch rolls around and see if you’re not wildly more productive.

Now that you’re cognizant of these five productivity-sucking bad habits, it’s time to implement the solutions proposed above into your workday and finally be the employee you set out to be in your career. Good luck!

Tell Us What You Think

What other bad habits do you see co-workers committing in your office? Share your thoughts with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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