In 2019, focus on making your work life as happy and anxiety-free as it can be. Check out what bad habits to avoid this year, and see if you’re guilty of them yourself.
1. Skipping Breaks and Meals
Sometimes, we get so busy that we tell ourselves there isn’t time to eat lunch or step outside for a breath of fresh air. And that simply isn’t true. Unless you’re on a tight deadline or in the midst of a genuine crisis, you can always find 15 minutes to spare. The key is to be intentional about it. This year, start scheduling breaks on your calendar and stop ignoring your growling stomach.
2. Letting the Sunday Scaries Get You Down
Every Sunday afternoon around four o’clock, do you start thinking about Monday, stressing about what you maybe didn’t get done on Friday and lamenting the five-day workweek? This is normal, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of telling yourself that Monday is something to dread, you can change up the narrative by being a bit more organized and giving yourself something fun to look forward to at the beginning of each week—like, say, treating yourself to your favorite latte. Set initiatives to motivate you.
3. Winging it on Mondays
In attempt to avoid Sunday evening anxiety and to have an all-around more productive workweek, stop spending Monday mornings getting your bearings and start making a to-do list for yourself every Friday. That way, when you get to your desk after a fun-filled weekend, you can pick up right where you left off.
4. Pushing Through Unproductive Spells
What do you do when you find yourself in an unproductive rut? You can be motivated to perform at a 110 percent level each day, but chances are you’ll come across a day when your brain simply refuses to focus. You can try chaining yourself to your desk in hopes of getting more work done, but usually the mind doesn’t work that way.
When I find myself in an unproductive spell, I find it effective to get up from my desk and take a walk, brew some coffee or run a quick errand. Stepping away from the computer usually helps me to clear my head and return to my desk feeling re-energized.
5. Falling Behind on Expense Reports
Or filling out time sheets. Or TPS reports. Whatever it may be. All those little administrative details can be cumbersome—but they’re still important. Plus, being chronically late drives your co-workers crazy. This change will make keeping track of receipts and billable hours easier and—more importantly—it’ll make you a better co-worker.
6. Saying You’ll Do it Tomorrow
Simply stop procrastinating. It’s easy to put off the tasks we’re dreading until tomorrow—until tomorrow comes. Rather than letting those undesirable projects languish on your to-do list for days on end, promise yourself that you’ll knock them out as soon as possible.
7. Using Way Too Many Exclamation Points!
We want to seem friendly! And want to make our requests sound light and breezy! We don’t want our contacts to think we’re rude! Honestly, it might be an attempt to seem approachable, but don’t go overboard with the exclamation points. Know your audience and decide what works best.
8. Over-Explaining Yourself
Do you find yourself writing fluffy, superfluous introductions for most of the emails you send? This year it’s time to be more direct. If you’re following up on a client invoice or reminding a colleague about an upcoming deadline, you don’t need to explain why. It’s obvious! And you don’t need to apologize for doing your job, either.
9. Working When You’re Sick
At the start of a career or new job, it’s normal to want to demonstrate your outstanding work ethic by pushing through sick days that creep up on you. Trust me, no one wants you dragging your sniffly, contagious self into the office to force yourself to work. Maybe your company allows you the option to work from home, but, regardless, your co-workers will not want to be around your germs.
If you are genuinely ill, you should probably spend more time sleeping and less time on the computer (or at least work from home). Hopefully you have a healthy year ahead, but if you do come down with a nasty cold, let yourself rest.
10. Avoiding Company Events
Regardless of whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, attending company events is always a good opportunity to get to know your colleagues better. Sometimes, after a busy week, you might want to stay home and avoid social interaction — we’ve all been there.
That’s not a bad thing per se, but if your kneejerk reaction is to find a way to get out of attending a team happy hour or a company party, you’re probably going to miss out on some great relationship-building opportunities. You don’t have to say yes to every invitation, but you won’t regret trying to participate more.
11. Spending Your Entire Paycheck on Coffee and Overpriced Lunches
Preparing lunches and making coffee at home/the office can make a big difference for your paycheck. I love going out to lunch as much as the next person, but those outings add up quickly. Find a day to treat yourself if you need it, but otherwise this will be a very cost-effective tip.
12. Hating Your Workspace
We spend way too much time at our desks not to enjoy our workspaces. Add a little personal touch to your workspace to make you feel more at home. Whatever you need to make yourself thrive in your environment. Set yourself up for success, starting with your workspace setup.
13. Neglecting Your Network
If you’re not actively searching for a new job, do you tend to go a little quiet on your network? No one wants to be the person who only reaches out when they need something. Life is all about relationships. Dedicate time to keeping in contact with current and former colleagues. Check in just to say hello. Engage on LinkedIn. A little social interaction never hurt anyone (even you introverts), and it’s essential for keeping professional relationships strong.
14. Being Too Lazy to Learn
You should never stop learning. It’s easy to get a little complacent when you are comfortable in your work and routine. However, just because you know what you’re doing in your role doesn’t mean that you’ve learned everything you possibly can. Chances are, you’re surrounded by a ton of intelligent co-workers that you could easily learn from.
If you feel that you might be coasting, seek out new ways to challenge yourself. Maybe opt to attend a workshop, take a class, read up on the latest trends in your industry or reach out to a trusted mentor for feedback on how you can step up your game.
True growth happens when you step outside of your comfort zone and push yourself to be better. Don’t be lazy to learn something new because you feel like you won’t be good or understand it. Take things one day at a time. Even the littlest step forward is still progress pushing you in the direction of where you want to go. Don’t second guess yourself. Always learn and grow. You’ve got this.
15. Sticking it Out in the Wrong Job
Hopefully you are very happy in your current role. Being passionate about what you do is a key to success, and I believe everyone has a set of unique talents to be offered. If you find yourself in a job that’s not fulfilling or a job that is taking a major toll on your happiness and overall life, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the situation. Life is short. Find something you love to do.
These habits won’t disappear overnight, but you should feel excited about trying to ditch the behaviors that dampen your overall happiness. Even if you only succeed some of the time, at least you’ll be making improvements.
Cheers to a successful, productive and balanced 2019.
This post was originally seen on The Muse.
Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.