5 Everyday Habits that are affecting your Work

Last updated 2 Dec 2015 . 6 min read

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A habit is defined by the American Journal of Psychology as a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience. Research also indicates that any action when done consistently for a period of 21 days, gets ingrained as an unconscious action i.e. a “habit”. Since these happen without our active efforts or notice, habits, especially undesirable ones, can interfere in everyday life both personal and professional.  A significant impact results on professional career growth wherein some habits are known to act as derailers. 


Procrastination is a typical “escapist” tendency. Chronic procrastination is a habit that cuts across all domains of life including personal.  The reasons for procrastination can be many – avoiding difficult tasks, being affected by distractions, aiming for perfection etc., the base-line being the lack of self-discipline or self-regulation. A typical behaviour amongst procrastinators is that they lie to themselves, telling themselves that situations may be better tomorrow or the task may be more doable tomorrow. This habit when spilling over to the work domain can create havoc on deliverables and deadlines, but also impact the morale of entire teams. Do you find yourself setting in this pattern? A few handy easy to implement actions can help you overcome the struggle with putting off things for tomorrow-

  • Break down deliverables into “achievable” tasks”
  • Reduce distractions
  • Ignore the “feel good” factor of avoidance: Get comfortable with difficult tasks by conditioning your mind to think about how you shall feel after achieving it!
  • Celebrate wins: Rewarding yourself for a task achieved on time and as required provides the small everyday motivation that keeps us going and achieving.

Focus versus multitasking

Juggling a thousand priorities calls for multitasking as a key skill for getting work done. Yet, how much do we truly concentrate while multitasking? It is a research based proven fact that the human brain is not wired to focus on concurrent tasks at the same optimum level of performance. Multitasking splits the brain – your brain trying to frantically switch and re-adjust between the myriad priorities effectively allowing for only a few seconds of “focus” on each task. A social outcome of multitaskers is that they “appear” to be more effective and hence everyone wishes to emulate them. If you find yourself in the same rut and struggling to get things completed get over the desire to make a lot happen by focusing on the few that matter, one at a time:

  • Schedule for one activity at a time: Be it a presentation to be completed, calls to be made or a document to be reviewed, schedule and access only one actionable at a time
  • Learn to say “no”: A thousand distractions may crop up, someone asking for 10 min of your time, while in reality it is 30 min – 10 min to disengage from your current task psychologically and another ten to refocus on your task once back. Learn to say “no” politely and block dedicated time for another slot.

Distraction Addiction: Disconnecting for connecting online

With a mix of social media out there, some interesting knick-knack is always calling out to us to be seen or heard. Technology at our fingertips 24*7 creates a compulsive obsessions to ‘share’, ‘like’ and ‘tweet’ the latest happening. In fact many companies have strict IT policies regarding access to the world wide web, but with the advent of smartphones, many of these are negated. The effect is going far away into a different world and then taking your time to “get back” to the reality of the task at hand. While time wasted is one impact, the emotional stress created due to the gap between the virtual world and the real-time environment nudges a resentment that can hamper work productivity.

  • If you must, schedule “escape breaks” and check your emails, social media plug in only during these as a 5 minute refresher!
  • Strong will power is the key – avoid temptation intermittently between tasks and promise yourself a “2 min peep” once you complete the task.

Carrying your mood to work:

Attitudes are infectious and more-so at the workplace where working in teams is the way of life. Negativity harbours negativity, its similar to the adage of one rotten apple spoiling the whole basket.  Moreover, impressions once created continue to stick. Definitely you don’t want to be known as the cribber around the water cooler conversations?

  • Gesture of compliments: Who does not like to be complimented? Be it a presentation done well or a vibrant shirt, throw a dash of cheer with a well time and relevant compliment and see the positivity.  
  • Get a break: A short walk around the office or engaging in some casual chit-chat can lighten up the mood and invigorate you for the task ahead.
  • A personalized desk: Having a fond momentum on your desk can break mundane thoughts and help you focus on lighter aspects as you work on your agendas.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

Ever seen the nerdy geek who seems to get lost in the neon glow of his computer as the day draws to a wee end? The a socialite who seems glued to his or her cubicle, never batting an eyelid, never saying more than a random “hi” as a way of greeting. Overstressed, overworked and lost in their own world. Do you see that as you glance at the mirror?

  • Take time out for what your truly enjoy doing.
  • Get moving, exercise your body for a happy rush
  • Eat healthy and on time to fuel your body for vigour and vitality
  • Learn how to relax

Making way for healthy work habits is the key to happiness and satisfaction in professional life. Small but sure steps can go a long way in reducing stress and egging you to achieve the true potential that exists in every human being!

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Rhucha Kulkarni
Hailing from Mumbai, Rhucha is an HR professional by day and a travel enthusiast, photography enthusiast, writer, poet and avid reader at heart. Weaving together words and freezing moments in time through her clicks is what keeps her ticking. When not out exploring the various facets of nature, you can find her admire the various birds visiting her balcony as she savours a piping cuppa.

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