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8 Bad Work Habits You Probably Have That Make Work Unbearable

8 Bad Work Habits You Probably Have That Make Work Unbearable

Are you one of the 70% who are dissatisfied with their current job situation? There could be many reasons that make work unbearable. These can include factors from a tyrannical boss, long hours, unpleasant colleagues to a low salary. But have you ever thought of turning the spotlight on yourself? Maybe you have some bad work habits that are making the whole work experience totally negative.

Any bad habits you may have are going to impact how you work, your assessment, and most importantly what your colleagues think of you. Read on and discover what these might be.

1.You are moody and temperamental

Your colleagues never know with any certainty how you are going to react to greetings, proposals, invitationsv and phone calls. Your changeable mood means that you are probably bringing domestic problems into the workplace. Do you sulk or refuse to greet colleagues with a smile? Are you irritable and bad-tempered? If so, it may be time to separate your personal problems from those of the workplace.

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2.You have stopped caring

Remember when you first came to the job and you were enthusiastic? Can you recall answering at the interview what you could bring to the job?  If you no longer care what happens in the company and have built a little fortress round your desk, then it may be time to re-evaluate what you are doing in this job.

3.You are always negative

It was Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott who invented the word ‘negaholic’. If you fall into this category, it means that you are using phrases like these too often:

  • ‘This is not in my job description’
  • ‘That’s not my problem’
  • ‘This may be a stupid question, but…..’
  • ‘I will try to meet that deadline but….’.
  • ‘I don’t have time to discuss this right now’
  • ‘He’s a lazy jerk’
  • ‘I hate my job’
  • ‘The management in this company sucks’

 Negative people in the workplace are usually regarded as being toxic or cancerous by management. Sooner or later, they will be eliminated.

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4.You are often late

Being unpunctual usually means that someone else has to hold the fort until you arrive. Meetings may be delayed, callers are put on hold, and colleagues are kept waiting. This has negative consequences for everybody. Try being punctual for a whole week and see what happens. You might notice a thaw in the atmosphere.

5.You are lazy

‘Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction’ – Anne Frank

Work is tough, so you want to do the minimum. You are convinced that too much work can be toxic. You see loads of colleagues stressed out, so you feel perfectly justified.

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The only problem is that your laziness will affect your co-workers’ productivity, and this will boomerang on you, sooner or later. If you are part of a team, laziness will be dealt with decisively and you may well be punished or even demoted.

6.You rarely show gratitude

Gratitude seems to be in short supply at work. This was the finding in a survey of 2,000 Americans at work, carried out by the John Templeton Foundation. A feeling of gratitude not only leads to a happier workplace but actually can have a positive impact on workers’ physical and mental health.

Ideally, you should be able to show your appreciation by simply saying “thank you”. Similarly, you expect your work and efforts to be acknowledged in some way. This can range from the tiny day to day trivialities to the job performance assessment. Just think that everyone craves praise, attention and appreciation. Gratitude is infectious, so it will be returned to you. You will notice a better atmosphere when people are more grateful and positive.

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7. You are cynical

‘Cynicism is full of naïve disappointments’ – Mason Cooley

Perhaps you had a negative experience when you approached your line manager with an issue. That issue was not resolved and led to it festering. You were disappointed, and now you are embittered. Since then, your cynicism has grown and you are sceptical of the value of change. You view customer care as a pain in the neck. Your attitude is that the company has not been loyal to you, so why should you bother? Your cynical attitude is like a cancer growing out of control.

8.You are too noisy

A lack of self awareness leads to noisy behavior, which disturbs your co-workers. You are totally oblivious of (or could not care less about):

  • Talking in a very loud voice on the phone
  • Heavy sighing
  • Moving your chair noisily
  • Banging box files on the desk
  • Foot kicking
  • Pen tapping
  • Slamming the phone down
  • Eating at your desk noisily

Instead of waiting for icy glares and nasty comments, why not try to quiet down? Just tackle one problem every week.

So, how did you do?  Perhaps there are one or several areas that you need to work on in order to make your work bearable again for you and your colleagues.

Featured photo credit: Meeting/USDA gov via Flickr

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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