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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
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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):

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  • 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 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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