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Seven Bad Work Habits that Can Stall Your Career

May 9, 2022 10:00:00 AM
By Linda Trzyna

in Career Chat, Remote Work, career advancement, Remote Work Best Practices

Bad habits: We all have them. Left unchecked, bad habits at work can sometimes slow the progress toward our career goals.

It’s a good idea to occasionally assess your career and identify any bad habits that might be holding you back.

Below are seven unhelpful work habits, along with steps you can take toward positive behavior changes.

Blurring Work Hours

Our always-connected culture makes it easy to work whenever and wherever we want. Aside from affecting your home life, never disconnecting from work can increase stress and lead to burnout.

Do you tend to start work earlier or end later because your office is in your home? Try to create a ritual around the start or end of your day, recommends Doug Holt, a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. “Just as you would bow when leaving a karate dojo to signal that you’re done with your practice, this will signal the end of a workday so that you can be with your family,” he says.

E-Mail Attachment

Do you check your work email when you first wake up and continue to check it until well after quitting time? Try replacing your email-checking habit with an activity focused on you, rather than work – a morning walk, meditation, or yoga, for instance.

Poor Organization

Disorganized work habits can make us dread Monday. They also can lead to last-minute rushing and poor execution. You may take longer to finish a task, be unprepared for meetings, or even miss deadlines. To help keep things straight:

  • Make a to-do list every Friday so you can quickly get up to speed on Monday.
  • Use your electronic calendars to keep up with meetings and deadlines. If there’s a specific task you need to accomplish, schedule that, too.
  • A good old-fashioned filing system can keep your papers organized and clear your cluttered desk.

Sneaking a Social Peek

Social media has become a major workplace distraction. According to a survey by ComPsych, “nearly 90 percent of employees say they check social media at work.” This bad habit represents a misuse of work time. To avoid the temptation of social feeds, turn off notifications and stick your cellphone in a drawer so you can concentrate on your work tasks.

Losing Focus

If you find your attention waning on a project, take a mini-break. Go for a short walk or step away from your computer to clear your head.

Camera Shy

Turning off the camera during virtual meetings so you can multitask disengages you from the discussion. Instead, turn on the video, listen well, and participate when appropriate, just as you would if you were attending the meeting in person.


Maybe you welcome distractions because you’re dissatisfied with your job.

Talk with your supervisor and tell them you’re up for a new challenge or take the initiative to learn something new. Help your co-workers with their tasks. Set goals, maybe even change roles.

Bad habits can be broken, but it takes effort. By identifying and correcting non-productive activities, you take a positive step toward advancing your career.


If you're ready for a new opportunity this year, start your search with TPD today!

Filed under Career Chat, Remote Work, career advancement, Remote Work Best Practices

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