Career Development

6 Good Workplace Habits to Help You Succeed in Your Career

December 29, 2020

Highly successful people often attribute their success to specific habits. Some actions, when practiced daily, can help you maintain focus and complete your workplace tasks well. Consider cultivating workplace habits that help you become a valuable employee, impress your supervisors and advance at your company. In this article, we discuss six examples of good workplace habits you can develop to help you succeed in your career.

What are workplace habits?

A habit is an action that has been repeated often enough to become a regular practice. Developing positive habits for the workplace can help you to achieve career goals, maximize your productivity and remain task-oriented.

Since habits are repeated actions, you can train yourself to have positive ones. For example, you could set a reminder on your phone or laptop to notify you to do a particular action every day.

Another way to cultivate a habit is to mark an “X” on a calendar for each day you successfully perform the action you are trying to make into a habit. This visual reminder can help motivate you. The more you practice an action, the easier it is to make it a habit.

Related: Setting Goals to Improve Your Career

Types of habits to develop for a successful career

To begin developing positive habits, start by focusing on one or two things you’d like to start doing regularly. Once you have maintained one habit, you can attempt to add a new one. Here are six workplace habits to consider cultivating to help you achieve success in the workplace:

  1. Maintain a routine.
  2. Be punctual.
  3. Develop your strengths.
  4. Limit distractions.
  5. Manage stress.
  6. Reflect on your day.

1. Maintain a routine

A routine is a fixed sequence of actions. Having a routine at work, such as always beginning the day by planning three major goals to accomplish, can help you stay productive.

Consider forming a routine for your workdays that will help you accomplish your daily tasks. For example, you could write out the routine you wish to set and put it on your wall or desk. If you have frequent visual reminders of what you want to accomplish, you will be more likely to take those actions.

Follow these steps to develop an excellent workplace routine:

  • Identify the habits you already have and what you would like to change about your daily practice. Consider the times of day you work best and what your strengths and weaknesses are.

  • Create a list of the tasks you would like to do as part of your daily routine.

  • Once you’ve created the list of tasks, organize it into a general schedule. Consider the times of day you are usually most productive and how to utilize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

  • Use your phone, calendar or other reminders to help you maintain the schedule. You can also create a system of small rewards to motivate you to sustain the routine.

  • Remain flexible. Remember that your schedule is likely to be interrupted at various times, so leave room for unscheduled occurrences or keep the mindset that items on your agenda may change.

2. Be punctual

Punctuality involves submitting tasks on time and arriving to work on time. Make a habit of being punctual to help you succeed in your career.

Maintaining a regular schedule can also make it easier to wake up in time for work every day. To start developing this habit, try placing your phone or alarm clock away from your bed so you’ll have to walk over to it to turn it off. Forcing your body to move can help ensure that you start your day on time.

Here are a few tips for being punctual:

  • Plan your day the night before. Set up anything you can to make the next day easier, such as leaving out the files you’ll need for a meeting or choosing what you will wear the next day.

  • Set regular reminders well in advance. Create timelines for any projects, and set reminders at specific intervals, such as one or two days before a task is due. You could also set an alarm for 10 minutes before you need to leave your house to be at work on time as a warning to leave soon.

  • Use a countdown timer. You can add a countdown timer app to your computer or phone so you can see how much time you have left before a project is due.

  • Track how much time it usually takes you to complete specific tasks. Use this information to create a schedule that leaves you with ample time to meet deadlines.

  • Prioritize the most critical tasks first, so you have a higher likelihood of finishing them on time.

Related: How to Get Motivated at Work

3. Develop your strengths

Identify your talents and create a habit of optimizing them to help you achieve success in the workplace. Focusing on what you can do well will help you maintain a positive attitude, which can help you to view challenges as opportunities.

You can use your strengths to assist you in consistently achieving your workplace goals. Follow these steps to develop your strengths:

  • Consider the achievements you are most proud of, the tasks you can complete both well and easily, what interests you and the positive feedback you’ve received.

  • Using this information, make a list of what your strengths are.

  • Seek out roles or projects that let you utilize those skills often. You could tell your supervisor that you’d like to develop these areas and ask for related tasks.

  • Consider whether you can modify a workplace process, procedure or workflow to make more use of your strengths.

  • Research how people with similar talents use their skills to achieve success.

  • Set goals that are related to developing your strengths, such as taking a class or earning a certification in a particular area.

4. Limit distractions

If you can limit distractions during the workday, you will likely be more focused, task-oriented and able to achieve your goals. Consider how you usually spend your workdays, and identify things that take away your focus or prevent you from working at full capacity. Make a list of those things, then try to make a plan to eliminate or avoid them.

Some ideas to limit distractions are:

  • Put your cellphone somewhere less readily available than on your desk so you can focus on work instead of notifications.

  • Set your personal phone to “do not disturb” during business hours.

  • Use a timer to plan and limit your breaks.

  • Use a checklist to help you focus on accomplishing certain tasks.

  • Identify what parts of the day you are most focused, then schedule challenging tasks during that time.

  • Set reminders to help you stay focused.

  • Arrange your physical space to be more conducive to work. This might mean organizing your desk, moving your chair to change your view or choosing to work in a low-distraction area.

5. Manage stress

It’s natural to experience stress at work. Deadlines, workload, coworkers and supervisors can all be sources of frustration. Creating a habit for managing stress in a healthy way can help you maintain a positive attitude and focus on achieving your goals.

Consider making a plan for handling any stress you encounter at work. Here are some habits you can develop to help you manage stress:

  • Keep a journal. Writing down your worries, frustrations and challenges can be a way to work through your thoughts and release your emotions.

  • Use breathing exercises. Since breathing affects your whole body, practicing a few simple breathing techniques can help to relieve tension. For example, you can breathe in deeply and slowly, counting from one to four. Hold your breath while counting from one to five, then slowly release it while counting from one to six. Repeating this exercise can help you calm down.

  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity releases endorphins and increases your sense of well-being in addition to helping you maintain your health. Consider starting a daily exercise routine or taking a short walk during the workday to help relieve stress.

  • Listen to music. Music can have a relaxing effect, especially slow, calm or classical music. Try using headphones to listen to music at work (if it is appropriate in your workplace), or choose relaxing music to listen to on your way to and from the office.

6. Reflect on your day

To achieve success in the workplace, consider making a habit of reflecting on your day. Each evening before you leave work, take a few minutes to remember how the day went. You can create a list of things you could have done better and things you did well to identify successful actions and ways to improve. Use your reflection time to track your progress and motivate you to do better tomorrow.

Follow these steps to reflect on your day, or create your own process:

  • Use a notebook or create a document on your computer or phone in which you can write down your daily reflections.

  • Write the day of the week and the date at the top.

  • Spend three full minutes thinking about what you did well. Write a brief list or explanation.

  • Spend three full minutes thinking about how you could have done better. Write a brief list or explanation.

  • Read over your reflections, then choose one or a few things to focus on improving tomorrow.

  • Write down the items you’re going to focus on in your calendar, to-do list or planner. You could set a reminder in your phone that you’ll see in the morning or leave a sticky note on your desk so it will be the first thing you see when you get to work the next day.

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