Your career is your biggest financial asset and growing it is important. That said, how you act in the office can impact that career growth both positively and negatively. Beware these workplace habits that could be holding you back.
Think back to some recent conversations and see if the words “I’m sorry” seem to come out of your mouth, even for things or situations that don’t need apologizing over. The need to apologize often stems from trying to be polite at all times, and while there’s nothing wrong with being polite, excessively apologizing speaks to something more. When you do it just to avoid conflict, like it would be better to apologize in advance even when you are not to blame for anything, or when it shows that you put too much value on other people’s opinions, then it can affect both your career and your self-esteem.
When an apology becomes more than what it should be, you give off an image of yourself that you are not confident with who you are — it is a sign of insecurity and self-doubt. In the end, it will have you prioritizing pleasing others over taking initiative and making career moves.
In a close-proximity setting with people who spend long hours together, gossip tends to flourish. It seems like a natural thing to have a chitchat with a co-worker while on a coffee break and talk about Michael from Finance who you just heard had been given his notice over something “confidential.” While chats are not a bad thing and a little catch up while waiting for your photocopies to finish is a good way to maintain relationships with your office mates, gossiping is an entirely different thing. Gossiping can be toxic and harmful, and you don’t want your co-workers to feel like they can’t trust you. Avoid it so you don’t get involved in company drama.
Having no personal and work boundaries
Are you one of those people who skip lunch just to get a bit more done? Or are you the one who answers every text and message from work, even when you are already in bed at night? Do you have the feeling that your work is eating away at your time for yourself — that it keeps invading those moments when you should be enjoying valuable time with family or friends? If so, then stop making people think that you are available at their beck and call.
You need to set boundaries on work and personal times. If emails are sent at the end of a work day and do not necessarily need your immediate response, stop yourself from replying. When you reply to a message that can be read and replied to the next day, you make people feel that it is OK for you to be reached at any time. They will think that it is acceptable to trample on your boundaries because they don’t see any boundaries in the first place. So the next time you get a task just as you are about to go to lunch, stop the urge to do it immediately and tell the person politely that you are on your way out to lunch and will get back to them as soon as you return.
Doing things the way they’ve always been done
Progress is about innovation and continued change. While it is good that you are consistent in how you do your job, be open to learning and adapting; upgrade yourself to what is current and relevant in your industry and in your job. This is a fast-paced world we live in, and innovations and developments crop up quickly. While it may be easier to stick to what you know, staying current will pay off more in advancing your career to new heights.
While it is unavoidable to do multiple things at once, keep in mind that this can actually make you less productive. Juggling too many tasks can make you distracted, and, ultimately, your deliverables will end up suffering. In the end, it is wiser to put more time into doing tasks individually to come up with better results.
What you need to remember about multitasking is that you are not actually doing everything at once — you are actually switching between tasks. The more you attempt to juggle, the less of your time, focus, and attention you have to give to each. Studies have shown that multitasking actually slows you down, makes you prone to more mistakes, and leads to higher stress levels. It is detrimental not only to your career, but also to your personal life.
Take some time to soul search and see if you find any of these behaviors within yourself. If you do, try to be more aware of them in your workplace so they don’t hold you back in your career.