Workplace Habits You Should Break

It’s Monday – the start of a new week. Perhaps you indulged in a few too many cocktails this weekend or didn’t make to your early morning yoga class yesterday. Maybe your weekend could have been more productive and you woke up today thinking you would like to have a productive week to make up for it. Why not break certain workplace habits to make your life easier?

Clear the Clutter
Much like having clean clothes, dishes and a clutter-free home makes you feel more in control and organized, a tidy desk and office will have the same effect. Get rid of the clutter on your desk, surroundings and drawers. Purchase folders to keep papers organized and get out of the habit of tossing things blindly into your desk drawers. So much time is wasted rummaging through that drawer at a later point in time in an attempt to find that important business card. Instead of a wall scattered with paper and sticky notes (it still happens), or notebooks filled with discombobulated, barely-legible notes, make a habit of documenting things in your smartphones or other electronic devices.

Avoid unnecessarily lengthy lunches
Today, not many young professionals have the luxury of an hour-long lunch break. Especially if you’re only in the office 9-5 or 6, an hour or more break at lunch is not necessary. It is one thing to combine business meetings with lunches or to entertain clients over the lunch break, but we are always surprised to hear that some of our young professional peers frequently meet friends for lunch and perhaps enjoy a cocktail in the middle of the day. We are not suggesting that every meal needs to be quickly eaten at your desk, but may it be more productive to take a shorter lunch break and a little mid-morning and mid-afternoon break as well. The expectation of a lengthy lunch break also likely means restaurants and probably eating a large meal causing you to crash and drag for the remainder of the afternoon.

Turn off your personal devices if they are not needed
Save the personal text messages and calls for the transit ride on the way home, while waiting in line for coffee, or on your lunch break. Although many young professionals are in fact addicted to their smart phones, countless time is wasted during the day when becoming engrossed (or trapped) in a BBM conversation or group email. Some friends, especially those with their own businesses, don’t understand how stressful the workday can be and how unwelcomed a series of reply-demanding text messages at 11am are. If you don’t need it for work, make a point of keeping your phone in your bag or jacket pocket and see how long you can go without checking it.

Leave your personal life out of it
At times, and for everyone, personal life has the ability to affect your work life. Workers may be distracted and unable to fully focus when dealing with things like heartbreak, a death in the family or financial stresses. Bringing issues into the workplace will only bring you down and causes your work to suffer. Instead, view the workplace as a sanctuary from your problems from the moment you walk in the door. There should be a noticeable shift in mentality from work mode to friend mode to home mode. This doesn’t just go for the negative stuff. While we feel that workplace friendships are important, so much time is wasted in talking about personal life at the office, whether it is a lengthy gossip session about the date you had the night before or how your mother-in-law is getting on your nerves. You are only going to repeat the story later when you meet the guys to watch the game or call up a girlfriend anyway.

Stop treating Fridays as a highbred of the workweek and the weekend
In most offices, there is a distinct feel to Fridays. Especially among young professionals, rarely does anyone go out of their way to be at the office extra early on Fridays. Quite the contrary, many YPs find themselves dragging their tails for the majority of Friday mornings thanks to that last cocktail from the typical Thursday night circuit. It’s not secret that we love our Thursdays, but make a point of being home by 11pm, if possible. Just as Friday mornings have a distinct feel, so do Friday afternoons, especially after the 2pm mark. Some companies facilitate this, with things like afternoon beer carts and allowing their employees to dress more casually and leave a little earlier. Just because the tone of the typical Friday is more casual, it does not mean that your mindset needs to be. Not to mention, your Monday wont be as stressful and daunting if you take care of loose ends on Friday instead of “dealing with it on Monday” and flying out of the office at the strike of 5pm.