6 Bad Habits That Are Ruining Your Career


We all have our own list of little bad habits — some longer than others. Maybe you talk with your mouth full or cut people off when they're speaking. (I'm guilty of the latter myself.) But while these habits seem benign enough on the surface, they can sometimes interfere with your career and potentially affect your upward mobility — and subsequently, your finances.

How can you identify which of your naughty little habits to consider correcting? Here's a look at six examples that can potentially impede your work and make it harder for you to get ahead.

1. Being a Negative Nancy — Or Ned

There's nothing more annoying than being around someone who complains and whines about everything. It doesn't matter if it's about family, work, or life, they always take a glass half-empty approach and find something wrong with everything.

If this description fits you, you might argue that this is who you are or that you've always been this way. But what you may not realize is that being negative about life can impact how you feel about your work. (See also: 6 Ways to Banish Negative Thoughts)

No matter where you work or what you do, nothing is ever going to go perfectly. Your employer will get on your nerves, some of your coworkers might be slackers, and you might not be completely satisfied with your job description or salary. It's okay to vent, but constantly complaining and whining about a situation and being negative isn't going to change anything. You're only going to make your life harder.

Yes, there's a downside to every job, but rather than focus on what's wrong at work, focus on what's right. A positive mindset helps you stay motivated and increases productivity. You're not likely to give your employer 100% if you don't feel good about your job, and this lack of effort can affect whether you receive promotions and raises.

2. Always Running Late

Your friends and family might accept that you're always running 10 or 20 minutes behind schedule. Lord knows mine have. Your employer, however, may not be as understanding. If you never arrive to work on time and you're always late coming back from lunch, you'll have a hard time fitting all your work into a single day. And if your day gets off to a slow start, there's a chance that you'll miss deadlines and delay projects, which puts everyone behind schedule. If your boss realizes that you're the common denominator in project delays, this can affect your reputation and whether you move up in the company, and possibly put your job on the line.

3. Social Media Addiction

If you're glued to your phone or tablet 24/7 and you can't go longer than 10 minutes without checking your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, you'll have a difficult time trying to get through an eight-hour workday. Being able to keep up with your friends and family via social media helps you stay connected even when you're far away, for sure. But if your notifications are going off every five minutes and you're pausing work several times a day to respond to comments, like photos, or read the latest news on your newsfeed, you're not giving your work the attention it deserves. (See also: 5 Ways to Break Your Social Media Habit)

Besides, your employer can very easily access your accounts and see what, when, and where you're updating. Push the limit and you may find yourself with a newfound freedom to engage your social media without that pesky job holding your back.

4. Skipping Meals

Whether you're trying to lose weight or you're the type of person who forgets to eat when your mind's occupied (like me!), skipping meals interferes with work performance more than you realize. You need as much physical and mental energy as possible to get through the day, especially if you have a demanding job. Skipping lunch can eventually affect how you feel about your job and result in feelings of sluggishness, irritability, and brain fog.

"When workers skip a lunch break on a regular basis, they often don't realize that fatigue and burnout are creeping up on them until they wake up one day and 'suddenly' feel less enthusiastic about their jobs or businesses," says Dr. Janet Scarborough Civitelli, a workplace psychologist at VocationVillage.com.

5. Procrastinating

Everyone procrastinates from time to time. If you're not excited about something, it's much easier to put it off until tomorrow or the next day. Procrastination can affect your health if you're the type of person who puts off checkups, and it can affect your personal finances if you wait until the last minute to pay bills and end up paying late. However, the effects of procrastination don't stop there, as it also affects your work and career.

If you're a chronic procrastinator, you might put off important work assignments until the last minute, especially those that are challenging or boring. This can result in missing deadlines and targets, or rushing to complete an assignment at the last minute and making careless mistakes. Understand that procrastination at work doesn't only affect you — it affects the whole organization. It only takes one slacker to slow productivity to a crawl, and your job might be in jeopardy if your bad habits start affecting the company's bottom line.

6. Smoking

I don't need to explain how bad smoking is for your health, or how it increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. You already know that. But you might not realize how smoking impedes your work.

Every smoke break at work takes time away from your job duties. Sneaking away for a four or five-minute break every couple hours may not seem like a big deal, but these minutes add up over the course of a day, week, or year, which affects overall production. Smoking can also weaken your immune system, resulting in more sick days, and some of your coworkers might have to pick up the slack to accommodate for your absence. And if your boss restricts the number of smoke breaks employees can take, you might not get your nicotine fix when you need it. This can trigger irritability, nervousness, and affect the quality of your work. For those reasons — and a million more — do yourself a favor and kick the habit once and for all.

Are there other bad life habits you've noticed that impede one's work? Let me know in the comments below.

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