Warning: 3 Ways You’re Throwing Away Precious Hours You’ll Never Get Back

Warning: 3 Ways You’re Throwing Away Precious Hours You’ll Never Get Back

Bad habits at work are costing you precious hours of your life. On days when it feels like you’re flapping your wings as hard as you can, but you never seem to get anywhere, one of the habits below is usually to blame.

Give up even one of these habits and you’ll get more done in less time and go home energized instead of stressed out and overwhelmed.

3 Bad Work Habits to Give Up Now

 1. Stop responding immediately to non-urgent email: If your inbox is always open on your desktop, it’s nearly impossible to resist checking mail and responding to it. (Think third day dieter with a package of Oreos.) Stymie the temptation by closing your mail for chunks of time. Check in every 30 minutes if you have the type of job that requires immediate email responses. Remember, not every email is urgent. Have a set time to return non-urgent emails. 3 times a day works well for me.

2. Stop trying to keep track of everything in your head: I’ve run into more than a few smarty pants who pride themselves on keeping track of everything (to do’s, calendars, passwords, etc.) in their heads. The problem with this method is that all of these bits of information take up valuable mental real estate and deplete your energy. I use a weekly To Do list to keep track of everything in one place. I also have a paper calendar and a password book that are invaluable. Pouring all of those tasks onto paper will help you to maintain your energy levels and stay fresh throughout the day.

3. Stop jumping into your work before planning: It’s Monday morning and you’re raring to go, so you get to your desk and dive in. But did you ask yourself What is the best thing that I can do today? Failing to evaluate which tasks will bring the biggest benefits can leave us in a cycle of busywork that leads to nowhere. Take 15 minutes at the beginning of the day to organize your day and list 3 tasks that you absolutely want to get finished today. Make sure to check in and ask yourself Why is this task on my Top 3 today? This kind of reflection is critical to making meaningful progress.   Of course, fires will come up, but you’ll be ready to jump right back into your Top 3 once the problems are solved.

Just think of the extra time, mental energy, and freedom from stress you’ll have if you discipline yourself to stop doing these 3 things.

What other bad work habits do you think we need to give up to feel happier at work? Leave a comment below.

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About the Author

Monica Scalf is the founder of The Playground Group, LLC, a company that helps organizations increase bottom line results by investing in the development of their people. Since 2009, she has been teaching workshops on teamwork, productivity, and personal effectiveness in places such as P&G, Lexis Nexis, and Xavier University. Her mission is to help create positive and productive workplaces where employees thrive without sacrificing personal happiness.
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