We are all creatures of habit. Every single day, we execute a series of behaviors that take us from morning, through noon, and into night. Largely, these aren't well-considered actions; they're the result of repeated behaviors -- habits that have been ingrained in us.
In a study conducted by David T. Neal, Wendy Wood, and Jeffrey M. Quinn entitlted "Habits -- A Repeat Performance," it was determined that "approximately 45 percent of everyday behaviors tended to be repeated in the same location almost every day."
That's almost half of everything we do.
According to the Department of Labor, in 2014, the average number of hours worked per day for men was 8.4 hours, and for women it was 7.8 hours. That translates to 3.78 hours of habitual behavior for men, and 3.51 hours for women during the course of a regular workday.
These so-called "career habits" can either help to propel us forward in our respective positions and fields, or to hold us back.
From the websites we visit while at work, to the amount we socialize on our smartphones and other devices, to our propensity for organization and productivity in the workplace, and all things in between, career habits are a core indicator of our potential for success.
For those that want to succeed in their careers, rise to the top of the proverbial corporate ladder, and excel at their jobs, harboring the right career habits is an integral ingredient in the recipe for success. The following nine career habits are an essential part of the bigger picture.
#1 -- Arrive 30 Minutes Early
Nearly one in five Americans (19 percent) are late to work at least once every week, according to a YouGov study published by Forbes. The same study suggests that nearly half (48 percent) arrive on time.
However, arriving on time or even a few minutes beforehand simply doesn't cut it anymore. In today's highly-competitive workplace, arriving early is a must-have career habit.
By arriving 30 minutes early, you'll have time to decompress and plan for the day ahead. You can create and execute a workplace morning routine that will give you an advantage for gaining perspective an insight for what needs to be done.
#2 - Add Excessive Value
We need to always add value to the world. It's a hallmark of any successful individual, business, or organization. If we're not adding value, it's impossible to get ahead. Whatever you do, always look to doing the most amount of work for the least return, at least initially.
This career habit might seem foreign to most people. In fact, most will do the least amount of work, expecting the greatest return. But that's certainly no way to get ahead. People take notice when you're adding value.
When others see you doing the most amount of work, in an attempt to add an exceedingly high amount of value to the the workplace, your career will skyrocket. It won't happen overnight. But it will eventually happen.
#3 - Organize Your Workspace
Organization is a leading career habit. Not only does it lend itself to a clean and uncluttered workspace, but it also helps to increase clarity of mind. At first glance, clutter might not seem disturbing to the disorganized person, but it wreaks havoc on the subconscious.
In a study conducted by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, it was determined that "multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system."
When we're disorganized, it's harder to focus. There are too many things competing for our attention. We get sidetracked, then default to bad habits such as checking social media or wasting time doing other non work-related activities.
#4 - Prioritize Your Day
This career habit focuses on prioritizing your tasks for the workday. It's easy to veer off on a tangent when we don't list out and order the importance of things we have to do in the day. We get interrupted and lose our focus.
You can avoid this by creating a to-do list and prioritizing it using effective time-management techniques. The focus should be on tasks that will help to move you towards your long-term career-related goals while also fulfilling the short-term obligations at your workplace.
It's your job to identify the important but not urgent tasks and do them at the start of your day. This also includes focusing on your most important tasks (MITs) of the day and tackling those first, otherwise known as eating the frog.
#5 - Leverage the 80/20-Rule
The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20-rule, states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts. In sales, this means that 80% of the sales come from 20% of the customers. By identifying your 80/20 in the workplace, you can use this career habit to hone your focus on the activities that truly matter.
Spend a week jotting down every task that you engage in and the resultant output of that task. Find out where your 80% of the results from the 20% of your efforts are coming from. Then, amplify your efforts in those areas.
#6 - Daily Workplace Gratitude
The mind tends to get what it focuses on. When we're focused on lack, we get more of that. But, when the mind focuses on abundance, we get more of that. By being grateful, we can increase our propensity for abundance and see things in a different light.
We always have things to be grateful for in life and at the workplace. The problem is that most of us lose sight of that. We get complacent with the status quo. We get used to things the way they are when the newness of a position or opportunity wears off.
Spend 15 minutes every morning writing out what you have to be grateful for every day, and watch as this career habit transforms your life by boosting your happiness, elevating your mood, and improving your outlook on life.
#7 - Be An Effective Communicator
Communication is a key skill in the workplace. Those who wield this career habit by effectively communicating with fellow employees, managers, and customers, always excel above the rest. Learn to effectively communicate by improving your writing and speaking skills.
The goal? To ensure that your peers know what's on your mind, but to be as understanding and prompt as possible when returning others' requests. While this doesn't mean you should be glued to your email or phone, it does mean that you should never ignore problems.
It's easy to have a disagreement when miscommunication is involved. But, when a person can effectively communicate, they can skirt problems and avoid mini-disasters that tend to be associated with disagreements in the workplace.
#8 - Be Kind to Others
There's no replacement for being kind to others, and there's no room for hatred, anger, and resentments in the workplace. If there's a problem, learn to address it and move on. Don't dwell on things or contemplate revenge.
Be kind to others. Always. No matter whom you come across, we never know what types of problems they might be dealing with in their lives. There is always room for compassion and kindness. If you can learn to turn the other cheek, you will excel in the workplace irregardless of the situation.
While this doesn't involve being a pushover, this career habit does include smiling and taking an interest in others. Spend some time getting to know your co-workers. Ask them about their lives and their goals and take a genuine interest in them.
#9 - Avoid Distractions
Distractions are like the plague. We can get wrapped up in them. Social media. Smartphones. Smartwatches. Smart...everything. Sometimes, we just need to cancel the noise, so to speak. Learn to avoid distractions in the workplace.
In a 2014 study, it was concluded that 89% waste time while at work. Of that 89%, 61% admitted they wasted 30 minutes to one hour in the day, adding up to 2.5 hours to 5 hours per week. If you multiply those figures across all the employees at any given workplace, the numbers are astronomical.
Avoid distractions at the workplace. It's easy to get sucked into something and carried away. Keep your personal life separate from your work life as best as you can.
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