7 Work Habits to Improve Your Career
If you want to improve in your career, or get a better career than you have, check your work habits. Good work habits shine in any career. They’re a great way to get noticed by your supervisor as promotable. Outstanding work habits will also smooth any promotional path you’re on.
If you don’t already have these habits, start instituting them into your life today.
There are two excellent reasons to be punctual. First, many managers use punctuality as a litmus test for whether an employee is reliable and self-motivated. Being at your desk on time and ready is always preferable to being the person who’s chronically late.
Second, though, punctuality makes you feel more on top of the job. If you are ready to go at the beginning of the day, coffee at the ready and pencils sharpened, you feel more relaxed and confident than if you rush in at the last minute. Punctuality makes you feel prepared for whatever the day throws at you.
Organization is both a sign and a symptom. Organized people look as if they are very good at their jobs because they are. If their manager asks for a file, they can find it in two seconds. If coworkers can’t find a signed form, they can. Organized people always know what’s on their calendar and never double-book a meeting.
Disorganized people can trip up and not be good at their jobs in all kinds of ways. They can’t find the file the manager asks for. They don’t know whether the form was signed or not. They miss meetings because they never added the one today at 2:15 to their calendar.
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There’s no substitute for accuracy in any endeavor. Your work will decline in usefulness to both managers and coworkers if nobody can rely on you to be accurate. Whether your job is working with databases, booking meetings or repairing copiers, if you aren’t accurate, it can throw the work life of people around you into chaos. They can make mistakes based on your inaccuracies. Plus, someone has to fix your mistakes, which can breed resentment.
Be careful and diligent in your work. Double-check any figures, times and instructions to make sure they are correct.
Dress for the Job You Want to Have
Although attire in many workplaces is less formal than it used to be, there are still differences in how managers and employees dress in many places. If you want a job where people usually wear a suit one day, you need to wear a suit at least occasionally. If higher-ups wear a certain kind of T-shirt, even, you need to invest in one.
People tend to promote folks who dress and act like them. You need to make careful note of what people who get promoted at your firm wear and do likewise. Otherwise, you could be passed over for promotions, no matter how much good work you do.
Don’t Gossip Too Much
This work habit might be better called “don’t gossip too much or too little.” Here’s the thing. Gossip can be enticing and fun. It’s easy to get sucked into being a constant fixture at the office watercooler. Before you know it, you’re spending two hours a day gossiping. You might not even realize it, as it’s 15 minutes with Ashley, 15 minutes with Brad, 10 minutes with Susan and 20 with Paul throughout the day. But it’s a big drain on your productivity, plus it looks unprofessional when you’re constantly away from your desk.
But it’s also possible to gossip too little. If you are always at your desk, you might miss news of a reorganization, a new position or team bonding information, like Ashley’s wedding. The key to gossip is to manage your participation. Don’t let it take away from work. Let it enhance it.
When you notice problems, develop a solution. Otherwise, you can sound like a broken record, constantly pointing to a problem that isn’t fixed.
In many companies, employees are better positioned to see a potential solution than managers are. Mind you, you don’t have to implement the solution. Implementation may require a manager or even input from another department. But at least suggest an improvement.
Come in When Asked
Managers may ask their teams to pitch in occasionally on weekends or late nights, especially in today’s working world. When that occurs, do it cheerfully and work hard. Volunteer to bring in coffee or pizza.
It’s essential not to complain. Even joking comments like, “Gee, I wanted to watch opening day” can sound negative to co-workers or your boss. Accept that you may have to work longer hours and prove your dedication if you expect to be promoted.
These seven work habits will help you improve at work and move up. Implementing them will make your work habits better, and make those habits more visible.
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