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20 Habits You Should Avoid At Work For More Productivity

We all have bad habits. Some of us love to sleep till 8:00 AM in the morning (12:00 noon during weekends), some of us hate to clean rooms, while some of us don't like taking baths. There are also people who start singing loudly when earphones are plugged into their ears. But it's ok. Such little flaws are what make us human. They are part and parcel of our life. Nobody is going to point you out to them. However, if you're working in an office – you need to be careful. Here, there are people who are closely observing you. Your small mistakes can create a bad impression for you among your seniors and employers or can cost you your job. In this post, we'll mention such bad habits you should avoid at work along with suggestions on how to avoid them.

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1. Arriving Late

Do you arrive late to office? Occassionally! Ok, that's acceptable. Everyone gets late once or twice in a month. However, if it happens to you every day – you need to think about it. Reaching office late means that you can't manage your personal and professional life properly. This will not create a good impression on your seniors and colleagues.

How to Manage Arriving Office on Time?

Try to sleep on time at night so that you wake up early in the morning. This will give you enough time to finish your daily chores and arrive office on time. You can also prepare a time-table or install time-management and productivity apps.

2. Not Dressing Properly

Do you wear inappropriate dresses at the office just because you think that you'll look cool and different? Well, let me tell that you're completely wrong. Wearing an inappropriate dress only shows that you're unprofessional who doesn't care about the organisation's principles.

You might've heard people saying: we don't dress to impress, we dress to express! But those poor souls don't know that you work in an organisation that has its own set of rules and regulations and you've to abide by them. So, don't believe such things and avoid dressing inappropriately.

How to Dress for Office?

Closely analyse the dress code of your company and try to follow that. Even if your organisation doesn't have strict dress policy – avoid wearing dresses that look revealing and inappropriate.

You can even create a separate wardrobe of office purpose only.

3. Not Maintaining Proper Hygiene

One thing that separates we humans from other living beings is that we know how to maintain proper hygiene and behave civilised. However, some of us don't pay any heed towards these little things. We just love to keep things messed up - let it be our hairs, our dress, or our work desk. You might've noticed some people who keep their work desk stacked with things like empty coffee cups, purse, earphones, empty glasses, water bottles, etc.

Well, if you're one of those, it's time to be serious and quit this gross habit. It does not look good.

How to Maintain Proper Hygiene?

Before going to the office - ensure that your hairs are neatly combed, your beard is neatly trimmed, your clothes are properly ironed, and you've brushed your teeth (not funny – some people even forget that).

Also, avoid keeping things you don't need on your work desk. You can keep them in your drawer. Moreover, put empty coffee cups in the sink as soon as you're finished with your coffee. This will keep your desk neat and clean.

4. Peeping into Your Colleague's Computer Screen

Some of us have this creepy habit! In the middle of work – we suddenly feel an urge to play a detective and peek into our co-worker's computer screen to see what he/she's doing. Not only this looks unprofessional, it's also the violation of their privacy.

So, if you also do so, stop immediately! Otherwise, don't be surprised if someday your colleague shouts at you and you get embarrassed in front of the whole office.

How can You Avoid Looking into Your Colleague’s PC

We humans are curious creatures – who love to observe interesting things around us. So, it's normal to feel that urge to look what your colleague is doing? What you need to do is to control yourself and concentrate on your work. No doubt, you'll face some problem in starting but eventually, you'll get used to it.

5. Social Media Addiction

Some of us are hard-core addicts of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We just love to scroll through these websites and see what our friends are doing in their lives.

No doubt, it's a great way to pass time when you're alone and feeling bored. However, practising something like this in office is clearly not a wise idea. Not only this results in a lot of time wastage but also distracts other people working around you.

So, I have a piece of advice! Please restrain from checking out your social media accounts in office.

How to get rid of Social Media Addiction

Very simple, block all social media websites on your PC. Also, switch off your phone and put it in the drawer. Now, shower complete attention on your work. You can put the phone on vibration mode if you're expecting an important call.

You can check out social media accounts but only during lunch break.

6. Staying Tucked to Your Seat Whole Day

I have seen some colleagues - who have incredible sitting capacity. They can sit for 4-5 hours straight without even moving from their seat. At some time, I was very inspired by their dedication and wanted to adopt their routine in my life. However, later on, I realised that they were committing a harmful mistake. Staying tucked to your seat for long time intervals only results in obesity and other health related diseases. If you have this habit, you must quit it right now.


Take short breaks at fixed time intervals. During this time, you can either stand on your seat, take a walk, or do some stretching. This will keep you healthy and active.

7. Sitting With a Bad Posture

Photographer: Marcin Robert Balc / Via

Even if you take breaks from time to time – you can still fall prey to diseases like tendonitis, chronic pain around the joints, and Cervical pain if your sitting posture isn't right. So, you need to correct your sitting posture.


The most reliable solution for the problem is ergonomic furniture. However, if your employer isn't willing to invest in that – you should focus on your sitting posture. Always, sit straight. Keep your stomach relaxed and your feet should be flat on the floor. Constantly try to pull your neck upwards and your shoulders back.

Remember, if your posture is right – you will be spared from a lot of health related issues. Otherwise, be prepared to spend a huge part of your fortune on medication and therapies.

8. Keeping Your Eyes Glued to the Computer Screen Every time

Staring at your computer, phone, or tablet screen whole day will only cause stress on your eyes. This may also result in headaches and blurred vision.


Don't continuously stare at the computer screen. Take short breaks in between and have a look at faraway objects.

However, avoid looking at your coworker's computer screen (You can watch but first ensure that he/she's not looking at you. Just kidding!)

9. Too Much Coffee and Tea Intake

What do you do when you feel tired at work? Get up and grab some coffee! Well, occasionally it works. However, making this a daily habit can lead you to serious health issues. Both coffee and tea have caffeine that gives you a temporary mind boost. However, if consumed in a large quantity - it can cause headaches, anxiety, heartburn, or even sleep deprivation. So, it's better to limit your coffee and tea intake.

How to Limit Your Coffee and Tea Intake?

Limiting your coffee and tea intake is very difficult and requires a lot of patience (even I am trying to overcome my coffee addiction). Still, I can share some practices you can follow:

1. Limit the number of times you consume coffee or tea

2. When you feel an urge to drink Coffee or tea – keep it lite

3. Start consuming Green tea or Ginger tea instead of coffee or normal tea

Stick to the above-mentioned plan for a few days. There will be a time when you'll no longer feel an urge to consume coffee every now and then. After that, you can lead a happy and healthy lifestyle.

10. Smoking

Do you smoke in office? Yes. Why? It helps me to relieve stress. Cool but do you know it causes a bad impact on your health and the health of people around you? Moreover, it will malign your good reputation among colleagues in no time. So, I advise you to quit.

How to quit smoking?

It's not easy to quit smoking. However, with a little patience and proper medication you can get through it.

You can't quit smoking immediately. So, first of all – you'll have to limit the amount of cigarettes you consume. For examples, if you consume 6 cigarettes during the whole day. Limit it to 5 in the first week, 4 in the second week, and so on. Finally, there will be a time when you no longer feel an urge to smoke again.

Important Note

During the process of quitting smoking – there will be really tough times. You'll feel an unquenchable desire to smoke. Your hands will start trembling and body will start behaving strangely. But you don't need to worry – these are normal reactions of your body when you stay away from nicotine. All you need is to show sheer will power and stay true to your resolution.

11. Skipping Lunch and Important Meals

Some people are so engrossed in work that they often skip lunch and other important meals. Do you think they are efficient and dedicated? Well, I don't think so. Skipping your meal for work isn't a wise decision. Food is our basic necessity. It keeps our body running the whole day. Moreover, it's one of the most important reasons we are working hard. So, never skip your meal!

How to Ensure that You Never Skip Lunch or Other Important Meals in Office?

Simple! Finish your work on time and make sure that you're free to enjoy your lunch. Even if you've got an important task in hand and need to finish it as soon as possible – please draw 10 minutes to have your meal and continue the work after. There is a popular saying in our country, even the god awaits while you're eating food. Your work will wait too.

Remember, nobody is going to sentence you to death if a project is 5 minutes late just because you were having lunch.

You can even use time management apps to schedule your work and finish it on time.

12. Running Away from Responsibilities

There is one thing you need to know very well about your job. You can't run away from responsibilities. After all, that's why your employer is paying you. So, if you feel that you can do your job running from responsibilities, you're wrong. You've to be a part of them.

How to be Brave and Start Taking Responsibilities?

Simple, don't run away from the responsibilities assigned to you? Instead, face them with full spirit. Always, take initiative! This will build your reputation among your seniors and teammates and they will assign more tasks to you.

13. Lying about Your Capabilities


Let's assume that you're my boss. I keep bragging in front of you that I can write a 1000 word article in 1 hour and you believe me.

Then, a day arrives when you actually require a 1000-word article in 1 hour. You assign it to me but I can't complete it in time.

Now, what will you think of me?

Apart from lying about my potential – I have also broken your trust. This will certainly affect your performance grade.

A similar case applies to everyone who has the annoying habit of bragging about his/her capabilities. Such behavior can cost you your reputation, your promotion, or even your job.

14. Delaying Tasks

Always taking initiative is a good habit but it's of no use if you keep delaying the tasks assigned to you. Making delays your tasks shows that you're incapable of holding responsibilities. No one will assign you new tasks if you can't complete the old ones on time.

How to Ensure that My Projects aren't Delayed?

Draft a proper schedule for your project. Divide your project into small modules and then try to complete it accordingly. Select a few hours from your office schedule during which you'll work with 100% dedication. You can also take help of time management apps.

15. Not Paying Attention to What Your Teammates are Saying

There are always some people in office – who love to do things their own way and refuse to listen what other their teammates and seniors are saying. Are you one of them? Well, then you're living in an illusion. This is not your home but a workplace. Here, you need to adjust, follow some rules, and patiently listen to what your colleagues are saying. Otherwise, you'll cease to exist for a long time.

Should I Listen to What My Teammates are Saying?

Of course! You should listen carefully what your colleagues or your seniors are trying to tell. Perhaps, they have some useful suggestion for you. What's wrong in listening to them? Even if he's pointing out your mistakes – they might have some reason to do so. Just widen your approach and try to understand the people around you. It will be better for both you and the organisation you're working for.

16. Doing Things on Your Own

During my job, I have learned a very important thing. The industry is all about teamwork and collaboration. No matter how skilled you are - you can't always do things on your own. So, if you've the habit of being a solo performer and do things on your own – it's better you quit it right now.

How can I Ask My Colleagues for Suggestions?

While you work on a new project – discuss it with your team members. Ask for their suggestions. They will be happy to help you. There are even chances that someone will come up really useful solution (happened with me a couple of times). This will save a lot of time and efforts. Above all, this will promote collaboration and teamwork.

17. Poor Communication Skills

Are your official emails full of typos and grammatical errors? Did your boss not take you to the client meeting because you get nervous talking with people? Or did your presentation get rejected because it was full of common mistakes that even a high school student wouldn't commit?

Yes! Ok, then you need to be serious because your communication skills are poor. Other things like arriving late in the office, dressing inappropriately, or project delays are still acceptable. However, poor communication skills – no one accepts that.

How to Improve Your Communication Skills?

Improving your communication skills is not a matter of one day. You've to do it gradually. Read as many books as you can, listen to music (it helps you to learn things better), and practice speaking in front of the mirror (will boost your self-confidence). Also, learn how to present yourself better in front of people. Work hard and keep improving yourself gradually.

Within a few days – you and the people around you will start noticing a good change in your personality and you'll become a good communicator.

18. Mood Swings

Do you feel like slapping the person you were talking nicely to 5 minutes before – just because he/she committed a small mistake? If so, you need to consult a doctor because you're suffering from mood swings.

Mood swings can affect your life on both personal and professional level. Not only it can affect your work but also spoil your relationship with your colleagues. So, keep your emotions aside and be realistic while working in the office.

How to Cure Mood Swings?

Mood swings can be cured with proper medication. Apart from this, you can also engage in anger management classes and other practices. Moreover, listen to music. It will help you a lot.

19. Taking Work Home

Do you often take your office work home? Well, then you're committing a serious mistake. Office work is meant to be completed within the office. Office hours are assigned only for this purpose.

However, if you can't complete the work on time and take it to home regularly – how will you draw time for your family? Not only this – it will also affect your mental health. So, avoid taking office work home at any cost.

20. Letting Your Work Life Affect Your Personal Life

Have your family members started complaining that you remain busy in work and can't draw enough time for them? Do you only arrive home when your kids are asleep but leave early before they get up? If so, be alert! Your work life has started affecting your personal life. This is clearly not a good sign.

If you can't draw enough time for your family, they will drift away from you. There will be arguments, there will be misunderstandings, and there will be a lot of frustration. This will affect your performance in the office as well. So, it's better if you understand this on time.

How to Maintain Proper Work-life Balance?

Dedicate equal time for both work and professional life. If you're dedicating 8 hours for work, dedicate at least 6 hours for your friends and family. Chat with them, take them out for dinner, plan holidays, party hard, and hang out with friends. Enjoy your life to the fullest. Remember, work is important but your personal life is more important.

It's better if you understand this now. Otherwise, you'll only regret later.

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