It's a new year, and time to leave damaging working habits in the past. From email addiction, to meeting mayhem, to deadline dramas, it's time to part with the small but scrappy habits we've accumulated along the way. Commit to taking on as many of the below as possible, and watch the knock-on effect it has on your productivity and workplace sanity.

1.    Apologizing.

Unless you've deliberately sabotaged something, there isn't a need to apologize for every time something didn't work out exactly as planned. Rather than own the error, own the lesson and flip into an action item instantly. Lead with this, as a way to signal strength and keep your confidence high, rather than offer up a tepid apology.

2.   Saying Yes To Everything.

Great leaders know that focus matters. Rather than take on too many tasks, and stretch yourself too thinly, be mindful about what you take on and reject the rest without belaboring your reasoning. Your focus will get you further, faster.

3.   Running Late.

Running late sends a message to both you and your colleagues that you struggle to manage, and respect time; both yours and theirs. If running late is a pattern, it's often a sign that you're guilty of taking on too much.

4.   Relying on Data.

With more data and information available to us than ever before, it's all too easy to get bogged down in the weeds. In doing so, we forget to tap into our intuition and loose sight of the big opportunities right in front of us. Of course, you can back up your intuition with data, but make sure you take time to tap into it in 2018.

5.    Obsessing Over The Competition.

While it's important to know what your competition are up to, if you myopically focus on them, you will become limited by the confines of your category and again, miss the big opportunities.  Rather than define yourself by yur competitive set, think about competing in an entirely different category and steal inspiration from there.

6.   Being 'Always On.'

Being slaves to our devices is affecting how we think, work and interact. Set the precedent with your team that you will take tech breaks during the day and not be instantaneously answering emails so you can take time to approach your work problems with creativity and dynamism.

7.   Starting The Day Managing Minutia.

Your morning brain is a special tool. It is rested, fresh and ready to tackle the most complex of problems. Rather than dive straight into managing your inbox, or reviewing project plans; protect this time to do your most fascinating work. Load up on creative stimulus and dive into your most lateral thinking.

8.   Playing It Safe.

With the pace of innovation accelerating, standing still is not an option for any business. And small bets are a sure fire way to stand still. Whatever you are working on, find a way to plus it, push it and stretch it until it takes on a form that intimidates and excites you in equal measure.

9.   Devices In Meetings.

Even if they are on silent, even if they are face down, they are diverting your team's attention and distracting them from the task at hand. Start a phone amnesty or collection bin to help role model the right kind of active, intensive behavior you need from your team.

10. Working Solo.

Even if you are a solopreneur, find ways to bake collaboration and cross-pollination into your work plan. Nobody can go it alone. Things not only seem insurmountable, but the result is less stretched, less creative and less sharp. 

Published on: Jan 8, 2018