We all have them--whether it's drinking too much soda, nail biting, or skipping the gym in favor of the snooze button.
And for the most part, that's fine--after all, those habits only hurt ourselves.
But what about those not-so-great work-related habits?
Everyone has those, too, even the super successful. In fact, Bill Gates suffered from a very common bad work habit-procrastination.
When Gates first ventured into the business world, this habit hindered his success, and it needed to be fixed. Because what he realized pretty quickly is that his bad habit wasn't just affecting his own experience. It was making everyone he worked with suffer, too.
So, he worked really hard--and continues to, to this day--to be organized and deadline driven. Without that change, he likely wouldn't be nearly as successful as he is today.
Chances are, your colleagues are aware of your bad work habits, even if you're not. So, take it from Bill: Don't wait until they become frustrated with you--figure out what your bad habits are before it starts hurting your work relationships and your career.
What Are Your Bad Habits?
Not sure what yours are? Here's what you can do right this very moment to start figuring them out and kicking them to the curb.
First, get into the habit of tracking details about your daily work experience, such as confidence and fulfillment. Here's a useful free tracker from my book The Genius Habit that you can download. Try filling it out every week for a month. The questions in the tracker will help you measure your performance at work on the things that really matter AND help you begin to see how some of your behaviors may not be serving you, just like Bill realized that procrastination wasn't helping him.
Once you start to see your own bad work habits, here is how you can begin to do the work to reverse them.
1. Make a plan.
You need on average 60 days to make a new habit stick. So, you need to actively change your behavior for at least this length of time in order for your brain to start doing it automatically versus having to be extremely conscious of what you're doing.
Plan how you shift your behavior strategically. If you're trying not to procrastinate, build out a plan for your next project that starts weeks in advance and put tasks in your calendar to remind you to do them in a timely manner. You need to have a plan to refer to with this new way of operating or else you will fall back on your bad habit.
2. Get support.
Hire a coach, get an accountability partner or get your team to work together to tackle their own bad work habits. Everyone needs support when doing something as challenging as changing bad habits. That's why AA has been so successful - it provides support and support works.
3. Create small rewards along the way.
Try to reward yourself for your mini successes. If you're trying not to procrastinate, come up with a fun way to reward yourself when you check off tasks for a project you planned to do them. Rewards make creating new behaviors more fun. If you're doing this with your team, plan to celebrate your new behaviors by planning a group outing that you all are excited about. Behavior change is really hard, and the more fun you can make it, the more likely your bad habit will be re-wired and be a thing of the past.
Once you feel the power of being able to shift behaviors that are no longer working for you, you will see that becoming who you want to be will be well within your reach! (Plus, you'll be more successful. And who doesn't want that?)