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Bad work habits to ditch in 2021

Has the arrival of a new year inspired you to up your game at work? If so, it’s time to ditch bad habits that may have crept into your routine.

Here are seven bad work habits to get rid of in 2021, to perform better at work.


It’s easy to listen to gossip and even participate in gossip chatter, but doing so can be career limiting. It can affect your reputation with your colleagues and boss. While it might be tempting to gossip, it’s best to avoid it at all costs. Here are seven ways to stop office gossip.

Running late

Always running late reflects badly on your professionalism, even if you think you have the best excuse in the world. It can become an entrenched habit, and one that makes others think of you as unorganised and unreliable.

Work hard to be on time (if not always five minutes early!). To do so, figure out why you’re always late and adjust to fix the problem. Are you unorganised? Have you overbooked or not allowed enough time to get from A to B? Do you jam one more thing in before heading to an appointment? Do you love to stop and chat to colleagues on your way to a meeting?

Packing out your schedule

Scheduling back-to-back meetings all day, every day, can become problematic. You’ll soon discover you have no time to think, reflect, or keep on top of your responsibilities.

It’s best to leave time in-between meetings to get organised and action items that emerge from meetings. Use this time to catch up on emails and keep work moving. Block out ‘non-meeting’ time and give yourself a chance to breathe. You’ll feel better for it and be more productive.


We’ve all procrastinated at work, including with tasks we’re not looking forward to tackling. Taking the first step with these types of tasks is often the hardest part, but once you’ve done it, life becomes more manageable.

Be honest with yourself on why you’re procrastinating. Plan. Set deadlines. Eliminate distractions by, for example, switching your phone to silent. Block out time in your calendar to concentrate. These are all great ways to overcome procrastination.

Being inefficient

Being inefficient isn’t helpful, to your organisation or to yourself. Inefficiency saps you of valuable time and energy. It can cause you to quickly get behind on deadlines and other work priorities. It can also lead to inaccuracies and it costs businesses money.

Figure out ways to become more efficient and commit to implementing them. An example can be enhancing your computer skills. While this can take time (and sometimes only a bit of time), the long-term benefits will make it worthwhile.

Ignoring the need for work-life balance

Work-life balance is something we all want, yet many fail to achieve it. We get to work, dive straight into it, soldier on through breaks and lunch, and head home late. We check emails before and after dinner, and on weekends. Eventually fatigue sets in and we may even get depressed and start hating our work life.

Make work-life balance a top priority in 2021, including by following these tips.

Here are other face2face expert articles on health and wellbeing

How to spot and act on work burnout

Techniques for changing negative to positive

What happens when wfh no longer shines?

Avoiding professional development

It’s important to stay at the top of your game and ongoing professional development is essential for this. Your future will be more rewarding with a professional development map. Such a map will you get on track and focused on where you want to be and how you’ll get there. Here are some expert ideas for mapping your professional development.

Also remember that professional development doesn’t always mean long, expensive and hard courses (although sometimes these get you to the next level). Loads of short, and often free, courses are out there to help you build skills, knowledge and gain efficiencies.

Here are other face2face articles of interest for professional development

Fighting the fear of moving on

Nailing the one-page written pitch

Can a recruiter find you on LinkedIn?

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