30 Essential Work Habits for a Successful Career

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30 Essential Work Habits for a Successful Career

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Hard work has its rewards, but your job doesn’t have to be a constant grind. Work becomes a lot easier and more fulfilling if you work in a way that’s healthy and sustainable.

To work smarter, you need to learn some essential work habits to help you succeed in your career.

Here are 30 essential work habits every professional should try!


30 work habits every professional should try

1) Show up on time.

When you are punctual, regardless of what job you do or who your employer is, people will take notice. This will not only help you get ahead in your career, but it will also provide a great work ethic that will benefit you in other aspects of your life.

2) Get organized.

There is no way around it. The organization is essential to productivity. Whether this means color-coding your work files, setting reminders in your calendar, or downloading productivity apps on your phone – get organized! You’ll spend less time looking for things and more time doing great work that gets you noticed.

3) Give 110% effort at all times.

Many people don’t work to the best of their ability. Mediocre effort leads to mediocre results. While you may not enjoy your work, give it 110% effort, anyway. This will help you get ahead and set a good example for your colleagues and customers.

4) Identify what you need to work on.

While it may be difficult to admit, everyone has flaws and makes mistakes. The first step in improving is recognizing what they are. Figure out how you could fix those things that are holding you back from reaching your full potential. One of the most important work habits is being aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

5) Step outside your comfort zone.

It is easy to work the same way over and over again. Stepping outside your comfort zone even just a little every day will help keep work fresh and exciting. Plus, you might develop new skills or discover new talents you never even knew existed. Take the initiative to try activities that challenge you!

6) Be proactive.

Plan your day in advance and identify the tasks that need to be done. Don’t sit and wait for work to come to you. Instead, take the initiative to help your colleagues or take on new projects outside your regular work. This will show your boss and work colleagues that you always go the extra mile.

7) Work on self-improvement.

No matter how good of a job you are doing now, if you don’t continue learning and growing as a professional, pretty soon, work will become boring and stagnant. It’s important to be open to opportunities for growth, whether this means taking on new tasks or enrolling in training to upgrade your skills.

8) Skip the complaints.

Complaining about your job, coworkers, or clients does not get you anywhere except looking unprofessional in front of others. If something’s wrong, look for ways to address it, fix it or let it go. Maintain a positive work attitude and work environment.

9) Be a team player.  

People work more efficiently when they work with others towards a common goal. Being a team player means helping others work towards their responsibilities and not letting work politics get in the way of your job. Being collaborative and helpful will encourage great teamwork with your coworkers.

10) Tackle your most important tasks first.

The work that needs to get done will still be there 5 minutes later. Why not focus on the most important work first and enjoy the rest of your day knowing you’ve already accomplished what’s really important? Focus on tasks that are the most urgent and the most important!

12) Lean into change.

Change can be hard, but embrace it if it helps you grow and improve! Change can lead to advancement opportunities, training classes, or cross-training for new skills. Make the most of the opportunity when it comes around!

13) Don’t over-commit yourself.

If your workload is a constant struggle, make sure you’re not over-committing! Are your projects realistic and achievable during your work schedule? You can say no without feeling guilty if it’s in the best interest of your health and well-being.

14) Speak confidently and professionally.  

Your words can work in your favor or against you, so use them wisely. Always speak respectfully with a positive attitude to boost your professional image at work and earn the respect of those around you.

15) Practice gratitude.

Studies clearly indicate that happier people are more productive. More importantly, they show that happiness is strongly related to two important elements of motivation: internal (intrinsic) and external (extrinsic) motivation. Satisfied employees work harder and feel more committed, while less satisfied employees tend to underperform.

Focus on the positive aspects of your job. Point out what you like about your job, and how it benefits others. Gratitude is the best antidote to boredom and apathy; it’s also a great way to motivate yourself to do even better at your work.

16) Review and reflect daily.  

A day can go by in the blink of an eye! By taking time at the end of each workday to review your work and plan for the next workday, you’ll be better prepared to tackle new tasks. Take the time to think about which work habits you need to master to be more productive in your job.

17) Keep work in perspective.

When it feels like all you’re doing is working, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your priorities and work/life balance. Keep work in perspective and remember that work responsibilities are just a piece of your life, not the complete picture.

18) Don’t work until you drop.

Even the most devoted workaholics need to take time off from work! There’s nothing wrong with taking an occasional day off to recharge your batteries. Your work will be there when you get back.

Try working smarter instead of harder and set boundaries for yourself, so work doesn’t control your life outside of work. You’ll find that you’ll be more recharged and productive when you allow yourself to have periods of rest.

19) Eliminate distractions.  

It’s so tempting to multitask and check personal emails and texts, but it’s best to remove distractions and keep your focus on the task at hand! Focus on what needs to be done first! The same applies to your personal life. Set boundaries for yourself so that work doesn’t become a distraction from home life, too.

20) Learn to manage stress effectively.

How do you handle stress at work? Do you feel like your stress levels are out of control? Then it’s time to find a solution.

Stress can be harmful not only physically but also psychologically. Stress has been linked to depression, heart disease, and obesity. The good news is that work-related stress is 100% controllable if you’re willing to work at it. Exercise, stretching, meditation, fresh air, and taking breaks can work wonders to reduce stress.

This will allow you to work more efficiently and effectively and take a load off your mind.

21) Create partnerships.  

Having a positive work environment can be difficult, especially if you work remotely. Building rapport with your colleagues and customers can work wonders for your work ethic, work satisfaction, and work/life balance.

Take the time to get to know your coworkers, answer their questions, and support them when needed to build strong relationships. This is one of the most important work habits that will contribute to your satisfaction at work.

22) Optimize your work processes.

We’ve all heard this before: work smarter, not harder. But what does it mean?

Organization is a key part of productivity, and optimizing work processes can lead to higher efficiency in the long run. Set up Trello or Asana for work projects, break down work into work manageable chunks, and work on one task at a time.

23) Show enthusiasm for your job.

Nothing beats a positive work attitude. Contrary to popular belief, work is not just about showing up every day. Showing enthusiasm and work ethic will make you stand out from the rest of the crowd. This positive attitude makes work less a chore more of a passion.

24) Ask for feedback from colleagues.

We all have things we can work on. Sometimes, it’s hard to see what needs work when you’re so close to a project. So, if a colleague or supervisor is willing to provide constructive feedback, always take the opportunity to listen and learn from them.

25) Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Many people don’t ask enough questions at work because they are intimidated by their employer, work colleagues, or the job itself. They don’t want to embarrass themselves or appear incompetent.

You don’t have to work that way. Ask questions when you need help or clarification to work more efficiently.

26) Learn how to work with difficult people.

Everyone has dealt with someone difficult at work. This might be a colleague who doesn’t work well with others or a manager whose work style is too rigid.

No matter the work situation, learning strategies to collaborate with difficult people and resolve conflicts will help you work better with others.

27) Give yourself credit for work well done.

Sometimes we forget how far we’ve come. We might even forget some professional achievements because they seem to be part of our daily work routine. Be sure to acknowledge your accomplishments to celebrate your progress!

28) Don’t get caught up in workplace gossip.

It’s natural for colleagues to talk about work, but stay away from office politics and gossip.

Rumors can be distracting at work and might even affect your reputation. Avoid these types of conversations to maintain your professionalism at work.

29) Seek out a mentor.

You will work your way up the employment ladder much faster by seeking a mentor to guide you. Mentors can work with you on your professional skills, habits, ethics, and attitude.

A mentor could be a more experienced colleague, manager, or business coach who can share valuable advice to help you advance in your career.

30) Visualize your success.

Take the time to visualize your career goals. What does your career look like? Where do you see yourself 5 and 10 years from now? How do you feel about your work?

Practice visualizing the details. This is an effective exercise that will help you achieve your professional goals!


Take action to develop positive work habits

Developing effective work habits is key to having a successful career. The 30 work habits we’ve listed will help you make the most of your job and develop a positive attitude to help you achieve your big goals.

Which of these things are you already doing as part of your routine? And which ones do you want to work on? Focus on the ones that will have the biggest impact on your career!

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