How to Break Bad Work Habits

break bad habits

We all have bad habits. Perhaps you procrastinate, or are disorganized, or lack punctuality.  These bad habits don’t make you a bad person, but as an employee they can hinder your professional success. The key to overcoming bad work habits is to become self-aware and make a concerted effort to self-improvement.

Get Ready for Bad Habit Breaking

Now that you’re revved up and ready to break a couple of dastardly bad habits.  Remember to be patient, but persistent in your quest.  Studies show that it takes between 18 and 254 days to replace a bad habit with a new good habit.

Here are a few tips for successfully breaking bad habits at work:


This bad habit can seriously hurt your standing with both your employer and co-workers.  If your last-minute scrambles make your colleagues feel rushed putting them at a disadvantage, you will most likely get blamed when a project fails or is late.   This behavior is sure to undermine your co-worker’s and employer’s trust in your ability to work towards common goals.

The Fix:
Create timelines, with small goals in them.  This will keep you working at an even pace instead of trying to complete everything at the last minute.


Lack of Punctuality

From time-to-time we all get stuck in traffic or get a flat tire on the way to work.  But, when you find yourself having an excuse every day, the problem may be that you just lack punctuality.

The Fix: 
Examine your daily routine and identify what you can correct to make sure getting to work on time is your priority.   Perhaps buying one of those coffee makers that you can set the night before. That way, when you wake-up your coffee is already there for you.  Also, stop pressing the snooze button on your alarm clock.  You are not going to feel any less tired in 5 minutes.   So, you might as well get up on time and not risk being late.

Not Being Organized

Are papers and sticky notes piling up, emails flooding your inbox faster than you can read them?  Sounds like you could use some help getting organized.  You may have noticed that when work piles-up, your ability to concentrate diminishes causing your productivity to fall.

The Fix:

  • Outline Priorities
  • Time Block Your Day
  • Discard Non-Essentials
  • Map-Out Milestones and Goals


For more tips about forming good habits, check out Increase Your Work Satisfaction and Productivity