New Year’s resolutions are seen as an opportunity to start new habits that will finally get us the ideal career and life we want to live. But what about our current habits that have been holding us back? To address these bad old habits, consider pledging your allegiance to “anti-resolutions” this year.
Identifying career-ending patterns of behavior can be just as useful as creating new ones. Sometimes, creating a list of don’ts can even be easier to complete. “Having a list of things you’re not going to do is easier to achieve,” Mike Vardy, author of “The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You Want,” told Fast Company. “If I know what I don’t do, it’s easier to live intentionally.”
Here’s a list of easy anti-resolutions you can follow in 2018 to have a more productive, fulfilling career.
1) Don’t use your technology mindlessly
Technology allows us to be connected to our colleagues across time zones at any hour of the day. But our devices are built to be addictive and distracting. If we are not mindful about how we use our smart devices, they start to use us.
To be mindful about how you use technology, be thoughtful about when you actually need to use your device and when you are using it as a social crutch. When used mindlessly, technology can undermine work relationships. Consider putting away your laptops in meetings. When you stare at a screen, it makes it seem like you are not paying attention to what your colleague is saying.
In fact, the mere presence of a phone can make employees feel like you are not interested in them or their professional development. Employees reported a higher mistrust in bosses who held their phones in front of them, according to one study.
2) Don’t be rude to that one co-worker
When you are rude to that one co-worker, the whole team suffers for it. Rudeness rattles our self-confidence and can lead to careless errors. One study found that doctors and nurses who heard rude statements about their competence were more likely to make serious errors that would result in the wrong diagnosis for patients.
One small act of incivility can also have an outsized impact on our moods. Witnessing rudeness at the beginning of our days has been found to ruin the rest of it, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Researchers found that people who witnessed rudeness psychologically withdrew throughout the day and reported poorer progress towards their goals.
So next time you are tempted to snidely remark on your co-worker’s project, hold your breath. Being nice to your colleagues and clients is not just the polite thing to do, it’s also critical for your productivity and your team’s success.
3) Don’t make avoidable networking mistakes
To take your career to the next level, you need to be networking with clients and colleagues. Unfortunately, too many of us make easily avoidable mistakes in our networking attempts.
But these mistakes can be remedied. If you’re socially anxious, try conversation hacks that will make you the most interesting person in the room. If your networking emails are going unanswered, think critically about the subject lines you write, the punctuation you’re using, and the demands you are making.
4) Don’t be a work martyr
Work martyrs are willing to die on a battlefield for their jobs. They are the group most likely to forego vacations and breaks while working. But does that actually help them succeed? Research says that overworking yourself won’t actually make you more productive.
People who take frequent breaks report higher job satisfaction and increased productivity. Employees who take vacations not only get the restorative benefit of time off, they are also more likely to get raises.
For the sake of your career and your mental health, consider leaving your work martyr impulses behind in 2017.
Carry only good energies into the new year
These anti-resolutions are an incomplete guide to help you brainstorm your own personalized list. As you run an inventory of your own work habits and pet peeves, consider what habits invigorate you and what behaviors make you feel burnt out. This should help you decide what you can carry with you into the new year and what should be left behind.