6 personal habits to improve your professional life


Many people believe that it takes a big commitment to make progress in their professional careers. While this may be true when it comes to developing specialised skills, it isn’t the case when it comes to changing one’s mindset—the very thing that can make the difference between getting by and excelling at work.

The good news: there is a way to become more productive, more confident in the workplace and more efficient at your job. It’s all about implementing the right habits.

Keystone habits: Why do they work?
A keystone habit is a small practice with a powerful impact. These simple changes unexpectedly affect other areas of your life for the better.

Because these small habits alter patterns in your brain over time, they enable you to approach other large-scale tasks differently without giving it a second thought. That means the development of good habits in seemingly insignificant areas of your life can spill over into your professional life.

Here are six good habits to get you started.

1. Exercise
The benefits of exercise cannot be overstated. James Prochaska, a University of Rhode Island researcher, explains that habitually exercising as little as once a week can help people eat better, increase their patience with colleagues and family, and decrease both credit cards use and stress.

How does it work? Exercise promotes a sense of self efficacy, making you more able and willing to take on tasks and get things done. It also boosts your self-image and gives you the confidence needed to carry forward those brave ideas in the boardroom.

2. Make snap decisions over the little things
Do you make important decisions every day at work? Try making snap decisions where you can, like what to wear or what to order for lunch.

Deliberating over every decision you need to make during your day depletes you, inhibiting your decision-making ability when it counts.

Unsure where to draw the line between deliberation and snap judgment? Ask yourself, “Will this make a difference to what I have to achieve today?” If the answer is no, then aim to decide in ten seconds or less.

3. Make your bed daily
Every day, no excuses—make your bed before heading to work. This simple ritual will help you bring discipline into other areas of your life, from controlling impulses to keeping commitments.

4. Watch your posture
Researchers from Colombia and Harvard universities found that those who assume more expansive, powerful poses in the workplace are 45% more likely to take risks. Keeping a continuous eye on your posture is good for you physically, improves willpower, and helps you look and feel more confident.

Studies have also shown that when we sit up straight, we are more likely to remember positive memories or think positive thoughts. By standing tall, you not only evoke power and assertiveness, but will also feel more positive – a bonus for productivity and the morale of those around you.

5. Document daily
Documenting your experiences, improves your creativity. Take note of anything you find curious, funny, enlightening, interesting or unusual, or perhaps just write down three to five things you are grateful for each day.

Keeping track of your daily experiences by notebook or camera will help you understand the way you view the world as well as come up with ideas for future schemes and projects.

6. Change your routine every week/month
Keeping the same routine for too long can cause you to feel stagnant and restless, diminishing your ability to thrive in the workplace. Try throwing something new into your routine weekly or monthly. You could attempt a new recipe, try a new sport, take 15 minutes a day to read a challenging book or add a new project to your weekly obligations.

Introducing small changes helps you manage changes outside of your control.

Recommended reading: 7 keys to an elite performer’s mindset


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About the author

Adele Halsall is a writer and researcher for Customer Service Guru. She is interested by retail and consumer trends, and how these are shaped and governed by advertising and social marketing. Besides this, she enjoys cooking, baking up vegetarian/vegan treats for friends and rehearsing with her band. She also has a penchant for new notebooks and 90s pop-punk. To get in touch, tweet Adele @gurucustomers More blog posts by Adele Halsall ››
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