Career Woman

5 mindless habits ruining your chance of success


You know that awful dream where you’re sitting in class and suddenly realise you have an exam… but you forgot to study? That happens at work too. Could it be that mindless habits are ruining your chance of success.

You know that you have something important to do, but interruptions keep getting in the way.  Emails to action, voicemails to return, meetings to attend. It’s such a shame, because if you’d just made the time you could have done something really special.

Unfortunately your mindless bad habits have gotten in the way of your success again. Here’s what you can do about it.

Surrendering to email

According to pac executive Human Capital’s 2015 Workplace Productivity survey, the biggest productivity in the modern workplace is, you guessed it… email.

The nation-wide survey of over 1,300 Australian’s found that 52% of office workers check their email every 10 to 15 minutes. After all, responding to email is your job right? Wrong!  Your job is working towards your goals and the goals of your company.  Unless your KPIs state that you must read and reply to emails as soon as they hit your inbox, giving email priority is a mindless habit.

Not only do 67% of Australians report suffering ‘email overload’, each time we react to an incoming email we take anywhere between 1 and 24 minutes to refocus.

This might sound terrifying to the average worker, but to be productive in today’s work environment you need to develop the habit of email batching. Block out time in your diary to check email no more than 3 times per day.

Social media addiction

If your email isn’t calling to you, your Facebook probably is.  Let’s face it though, very little happens on social media in the ten minutes since you last checked it.

Social media has its place. It’s actually a great way to restore your energy between periods of high productivity, so check it mindfully at specific times of the day for a boost. Also, be mindful about how you’re using social media.  If you are posting negative content on various forums you’re depleting your energy levels instead of restoring them.

Accepting every meeting request

What do you do when a meeting request hits your inbox?  Do you ask yourself “is this meeting really necessary?” and “am I the right person to attend this meeting?” With 55% of Australians wasting 2 hours or more per day in meetings, which they report as being mostly unproductive, it’s clear that we are too quick to accept requests without thinking.

It’s time to develop the habit of questioning whether the meetings you’re requested to attend are really necessary.  Perhaps a phone call or email would resolve things more efficiently?

Your new habit will save you time each day to work on what is really important to move your career forward.  In fact, why not look through your diary now and see if there are any appointments you can resolve through a phone call?

Letting people interrupt you

78% of white-collar workers report constant interruptions as a major productivity killer. Next time a colleague asks you for ‘a minute’, remember that it’s not just a minute of your time that you sacrifice.

Every time you let yourself be interrupted it will take you between 1 and 24 minutes to refocus back on the task at hand.

By surrendering to an interruption you don’t only lose momentum, but in order to refocus you are forced to reassemble your resources and thoughts to reconstruct the pathway to your original purpose. Each time you do so you effectively squander energy, enthusiasm and, ultimately, your work satisfaction.

Eliminate the interruption culture by creating ‘do not disturb time’, asking your employees or colleagues to save their questions up so that you can address them in your regular catch-ups or at an agreed time.

Having no work/life balance

Cancelling your PT session to get more work done might feel like the right thing to do when you’re under the pump, but would you cancel a meeting with your boss because you’re busy?  No? Then why do you cancel important meetings with yourself?

If you’re not eating well, exercising and sleeping enough then you’re likely having trouble focussing.  You’re less creative, responsive, open to feedback and alert when you work for too long without restoring your energy. Understand that maintaining a full personal life has a positive impact upon your professional life and your performance.

Moving your habits from mindless to mindful needn’t be a huge process.  Just take small steps each day and you’ll find your career is moving ahead exponentially.

About Cholena Orr

Cholena Orr, Director of pac executive Human Capital, is a business builder who is passionate about mindfulness and lifting people up. She heads pac executive Human Capital - a training, coaching and consulting business offering a range of models designed to support Human Capital needs throughout the business lifecycle; from clarifying strategy and goals through to working with individuals to help them become more resilient.

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