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Habits that could be holding you back

SUNDAY MAGAZINE
By Nancy Nzalambi | February 28th 2021

If being efficient at work is becoming increasingly difficult, you could be guilty of the following self-sabotaging habits:

1. You beat yourself up

It is disappointing when things do not go as planned. While others seem to let go of things they cannot control pretty quickly, you on the other hand become too hard on yourself.

If you do not finish your tasks on time due to a work or family emergency, do not waste your time complaining.

Get your head back in the game and continue from where you left off.

2.You don’t know when to stop

Principles of time management tell us to focus on the right thing at the right time.

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Using too much time on a simple task is not the best way to utilise your time.

If you are spending too much time on a trivial matter, chances are that it wasn’t good enough from the start.

Know when to stop and shift your time and energy to other priorities.

3.You plan a lot

There is 100 per cent truth in the saying, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

However, at some point, plans have to translate into action. Staring at your schedule all day, adjusting timelines every now and then will not get anything done.

Plans are done for guidance. Use the guidance to drive the change you want to see.

4.You wait for the perfect time

You want to learn a new skill, conduct a study, get another degree, get married, write a proposal for fundraising, look for a new job or even go for your dream vacation, but time is never perfect.

There is always something else to do. You put plans on hold for fear of making the wrong choice.

All you have to do is start. No matter how big or small your goal is, just begin. Time will never be perfect for you to work on your professional and even personal goals. The right moment is now. Just begin. At the end of the day, you will be happy you did.

5.You take new skills for granted

Learning a new skill does not have to involve complex career techniques. Do you know how to use the photocopier in your office? Or how to troubleshoot it when it gets a paper jam?

These are skills that you can use in your day to day office life and they do not require classwork or a fee for you to learn.

Instead of sitting at your desk for hours on end, walk around, stretch, interact with others, and learn something new from them. Apply what you learn.

It helps to get you refreshed and more open minded to internalise more from your surroundings.

6.You do not make time to eat

Food and water are essential for life. If you are skipping your meals, then you may not be as productive as you need to be.

Some of us are guilty of having our meals right from our desks or workspaces. Others skip meals because they are too busy.

If you do not take your nourishment seriously, your body will not reciprocate the energy needed to keep you productive. Utilise your meal breaks fully.

Move away from your desk and have a proper meal somewhere else; be it the office kitchen, cafeteria, or outdoors.

7.You fail to self-examine

Once in a while, you need to do some self-assessment on the progress of your tasks.

There is a tendency to look somewhere else for someone to blame when things are not going as well as expected.

The problem may not be in someone or something else but yourself. Acknowledge your deficiencies in skills and work on them.

Do not blame the tools at your disposal for your own incompetence. A poor workman blames his tools.

8. You are a last-minute person

“I work best under pressure”, is the excuse that most procrastinators use when they defer work until the last minute.

Instead of planning and prioritising tasks, procrastinators will wait to cluster tasks with back to back deadlines.

You are likely to produce sub-standard results or hand over scattered projects to your coworkers if you are abruptly indisposed. Order in confusion is not everyone’s cup of tea.

9. Your days are on autopilot

You start your day with no purpose but just routine work day in day out.

You do not set your mind to focus on clear things for the day to utilise time more purposefully.

When you plan your day with a purpose, your mind will be geared towards achieving what got you out of bed in the first place.

Challenge yourself to do things differently to explore your potential. Allow your creativity to help you evolve.

10.You do not sleep well

Scientists say that lack of sleep lowers IQ. Even though it is tempting to want to get things done before bed, it makes more sense to get ample rest for you to finish the task at a better speed once you are recharged. 

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