Eight good habits to start right now

Habits dictate what we think, how we spend our time, and what we achieve… 

However, habits are also easy to slip into – good or bad. What is habitual tends to get done, but it doesn’t always lead to a worthwhile outcome. This means developing useful habits that positively benefit your career is essential. 

Here are eight of the best habits to have at work, courtesy of James Reed’s brand new book, Life’s Work: 12 Proven Ways to Fast Track Your Career:  


Be a positive influence 

Let’s face it, happiness is contagious. 

So by developing an optimistic outlook on life, smiling more, and generally being cheerful, you’re turning yourself into someone that others want to be around. And that includes employers. 

In fact, Craig Donaldson, CEO of Metro Bank, says that he never hires someone who doesn’t smile within the first two minutes of a job interview – evidential proof that body language in an interview really does matter. 

To make sure you’re always exhibiting the right attitude, adopt other wellbeing-boosting habits – like the below… 

How to: Have a positive attitude at work

Six tips to improve your workplace wellbeing

Focus on self-growth

Successful people are always improving. 

And that doesn’t mean you have to be chasing a promotion day-in-day-out. According to the Japanese business philosophy of Kaizen (meaning improvement), making small changes on a regular basis means you’ll benefit from bigger accomplishments in the long term – without having to sacrifice your time. 

The key? With everything you do, ask yourself if there’s a better way of doing it (hint: there almost always is). Figure it out, and implement it. 

Whether it’s by automating a weekly report, streamlining a process, or even rearranging the focus of a meeting – you’ll be improving your day-to-day and ultimately boosting your overall productivity. 

Six things productive people do every day

Five benefits of personal development


Track your progress 

Whether it’s what you’ve learnt, what you need to learn, what you’ve contributed, or anything else related to your professional development – it’s vital to make a note of it. 

This will not only allow you to reward yourself for achievements, it’ll also help you to stay on top of your to-do-list.

So at the end of every day, ask yourself ‘what have I learned?’, ‘what did I contribute?’ and ‘what can I action?’. Keeping a log of your annual objectives for both your personal and work-life is also a good way to ensure you’re covering the big picture. 

Six reasons you haven’t met your goals

How to: Make a career plan

Find your time 

Everyone has a time where they reach peak productivity. When’s yours? 

If you’re a morning person, make the most of it. Getting into the habit of waking up early – even if it’s just to prepare yourself for the day – is a great way to maximise how much you can get done in just a few hours. 

And if you’re not? That’s fine too. Figure out which point of the day makes you thrive, whether it’s just after lunch, during your 4pm coffee, or even in your pyjamas at midnight, and use it to get things done.  

If you can, find a role that will help you work the hours that suit your body clock. 

How to: Become a morning person

Five night jobs that you could be doing right now


Make health your habit 

Healthy habits should be at the core of everything you do. 

From developing a (doable) exercise routine and eating healthily, to allowing yourself time to relax and practicing mindfulness on a daily basis, paying attention to both your physical and mental health will positively influence everything else you do.  

And that doesn’t mean you need to run a weekly marathon or start an all kale diet. Even something as simple as reducing your sugar intake or taking the stairs instead of the lift could help boost your mood and productivity. 

Five standing desk benefits

Top 5 – Ways to keep fit at work

Prioritise the worst tasks 

Procrastination can be your worst enemy. It can also be a bad habit. 

So to counteract it, make an effort to prioritise your to-do-list in a way that gets the worst or most difficult tasks out of the way first. That way, you’ll also remove any anxiety associated with them at the same time. 

And, by completing the most challenging projects before everything else, you’ll be able to give a higher level of focus to the rest of your work (not to mention, you’ll be tackling them in a much better mood). 

How to: Prioritise work


Be curious 

Not only should you always be seeking out new opportunities and learning new things, you should also be listening and looking without prejudice – in every situation you’re in. 

By being more open-minded about your view of the world around you, you’ll notice more, and be less likely to jump to unhelpful and habitual conclusions. Ones that could potentially hinder your career opportunities – especially if you’re stuck in a strict routine when it comes to jobseeking.  

So ask questions, be observant, and remain open to new discoveries. Even if they’re not exactly what you expected.  


Express gratitude 

When it comes to tackling negativity, gratitude is your best friend. 

Sure, things will go wrong from time to time. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to be grateful for. Focusing on what’s good in your life will help you to remain focused on the positives and will make you happier as a result. 

Not only does it help your own wellbeing, it also makes you endearing to others.

So make a habit of thinking about who you have to thank and what you have to be thankful for – and express it.  


Ready to fast-track your career? 

By the time you retire, you’ll have spent a third of your life at work. That’s far too long to spend in a job you hate. 

To find out how to challenge your thinking, approach the world differently, and ultimately get ahead at work – buy James Reed’s brand new book, Life’s Work: 12 Proven Ways to Fast Track Your Career.

Because it’s never too late to create a career you love.


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