Oh, bad habits. We all have them, even if we don’t want to admit it. The first step is admitting you have a problem. For example, I had to tear my eyeballs away from Facebook long enough to start this post. It’s 5 PM at the end of a long day that is far from over.
Whether you realize it or not, bad habits creep into your day and become part of your daily routine. Entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals in general need to be aware of these bad habits that tend to eat away at time nibble by nibble.
Here are some common bad habits that most professionals need to shake, whether you own your own business or you’re carving out your career path:
- Needing to be a superhero: You want to do everything on your own. This could be for many different reasons – you don’t think you can afford to hire (what’s your sanity worth), you’re a control freak (chill out), or maybe you want to make a great impression (albeit misguided). If you take on too many tasks it will more often than not leave you feeling overwhelmed, and, even if you are amazing at prioritizing, there are only so many hours in a day. No one expects you to accomplish everything all at the same time on your own.
- Not taking a break: If you are good at what you do, chances are many people depend on you on a daily basis. It can often be hard to step back and take some time for yourself because you are always on the go. Like trying to be a superhero, this can quickly lead to burnout, even if you love what you do. Either find a way to trust your team while you take time off or employ some technology to automate a few things while you can’t do them. If taking a vacation still seems like it’s off the table, start by unplugging at lunch for an hour. You will find you come back more refreshed to tackle the rest of the day.
- Mixing business and personal together: It’s not personal, it’s just business. Are you guilty of blurring the lines? In a client-centric business where you are providing services, it can be easy for this to happen. You are dealing with people. However, it’s healthy to keep a divide between your business and personal life so you have a chance to get away from work. There is no hard and fast rule that says you have to be besties with all of your clients (or colleagues!). It’s also good for you to enjoy some non-business related activities, maybe catch up on your reading or take up a new hobby.
- Being a helicopter manager: Most would know it as micromanaging, and it is horrible for both the growth of your business and of your team. Relationships always come down to trust and if you can’t trust your team to get a task done without you hovering over them every second, then you should either hire a new team, or work on your own. Empowering your team to make decisions and get things done takes a lot off of your plate as a manager. It also allows for individual professional growth within your team.
- Reactive vs. proactive decision-making: Reactive decision-making in itself suggests that something happened that forced you to make a decision. The better way to make decisions is to think strategically about what’s ahead for your business and be in control of when and why you make decisions. This will allow you to set goals and create a plan to get to those goals. As a part of your plan, you can always create contingencies where you would anticipate things that could go wrong to plan ahead in case of an emergency. That way you aren’t making knee-jerk reactions at any time.
- Too many distractions: Do you have social media channels open all day every day? What about your email notifications? Each time something flashes or pings on your screen, your eye and attention are diverted away from what you are currently trying to accomplish. Try setting some time on your calendar to get through a particularly time-consuming task where you turn off your notifications.
- Unwillingness to change: Having your eye on the prize is great, but there is more than one way to get there. It’s important to regularly revisit your plan and tweak if necessary. There is no point in continuing down a path if it’s not right for your business.
I know that Facebook always drags my attention towards the end of the day, so the solution is to just close it down for a bit. Those client posts will still go up, and I can always monitor when I am done the task that I’m working on.
What are some of your bad business habits? And what have you done to break them?