8 Bad Work Habits that Healthcare Professionals Should Steer Clear Of

We all have them – bad work habits we just can’t seem to kick.

Or maybe, habits we don’t want to kick. Sometimes, we just accept them as an inevitable part of life because it seems like they’re impossible to get rid of. Other times, we want to make a change but nothing seems to work. Or, maybe, you’re unaware that you even have a problem.

The first step in fixing a problem is acknowledging that you have a problem. Recognizing that there is an issue can help you eliminate it altogether or even transform that bad habit into something positive.

Here are some of the most annoying work habits that could be holding you back and our possible solutions. If any of these sound familiar, sit back and reflect on your workday and think how you could make a change for the better.

1. Skipping Meals – It happens. Healthcare professionals get caught up in work, and simply forget to eat or fail to make time. There may be patients waiting for you or a pile of paperwork to go through, but it’s still important to squeeze in some time for food whenever you can. Pack small meals or healthy snacks ahead of time in a lunch tote or cooler. Keep food within reach for easy access and as a visual reminder. Also, make sure to give yourself plenty of time before your shift to have a healthy, satisfying meal. If you have to wake up earlier, then do it. It can make all the difference in your alertness and attitude later on.

2. Procrastinating, Then Rushing – Sure, there may be tasks you dread and you keep putting off. But you’re going to have to take care of them eventually, so why not sooner rather than later? Procrastination isn’t helping anyone, especially you. When you wait until the last minute, it affects your performance and can raise your stress levels. Cut back on procrastinating by prioritizing your tasks and setting strict deadlines. Trust us – you’ll feel better when you no longer have those tasks looming over your head.

3. Resisting Change – It may sound cliché, but change is a natural part of life. You may not be comfortable with changes in your work routine or job responsibilities, but they’re going to happen no matter how you feel. So, why not accept these changes instead of fighting them? Instead of saying, “But we’ve always done it this way,” keep yourself open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. You never know – you may find that you actually like these changes in the long run.

If you truly feel that a new method works against your company’s goals, express your concerns, but also come prepared with a better alternative. Don’t just argue for the sake of arguing or because you fear change.

4. Gossiping – Gossiping can be harmless, and it can liven up an otherwise dull workday. But it can also create a negative work environment. Try to keep gossip to a minimum and recognize when you’ve crossed a line. If you’re meddling in your coworkers’ private affairs or making them feel uncomfortable, it may be time to take a step back and consider if you’ve gone too far. If they want to discuss a topic, they’ll come to you.

5. Taking Things Too Personally – Sometimes, criticism can be seen as a personal attack. Instead of immediately taking offense, consider whether or not your coworker is trying to help you or is offering some solid advice. It can be difficult to interpret someone’s tone when talking through email or through online chat, so keep in mind that they may have meant it in a different way then you read it. If you’re unsure, continue the conversation face to face to get a better idea of their intentions. When you receive constructive criticism, remember that they’re trying to help you grow as an individual, and use the feedback you’ve been given to improve your work performance.

6. Putting Your Personal Life Before Work – If the first thing you do when you get to work is log onto your personal Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest or other social media account, you may have a problem. We understand life happens. There will be times when you need to take that personal call, or there will be instances when a family emergency requires you to leave work early. That is perfectly understandable. But when your personal life or social media addiction is constantly interfering with your day to day work, it’s time to make a change.

Instead of updating your Facebook status every couple of hours or taking extended breaks to call friends, focus on your patients and on your work goals. Think about what you could be doing instead of tweeting, and how much your job is helping others.

7. Being Disorganized – Some scattered papers and a couple of Post-it notes never hurt anybody, but there’s a fine line between clutter and complete chaos. A messy workplace can hurt your productivity and leave you feeling unfocused. If you’re having difficulty finding a pen or a medical chart, it may be time to tidy up. It will be so much easier to find everything and finish tasks quickly when your workspace is organized.

Remember to file papers away and keep everything in its proper place. If your office or facility doesn’t provide these items, you may want to invest in a desk organizer, paper trays or plastic bins for storing documents and office supplies. Try to group similar objects together and keep important items at eye level or at close range. If you haven’t used it in awhile or it’s unnecessary, toss it. A clean desk will minimize your stress and make your workspace seem more professional.

8. Isolating Yourself – Yes, you may be more productive when you avoid talking to others, but isolating yourself can have some negative consequences. Instead of ignoring your coworkers, greet them with a smile and a friendly disposition. A nice gesture, a “How do you do?” or a compliment can transform a bad day into a good one.

We’re not saying you have to become BFFs and go to happy hour together. You’re not going to like everyone, and you don’t have to. But it doesn’t hurt to make an effort with coworkers on a daily basis. They’ll be more likely to help you in the future, and it will contribute to an overall more positive workplace.

You may not realize it, but these bad work habits are hurting your work performance and your chances for advancement. Eliminate any work problems by staying aware of them and then taking steps to defeat them. Keep a positive outlook and remind yourself that you can change your behaviors.

So what do you think of all of these bad work habits? Did we miss any big ones?

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