If you are like many administrative professionals, you have an established daily routine that includes both positive and negative work habits. Unfortunately, some of those habits may be impeding productivity and sabotaging your ability to grow. By developing an awareness of bad habits and taking steps to change them, you can create new, more productive behaviors.
Habits may comprise a significant portion of your daily behavior; they enable you to act automatically, following the same mental and physical pathways that have been embedded in your brain over time. As a result, habits can be difficult to change. According to a recent article in the Lee's Summit Journal, changing habits takes time. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the work ahead of you, you can follow easy, painless admin tips for changing your work habits.
When trying to change your work habits, it can be tempting to overhaul everything at once. After a short period of time, however, the reality of everyday work gets in the way, and the changes start to slip.
Instead of trying to change all of your work habits at the same time, start small. If, like many administrative professionals, you handle numerous responsibilities around the office, you might have the bad habit of taking every call, email, inquiry, meeting request, or text message as it comes in. These constant small tasks can quickly become distractions from larger tasks. Instead of trying to cut out every distraction, choose one that you have control of, such as email. Instead of checking it every 10 minutes, turn off the incoming mail sound and set a reminder alarm to check it once every hour.
The small-change formula can apply to almost any work situation. If you have a bad habit of letting paperwork pile up, tackle one document every morning while you have coffee. If you habitually let the supply closet get out of hand, make a point to straighten one item each afternoon. The key is to make small changes that are easy; in doing so, you're far less likely to skip your new habits. Over time, small changes can add up to big habit transformations.
Once you've chosen the change you want to make, you can make it easier to remember by choosing a habit cue. For many administrative professionals, some tasks remain the same from day to day: checking email, going through the mail, dealing with inventory, and updating schedules, for example. Choose an activity that you do every day and use it to cue your new action. Each day after you update your boss' calendar, for example, you might return a single email. After you attend the daily stand-up meeting, you might file one document in your in-tray. After a while, you will automatically complete the positive behavior after the cue happens without thinking about it. Over time, you'll form better work habits with minimum mental effort.
Though habits take time to change, you can make the process easier by starting small and choosing cues that happen every day. By following simple admin tips, you can change your work habits and increase effectiveness on the job.
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