Good work habits are the real-life equivalent of superpowers. No, they can't grant you the gift of flight or the strength of Superman. But they can bring out your inner Clark Kent, helping you in the fight against enemy paperwork and endless to-dos.
If you’re currently in the habit of pounding snooze and zombie-walking your way through the workday, action-packed productivity may sound like a far-away fantasy. However — your current work habits don’t have to define you. It’s always possible to cultivate more productive behaviors and shed the ones holding you back. Set yourself up for success from the moment you wake, and watch as your career goals fall into place. This guide will help get you there.
What are work habits?
Work habits are the routine behaviors you engage in before and during work. These behaviors include all the automatic and subconscious actions and thought patterns you perform on a regular basis.
For example? Take a moment to consider the first thing you do when you get to the office. If you're like me, it's checking your email and touching base with coworkers. Now, consider the last time you actually thought about this process. More than likely, that behavior has become so ingrained in your routine that you just do it without a second thought.
Habits are a natural response to recurring circumstances. They help you conserve energy and free up mindspace for novel or more mentally demanding tasks. And, over time, they come to comprise nearly half of your entire workday.
Now, it’s important to remember that habits themselves are neutral. They can help or hurt your performance, depending on how they affect you and your environment.
Why are some work habits good?
Good work habits are behaviors that increase your productivity and improve your workflow. These habits make it faster and easier for you to get work done, and they enhance the quality of said work. They're an integral part of a healthy workspace, having a massive impact on you, your colleagues, and your organization as a whole.
Of course, the opposite is true of bad work habits. Instead of helping, these types of habits hinder your performance at work, dragging down performance and sabotaging your momentum.
That's why it's so important to nurture your good habits and replace your bad ones. This process does take time and effort (implementing new habits takes about 66 days of consistent effort). But it makes an astronomical difference in your productivity.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Will Durant
Good Work Habits Examples
Everyone is at a different stage in their professional development. Some of us have a healthy arsenal of productive work habits guiding our days. Others, not so much. The good news is that it doesn’t matter where you currently lie — there’s always room to improve and further develop your good work habits.
This list shows several of the most common (and important) good work habits and talks about ways you can start implementing them into your routine today.
1. Showing Up on Time
Showing up on time is a foundational work habit. It sets the stage for how you approach your job and reflects the standards you hold yourself to. By showing up on time, you're proving that you care about your commitments and understand the importance of your workplace contributions. Showing up on time also shows respect for your coworkers, who may rely on and plan their days around your presence.
If you’re struggling to show up when scheduled, give yourself some extra time in the morning by going to bed and waking up an hour earlier. If you still find yourself racing against the clock, consider preparing workday essentials the night before (e.g., choose your clothes, meal prep a healthy lunch, etc.) to streamline your routine and make it out the door faster.
2. Meeting Deadlines
Deadlines play a vital role in the business world. They signal a critical inflection point — the hand-off period, where a deliverable goes from one team or department to another (or, directly to a client). Any hold-up on your end negatively affects everyone further down the line, leading to potential disruptions in workflow operations. As such, you should avoid missing them at all costs.
The key to consistently meeting deadlines? Learning to manage your time better. That means scheduling regular sessions where you tackle difficult tasks one step at a time, through to completion. It also means saying no to procrastination by getting started on your projects rather than leaving things until the last minute.
3. Being Respectful of Others' Time
Like it or not, we’ve all got busy schedules. The question is, how do you reconcile everyone's preoccupations with the fact that sometimes, you need to interject with comments, questions, and collaboration requests? You do it with respect for their time.
Respecting your colleagues' time means only engaging when you have something important and actionable to discuss. It also means using the right communication tool for the job. Asynchronous communication tools like Loom are an excellent choice, as they let your colleagues respond whenever works best for their schedules.
4. Communicating Clearly
Contrary to what your English professor taught you, clear communication isn't about fancy language. It's about transferring information from one person to another in as direct and concise a way as possible. Clear communication is particularly important at work, where your ability to convey information has a direct impact on your company’s time and money.
To get in the habit of communicating clearly, remember the acronym KISS. Keep it simple, stupid. Use concise, easy-to-understand language, especially when discussing complex topics. Better yet, use Loom to discuss key talking points. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a Loom screen recording is worth millions, allowing you to combine visual and narrational cues in one easy-to-consume package.
5. Being Proactive & Taking Initiative
Just because a task lacks urgency doesn't mean it's not important. By the same token, just because you haven't been assigned a job doesn't mean you can't step up and take care of it. Being proactive and taking initiative isn't about working beyond the scope of your position (although going above and beyond can also be a good work habit). It's about doing a good job, remaining aware of your workplace responsibilities, and taking care of things before they become problems.
With that said, being proactive does take a fair amount of effort, and you needn't overburden yourself by taking on everything all at once. Instead, take proactivity one step at a time, seeking out important or overlooked tasks and scheduling small chunks of time to get them done.
6. Adding an Agenda to Your Meetings
Meetings are an essential part of modern business culture. They allow for real-time collaboration, providing a timely forum for managers to give directions or constructive feedback and others to make comments or ask questions. Unfortunately, there's a problem with the way most meetings are conducted. Namely, they're chock-full of fluff and filler and come with no real action plan.
Don't be that meeting host. Instead, add an agenda to your meetings. Use a tool like Loom to get everybody on the same page before you begin. While you're at it, set a clear goalpost — an actionable result you'd like to gain from your meeting. This provides a singular, action-oriented focus to guide your session and provides others the opportunity to apply or decline the meeting based on its relevance to their position.
7. Recording Your Presentations
Giving presentations is a great work habit to get into, as it helps keep colleagues and clients apprised of project details. The only problem is that presentations take lots of time and energy to prepare. And, after you've finished giving your presentation, it's gone to the ether, lost forever.
At least, that's how it used to be. Nowadays, you can and should get into the habit of recording your presentations for later use. That way, your recipients can review them down the line, revisiting the lessons or information whenever necessary. You can also show these presentations to new team members, getting them up to speed without the costly timesink of yet another round of meetings.
To start recording your presentations, you'll want to turn to a webcam and screen recorder like Loom. Record your presentations and share them in a single click — easy as can be.
8. Finding a Problem and Proposing a Solution
You’ll find problems within every organization, even the most organized and efficient ones. Nobody’s perfect, after all, and what are organizations other than the complex gathering of people and their ideas?
The thing is, finding and voicing problems without proposing solutions is simply adding to the list of problems.
So what’s the solution? By all means, make it a habit to call out the issues you see. But take the initiative and present those issues alongside viable solutions.
9. Staying Organized
We often think about “being organized” as it pertains to our physical workspace. But organization entails so much more than just the clutter within your cubicle. It's your entire system of operation. It encompasses the way information comes into your possession, how it's stored, how it's accessed, and how efficiently you can transfer to or share it with colleagues.
That's why it's so important to follow a clearly defined and thoughtful organizational system, one that works for you and everyone else in your organization. Async tools like Loom are an excellent option for this, as they make it easy to communicate, share, and store data across entire teams and departments.
10. Continuing Your Education
Whether you’re college-educated, self-taught, or trained on the job, there’s always more to learn. Every industry changes over time, and technology is accelerating these changes at an ever-increasing pace. Get ahead of the curve by making lifelong learning a keystone work habit. Committing to continued education keeps you on top of the latest trends, allowing you to adapt and excel rather than stagnate in your career.
Don't worry — continuing to learn doesn't necessarily mean going back to school. You can gain knowledge from various sources nowadays, including books, podcasts, YouTube videos from experts in your field, and blogs like this one. Spend a couple of hours a week keeping tabs on your industry, and your career will thank you for it.
11. Taking Care of Yourself
Have you ever tried to concentrate and get work done while dealing with pain, sickness, or heightened emotions? It simply doesn't work. On the flip side, good health and self-care have a long track record of increasing productivity.
Fortunately, there are tons of health-oriented routines you can add to your workday. For starters, you may want to try a morning workout or yoga ritual to improve your energy, body, and mind. Eating healthy is another great habit, as is taking moments throughout the day to check in with yourself and center in the moment. You should also sprinkle moments of fun and levity into your workday, when appropriate. After all, all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.
How Loom Helps Build Good Work Habits
Implementing good workplace habits is challenging. I mean, if it were easy, everybody would have stellar habits! That's why you must be thoughtful with your approach. Start slow, gradually replacing existing behaviors by introducing new methods and routines to your workday.
While we may be biased (this is the Loom blog, after all), we think Loom is one of the best ways to aid the process of building healthy habits at work.
Loom is an async screen and webcam recorder that helps with communication, organization, productivity, and so much more. The app is super simple and easy to use (if you can operate FaceTime or Zoom, you can operate Loom), making it accessible to your entire organization. And, it's entirely free to get started.
How can it help you, exactly? Here are a few ways Loom can help you build good work habits:
Loom scales time and saves energy. Spending a few minutes recording one loom can benefit everyone you share it with (rather than a single recipient), saving you time and energy. The Loom platform also hosts your library of your recordings, providing a place that colleagues can visit and revisit at any time.
Loom maximizes productivity. Instead of scheduling a meeting in person or over Zoom, send your colleagues a loom to watch at their own speed. Or, if a meeting is required, send a quick loom going over what your guests can expect. It's less time wasted and more time spent productively.
Loom keeps you organized. Loom helps you record and store clear, concise videos chock-full of written, audial, and visual information. In other words, the platform handles all your communication needs, wrapping things up in a convenient, easily-accessible package.
Loom works for everyone. Loom is so simple, your great-grandma could use it. Seriously! This async app slides right into yours and your colleague's toolkits, replacing outdated text-based forms of communication and providing a platform that works for everyone's personality (introverts and extroverts) and preferred work style.
There are a million different ways you can use Loom to start building better habits. Try it today, and see for yourself the positive impact it has on your workflow.