From obsessive multi-tasking to eating lunch at our desks – we’re all guilty of bad work habits at one point or another. But left unchecked, these habits can limit your work performance.

To dig a little deeper, here are four habits you need to be aware of and ultimately quell to make your working day more productive.  

  1. Multi-tasking habits that damage productivity

The modern workplace is full of distractions. In the space of just 10 minutes you might check your Facebook and Snapchat, read three new emails, respond to a couple of requests from your colleagues and if you’re lucky – get some actual work done.

While ignoring these distractions might feel impossible, scientific studies have shown that multitasking habits can actually damage your productivity. It slows us down, makes us retain less information and has negative mental and physical impacts.

Whether you’re trying to perform more than one task at time, or jumping between unrelated tasks in quick succession – we’re all guilty of multi-tasking. But if you find yourself succumbing to bad habits, it’s a good idea to reassess how you work.

  1. Stop eating at your desk

According to a recent survey, 48.9% of surveyed Australians said they regularly eat lunch at their desk, while 22% regularly eat breakfast at their desk. Among those who regularly eat breakfast and/or lunch at their desk, 53.7% say they typically do not leave the office or go outside at all during work hours on at least three out of the five working days.

While eating lunch at your desk might seem like a productive idea, it’s actually a habit that can impact your performance. According to NetDoctor, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t eat at your desk:

  • You might end up overeating.
  • You don’t give your brain a chance to recharge.
  • You lack variety.
  • You sit for longer.
  • You miss out on socialising.
  • You don’t get any sunshine.

The bottom line? Make sure your lunch break is treated the way it deserves to be treated – as a break.

  1. Setting meetings with no objectives

Nothing kills productivity more than a pointless meeting. And in the business world, you’re bound to run into more than your fair share.

To make sure your meetings are worth the time, here are some questions to ask yourself beforehand:

  • Do I really need to hold this meeting?
  • What is the purpose of this meeting?
  • Is there any way I can make this meeting more memorable?
  • How can I make sure everyone is prepared?
  • Who actually needs to be at this meeting?
  • How can I give everyone in the meeting a voice?
  • Who is the right person to lead the meeting?
  • Are there any incentives I can offer for attending?
  1. Not using a project or time management system

The advantages of a good project and time management system can’t be underrated. Both Amazon and Spotify saw a boost in productivity by implementing an agile approach to their workflow. But companies of all shapes and sizes can benefit from being more organised – even if their definitions of success are different.

Whether you’re using an agile project management methodology such as Scrum, or making the most of new software, your business can benefit by:

  • Earning more savings and increased revenue.
  • Reducing project risk.
  • Improving communication, collaboration and transparency.
  • Well-documented reports.
  • Increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Increasing product value.
  • Employees can find their work more enjoyable.

The importance of banishing bad work habits

Productivity is crucial to every workplace. But the task of banishing bad habits shouldn’t just be left to the employees to work out. It needs to come from the top down – and within the company culture itself.

The key is to stick at it. Good work habits are better for your customers, better for your company and better for the people that work for you. So if you’re hoping to improve performance levels, take inspiration from the above points and start making the changes needed to get on track.