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There are plenty of habits that we pick up while we work, very few of which are healthy or productive. Most people don’t even realize they’ve picked up these habits, so here’s a list of the main culprits, so you can watch out for them and rectify your behaviour.

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1. Drinking Too Much Coffee, Not Enough Water

While many people associate working with coffee, there are risks associated with drinking more than four cups a day, like anxiety and headaches — neither of which are ideal while you’re at work. While everyone enjoys a cup of Joe first thing in the morning, you may be surprised at how much better you feel after swapping out caffeine for water. Yes, water can be boring. However, when you’re spending the majority of your waking hours in the office, you need to stay hydrated while you’re there. This is good for your skin, good for your brain, and can even provide you with an energy boost. Bringing a big bottle to work every day and aiming to finish it before 5:00 is a great way to remember to keep up your H2O consumption.

2. Failing to Prioritize Your Tasks

While many of us are proud multitaskers, switching back and forth between tasks can actually lead to mistakes, depleted concentration, and some half done work at the end of the day. Figure out what is important, and do things in order of importance. You’ll be sure to find your focus and concentration improve, along with the quality of each piece of work you produce. It’s easier to track your progress and stay calm when you’re handling one task at a time, while a pile of assignments you’re flitting between can seem unsurmountable, as nothing is getting finished. Doing one thing at a time can actually help your attention span because it forces you to focus.

3. Having a Messy and Unorganized Desk

While some people are messy by nature, and others are just naturally clean and tidy, indulging in your messy habits can be really counterproductive at work. The mess will distract you, as there will be just so much stuff in your line of vision. While having a stimulating desk with pictures and personal touches can be good for you, rifling through mountains of business essays and old postcards to find anything (and suddenly noticing something on the pile marked ‘urgent’) can significantly affect how much you get done in a day.

4. Not Taking Healthy Breaks

Our attention span and focus are limited. It is absolutely essential to take a break when you’re offered one, especially at lunch, as working at your desk saps your energy further. Do some creative writing exercises, step away from your desk, and avoid screens altogether, for that matter. Leave social media and just recalibrate a little, and you will be surprised to find how much energy you have when you return. Bringing healthy snacks and lunches to work can lift you up for the afternoon and sustain your energy, while sugars and carbs, which may seem satisfying a the time, will leave you crashing by 3pm. It’s also a good idea to avoid any negative gossip from around the office, as this can send you back to your desk a little depleted. It is also completely unnecessary to check your emails every five minutes — that kind of procrastination is not a healthy break, and reduces your productivity.

5. Not Acknowledging Your Limits

Some of us do get a bit off a buzz when people comment on our capacity, dedication, and loyalty to the business — they sound like compliments. But if you say yes to absolutely every single request without ever suggesting it may be too much on top of your workload, you may end up being taken advantage of. You could even become overwhelmed and extremely stressed by the amount of work you’re expected to do. There’s only so much you can do in a day, and while working overtime may carry some favour with the boss, accepting that you’ll always be sticking around after 5:00 may lead to more time-wasting during the day than if you wanted to be out of the door at five and had to get everything done by then. While there will always be circumstances that warrant staying late, doing it all the time will just take away from the time you have to relax and re-energize for the next day. The importance of free time shouldn’t be underestimated, so don’t be afraid to say no from time to time, get out of the door at five, and take care of yourself a little. If your employer doesn’t approve of such behaviour, start your resume writing and new job searching now. You cannot serve from an empty cup.

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6. Skipping the Gym

Working full time can be intense, and with commitments to friends and family combined, it can feel like you have absolutely no time to yourself, and you can be so tired that all you want to do is sit on the couch and relax. However, this does you no good, and if you do feel super busy or overwhelmed, though it may seem counterintuitive, exercising can actually drastically improve your state of mind by releasing endorphins that combat anxiety, —meaning it’s good for your mental and physical health. Sitting at a desk all day is bad enough for you; not exercising outside of work only compounds the problem and guarantees poor health.

7. Bad Posture at Your Desk

It’s easy to fall into poor posture while you’re sitting in a desk chair all day. You’re tired, you may be bored, and you just naturally start to slump. Unfortunately, slouching like this affects how you are perceived by your colleagues, and you do not seem like a dynamic go-getter when hunched over your desk. More important, it’s bad for your body, and may cause back pain later on. Some experts also believe that slouching can affect your self-confidence, too, making you feel more depressed than if you were sitting up, ready to tackle to world. Sit up straight to be seen as assertive, feel more confident, and save yourself aches and pains later.

These habits slowly creep into you day-to-day routine, and they’re bad for you, and bad for your work. Now that you’re aware of what some of your unhealthy habits could be, it’s time to try to avoid repeating them, so you can enjoy a healthy, happy workplace.

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