Becoming a more valued and respected employee often boils down to changing some of your personal behavior. If you want your career to move in a positive direction during the coming year, here are a few key habits to get into.
1. Maintain a tidy desk
The less physical clutter you have around you, the easier it’ll be for you to do your job. A messy workspace can not only interfere with your productivity, but it can also make you look disorganized to others. Rather than get a reputation for being a slob, figure out some sort of filing system that allows you to retain key documents without having them pile up all over your desk. At the same time, organize your electronics so they’re not in one another’s way. And keep personal items, like photos and knickknacks, to a minimum so they don’t occupy precious desktop real estate.
2. Be on time
Whether you’re talking about a meeting, a project deadline, or the simple act of getting to the office, being on time consistently shows that you have your act together and value other people’s time and schedules. If you’re the person who tends to show up just a few minutes after your peers have settled in, or barge into conference rooms mid-presentation, pledge to change your ways in the coming year. Set calendar reminders for meetings so you get a 15-minute heads-up before they begin. Better yet, block off those 15 minutes as travel time to and from conference rooms. Similarly, play around with project management software so you stay on top of deadlines. And for the love of timeliness, set your alarm 20 minutes earlier in the morning to allow for travel mishaps and the like.
Many managers find that it’s a struggle to get workers to volunteer for new projects or tasks that are technically above and beyond the call of duty. Therefore, if you get into the habit of volunteering, you’ll gain your boss’s continuous appreciation. At the same time, you’ll send the message that you’re a team player and that you’re not afraid to step outside your comfort zone. And that’s a good way to put yourself on the path to a promotion.
4. Ignore your personal mobile device
There may be nothing less professional than getting caught checking your text messages at the very moment your boss happens to pass by your desk. The more time you spend on your mobile phone, the less productive you’re apt to be, and the more the folks around you will notice. Instead of damaging your career for the purpose of staying just a bit more connected socially, turn off your phone during the day and bust it out during your lunch break or when you step out for your afternoon coffee run. If you give your closest friends and family members a work number to call you on, you’ll still be reachable during the day for true emergencies. But this way, you won’t get sidetracked every time a buddy wants to make dinner plans.
5. Network within the company
You probably know that it’s important to network with people outside of your company, but networking internally is just as important. The more relationships you build at your current job, the more options for career advancement you’ll have, and the more protection you’ll buy yourself should your company eventually need to downsize–if you know a lot of different managers within the company, one or two might have an opening if your team winds up on the chopping block.
The right set of workplace habits could spell the difference between advancing your career over the next 12 months or closing out 2019 in the same place you started. Learn to uphold these practices, and you’ll be well positioned to succeed in the upcoming year.