For most people, habits are a regular part of daily life. We may not realize them or pay attention to them, but that’s part of what makes them habits. Often, our habits allow us to operate on autopilot. When we have positive habits, this is great. They can support our work. When our habits are unhealthy, however, they can often backfire and sabotage our work. For professionals looking to grow their success, checking in with their habits is a great place to start. Here are some of the most common habits you’ll want to avoid:
For some professionals, being busy feels like they’re doing something important, like they’re growing their business, and like their putting in their best effort. This feeling of busyness often goes hand in hand with multitasking. We feel so busy because we’re trying to do several things at once. When you have a demanding job, multitasking can easily become a habit. You might feel like you don’t have time to slow down and look at each thing on your to-do list individually. Unfortunately, operating in this way often backfires. How can you expect to put in top quality work when your attention is divided? How can you expect to be efficient when you’re bouncing back and forth between tasks? Take a look at the way you approach your work, especially when things get busy. When the urge to multitask arises, take a deep breath and choose one item on your to-do list to focus on. If you’re feeling pressed for time, set yourself a timer. It’s better to spend 15 minutes giving all your attention to the task at hand than to go through your day only partially being able to focus on any given activity.
This is another bad habit that tends to come from a schedule that is jam packed. If you find yourself regularly skipping breaks and working through lunch, it’s time to take a step back. This is usually a red flag that you need to slow down. Examine your schedule and determine if you’re trying to cram too much in. Can you adjust? If you feel that you must maintain such a full schedule, can you look for ways to operate more efficiently? Professionals need to acknowledge the value of breaks. Then, they’ll be more motivated to take them. Breaks let your mind recharge, they support creative thinking and sharp problem solving, and they work to prevent burnout. If skipping breaks has become a regular habit for you, try including them in your schedule. Whether you use a notebook or the computer, include your breaks like you would any other important meeting. Even if it’s just a five minute walk around the office, the benefits are significant.
Many professionals realize what a healthy work-life balance might look like, but they don’t seem to be able to achieve it. This often stems from a habit of ignoring boundaries. You know that you shouldn’t take your work home with you every night, yet you regularly open up the computer after dinner to knock a few things off the list. You know that answering emails from bed sets you up for a poor night’s sleep, but it’s too easy to do when your phone is right there. It’s not enough to identify and set healthy boundaries, we need to respect and reinforce them. Similar to taking breaks, maintaining boundaries between your work and your personal life isn’t a sign of weakness or lack of commitment to work. It’s an investment in your long-term success and in your ability to enjoy that success.
For ambitious loan officers, their demanding work can sometimes encourage bad habits. When these go unchecked, they can undermine all the hard work you’re putting in. Check in on your habits now. Do any of these 3 ring a bell? If so, now’s the time to work to shift them to healthier habits.