• TOVI's Science Communicator, Ashley Miller-Dykeman, M.A.

6 Good Work Habits to Swear By


Woman tidying up workspace.
Photo: Urbazon/iStock


When work isn’t going well, whether it’s because you’re having trouble getting stuff done or because you’re stressed, it can drastically affect every other part of your day. A tough day at the home office can cause serious problems in the rest of your home. This is especially true if you’re working from home, because your work and home lives are already so closely intertwined.


Having good, healthy work habits, however, can help you stay productive and focused while you’re working, leading you to have better days at the office and better days at home. Here are 6 work habits we swear by.



1. Keep the distractions away


When you’re not able to focus, you’re less productive, and when you’re less productive, you get stressed (and maybe even have to work longer hours, which adds even more stress). One of the keys to staying focused at work is keeping distractions out of your workspace, when possible.


This means putting your phone on silent (or leaving it in another room!), turning off the TV, and keeping kids or housemates away. This might not be possible ALL the time, but making a concentrated effort to get rid of distractions will go a long way.



2. Step away when you’re stumped


Sometimes you hit a block at work. Whether you’re battling frustration with a situation or coworker, are having trouble concentrating, or have a problem you can’t figure out, sitting at your desk stumped won’t do you any good.


Getting comfortable and used to stepping away and giving yourself space can be a magical fix for this kind of problem. Go for a walk, do some stretches, or just move on to something else. Even better, plan out breaks during your day that will help you recharge and find balance.



3. Set limits for yourself


Boundaries and limits are crucial for being healthy and happy at work. Block off time in your calendar for a lunch break, set a status on your team chat or messaging app when you’re unavailable or would rather not be bothered, or, even better, mark clear times on your calendar when you’ll be “in the office” and available for meetings and calls. If your work atmosphere is more fluid, try to at least set limits around when you will and won’t be working.


Once you’ve set limits, convey them clearly to your team so that everyone understands.



4. Respect your coworkers’ boundaries


If you’ve set your own limits you’d like your coworkers to respect, it’s also important that you respect your coworkers’ limits. Chats and remote conferencing can make it very easy to contact your coworkers at all hours of the day and night, but that can become taxing for everyone involved. Think about it this way: reading work emails in bed isn’t good for your mental health, and it’s not good for your coworkers’ mental health either.


This is particularly important if you have coworkers in different time zones or if you manage a team. Respect their need to have balance as well.



5. Keep your space clean


Clutter and disorganized spaces can cause stress and other problems while you’re working. Keeping your space clean and organized throughout the day is a good work habit to have, no matter where you’re working.



6. Lastly, Ask How You’re Feeling


Sometimes you just need to check in with yourself. You might be surprised at how your mood and feelings change from day to day. Making it a habit to ask yourself how you’re feeling throughout the day can be incredibly valuable for protecting your mental health, especially in a time when things are constantly changing.



Infographic explaining 6 good work habits to swear by

Reviewed by: Lorena Ruci, Ph.D., Registered Psychotherapist


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