Habits, good and bad– we all have them. Here are a few poor ones that have become all too common in the last several years (especially in the business world). Cleaning these out of your life will make you a more productive, engaged, and likable person.
1. Checking your phone while you’re with someone.
Whether you do it on the sly or boldly, checking your phone, responding to an email or text, or skimming through twitter during a conversation communicates a lack of value in the person you are with. Doesn’t it do the same to you when you’re on the other end of this?
Want to be that person that everyone loves and respects because of how important and valued they feel when they are engaged in a conversation with them? You know those people, the ones that make you feel like you’re the only person alive when you’re telling them something. They don’t accomplish that by paying attention to something that won’t notice if they do or not (their phone). They’ve disciplined themselves to prioritize the human that will notice.
2. Multitasking during meetings.
“The easiest way to be the smartest person in the room is to be the person who pays the most attention to the room.” -Jeff Haden
With laptops as note taking devices, it’s easy to use meeting time to do more than meet. Maybe you feel like you’re being more productive and pride yourself in your ability to multitask. But the truth is, you’re probably not doing either task well, and certainly not with excellence. The email you’re sending is rushed and at the same time, you’re missing the nonverbal cues circling the room.
Take an old fashioned notepad into your meetings and be fully present. You’ll be amazed by how much more you get out of them and contribute to them if you do. You’ll see new opportunities to strengthen relationships, pick up on creative ways to negotiate, and discover problems that may not be obvious.
Do what you’re there to do. Everyone in the room will notice and value it.
3. Saying “yes”.
Many of us hate to say no to people. Especially friends, family, and people that we work with. And at its core, this desire is not a bad thing. It probably means that you like to serve and enjoy making people happy. But this is often taken too far.
You can quickly overload your plate by saying yes to several seemingly small favors and requests. You bog yourself down, cut into most of your margin, and become stressed because you realize that you have overcommitted and aren’t going to be able to come through on all of your obligations.
A great habit to get in is saying “no” when you know that you really don’t have room for one more thing. This is going to be really hard at first. But you’ll find that your fear of disappointing someone is likely in vain. Most people understand because they are, or have been, in the same boat.
Be known for excellence. Not for how busy and/or stressed you always seem.