Do you have bad habits that are holding you back at work? Maybe you procrastinate? Or maybe you eat lots of sugar in the morning and then crash in the afternoon? Or maybe you can’t seem to stop checking your phone?

Whatever it is, if you feel like it’s hindering your work and you’d like to stop, here’s how you can break that habit:

  1. Keep track of it – Before you can break a habit, you have to understand it. For one week, monitor your problematic behavior. Write down how often you do it each day, when you do it, and how much time you devote to it.
  2. Evaluate it – Once you understand the behavior, you need to determine whether it’s actually a bad thing. For example, let’s say that you now realize that you check your phone once every 15 minutes. Is that distracting you from your work and the things going on around you? Or is it just a quick check that doesn’t take up much time or effort? If you decide that the behavior really is a problem, proceed to step three.
  3. Stop doing it – OK, this is easier said than done. Habits are things that we often do automatically, without even thinking about it. Or they’re things that we love doing (like loading up on sugary snacks) and will miss.
    • If it’s something that you’re doing without really thinking about it, try writing a message on a Post-it Note (something like “STOP!” might work) and sticking it in an obvious place (like on your computer monitor). This should help to prevent you from unconsciously doing whatever it is that you want to stop doing.
    • If it’s something that you love doing, try your best to stop anyway. Remember that you already decided in step two that it was a problem. So it would be in your best interest to stop.
  4. Adopt a new, awesome habit – Your old, problematic habit probably served some sort of purpose. Maybe it helped you out when you were feeling tired, bored, or disconnected. So try adopting a new, healthy habit that will satisfy that same need. For instance, you could take a short walk outside every day at lunch, eat healthy snacks, or take a few minutes every morning to chat with your coworkers. Adopting a new, healthy behavior will make it easier for you to break your old, bad habit.
  5. Stick with it – Don’t give up! It can take a while to break a bad habit. But keep trying and you’ll get there eventually!


Rosen, A. G. (2010, October 26). 5 steps to breaking bad work habits. U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved from: