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Five Bad Working Habits I Kicked For A Better Work Ethic Being a 20-something in the "professional world" for a few years now, I've come to learn that in business, there's no room for slacking off!

By May Rostom

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You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Being a 20-something in the "professional world" for a few years now I've come to learn that in business, there's no room for slacking off! There's always someone who's going to do it better, more efficiently, and perfect the technique 10 times more than you even thought possible. These are the pros that are in it to win it; people who love what they do and who aren't just in it for the money. It's not just an issue of self-improvement, it's an ethical issue as well. When you are using your work hours to do things other than work, you are not fulfilling your end of the bargain- you are reneging on your contract to produce and to do so in a timely and effective manner.

Having said that, I've come to the conclusion that if I want to keep my job and move ahead in my company, and if I want to be good at what I do, I have to offer more. I recently noticed that I haven't been giving my 100% and so decided to cross off five bad work habits that facilitated my career boredom and hindered my productivity levels.

1. The "F" Word

Before you think I curse off my boss or colleagues, the "F" word here is Facebook. If I spend half the time I spend on Facebook doing an ever-required report or compiling a good article, I could make something out of myself. Let's admit it folks, checking Facebook "one last time" does not exist. That also applies to Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest (Oh God, Pinterest!).

2. The Three-Hour Coffee Break

I'm not really a coffee person; I've only developed a recent love for coffee because it gives me an excuse to stall during work hours. I know you do it too! I realized that I don't need to spend three hours hanging out at the water cooler or sipping on cold coffee only pretending to work, but rather get my work done quickly so I can leave early… It's like taking your coffee break at the end of the day.

3. Putting The Pro In Procrastination

When it comes to procrastinating, I'm your go-to girl. Nobody does it like May Rostom, let me tell you! I could win an award for that, I'm writing this article right now when I should be at a friend's birthday party. It's a disease that I can't get rid of. Whenever there's something that has to be done or that has a dead-line, I end up doing everything but that. As much as I wish I kicked that habit completely, it's still a work in progress. I've learned to slightly manage my procrastination problem by doing other things that were also being put off. Having a to-do list is extremely important in helping you focus on tasks that should be done. It also gives you options to pick from, rather than being forced to finish only one task.

4. Get Some Shut-Eye

We all do it. As much as we hate to admit it, we do it! We yawn at our computer screens, doze off during meetings (with eyes open like the zombies that are so pervasive in pop culture lately), and we arrive at the office 8a.m. sharp in sleep walking mode. My love for sleep has never changed and never will, but then again, if I love sleep so much, why don't I go to bed early? That sentence right there was the reason behind my improved sleep pattern. Instead of watching three episodes of Breaking Bad before heading to bed, why don't I postpone that to when I'm having lunch after work the next day? There are 24 hours in a day, there's plenty of time to do what you want to do, just space it out right.

5. Hate Mail

Hate mail doesn't really get you anywhere. It doesn't get your things done; it doesn't improve your relationship with your colleagues, and it most certainly does not please your boss. Being aggressive in emails is something that is completely controllable and unnecessary. By learning to manage your anger, assess the situation before pressing "send" and lashing out at your colleague on the receiving end, you'll definitely foster a more peaceful working environment for both you and for your team members. By ignoring the little things that piss you off at work, you will be happier and more productive. It worked for me.

It's never too late to quit a bad habit; all it takes is 30 days of persistence to kick it, and a set mind dedicated to improving your work ethic. The equation is a simple one: being a dedicated employee is being an ethical employee. Not only will it be appreciated by your boss, but also it will also push you forward in your career. Okay, so if my boss does end up reading this, at least my commitment to improve is in print! Consider this my binding contract.

May Rostom

Curator, Entrepreneur Café

May Rostom is the curator of Entrepreneur Café, a new daily digest of stories from Entrepreneur Middle East to fuel your day at work. 

May has been in the fashion journalism field for more than five years, with over 500 articles published in online and offline mediums. Working closely with some of the biggest fashion brands in the region, from creating, curating, and developing content to aggregating and pitching for content from several fashion and beauty outlets in the Middle East, Rostom’s experience is multicultural and vast. She was formerly a senior lifestyle editor/writer at MSN Arabia, and she has also worked with TRESemme Egypt as a fashion expert.


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