7 destructive habits that waste your time at work

People waste their precious energy by talking about things they cannot change or did not cause. So, choose your conversations wisely at work.

Written by Siddhartha S | New Delhi | Published: January 19, 2016 4:32 pm
workplace hacks, improve productivity If you want to improve your energy and happiness levels, avoid talking about these seven things at work. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

“The way you spend your time creates happiness in your life.”

I must admit that I was super-active when I was a teenager, just like most kids usually are. I used to ride my bicycle for over 10km every day, run for a few more, study for 7-8 hours, eat little food and yet be ready for the next cricket or football game.

Once I hit my mid-20s and started working, things began to change. At first, I did not understand why I felt tired so frequently? Twenty-five is too young to feel old and drained. While my outside world had improved — I worked out of good places, drove air-conditioned cars and did very little physical labour — my inner world had changed. Out of this suffering, I stumbled over one of the best kept secret of energy and happiness — the practice of non-interference.

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Millions and, perhaps, billions of productive hours are wasted in habit of ‘staying informed’. I have been practising this philosophy for over seven years now and have witnessed positive changes in my physical, mental and emotional faculties. People waste their precious energy by talking about things they cannot change or did not cause.

It is not your work, it is your attitude

Have you ever wondered why you feel drained at your workplace? It is not the work. Work is therapeutic in nature. Your body and mind actually need 8-12 hours of work, 6-8 hours of sleep, good nutrition and 1 hour of exercise every day to stay in a peak state. Thus, if you feel you can stay happy without working, discard the notion. What people do not realise is how ruthlessly they squander their emotional energy during the day, and wonder why they feel so exhausted at the end of the day.

If you want to improve your energy and happiness levels, avoid talking about the seven things that I’ve listed below during your work hours, especially during lunch and coffee breaks. Your mind feels energised when it creates content, and feels exhausted when it consumes useless content.

1. Stop discussing politics: I find it very funny when people fight with their friends and colleagues just because they support a different political party of a leader. I only discuss politics on the day I go for voting and that happens usually once in five years. Everything else is a waste of time. I find it amusing that people call a politician thief or a hero without even knowing them personally. Once you have voted, your duty is over. And for God’s sake, stop discussing politicians for whom you cannot vote. The political party you support is as personal a choice as wearing a particular brand of underwear. It is good to wear one but very stupid to flaunt and convincing others to get the same brand.

2. Do not follow celebrities: There is another category of people that wants to teach people how to act. They critique movies over lunch and pass judgement over movies done by the celebrities. Please realise that every movie star is a hundred times wealthier than you are and perhaps 10 times more talented. You do not have the right to criticise anything you have not created. Nobody forced you to buy a movie ticket for the movie you did not like. You went on your own and now you cry that you have been cheated. Stop being a fan and do not follow celebrities too much on social media. By the way few fans never admit that they are fans and yet they waste so much time in following every move of their favourite celebrity.

3. Stop advising cricketers: Everybody in our country is a cricket expert who has an advice that the losing team should have followed. These people have no idea what it is like to play in a stadium full of 50,000 screaming spectators. They have never played beyond the colony park or school team. Some people update their Facebook status with ball-by-ball commentary of the match. Stop wasting your time. If you love cricket so much, then go out and play the game. This will give you more happiness. All the cricketers who play for the country are better players than you, so stop advising them.

4. Do not fight the weather: The people who complain about how hot the weather is during summers, are the same people who complain about how cold the winters are. Why complain about what you have no control over? Learn to fall in love with weather as it is because it will not change as per your opinion. Plant trees, minimise pollution and love weather as you find it. Some people get upset when temperatures rise or fall beyond their expectations.

5. Never curse the traffic: You are not stuck in traffic, you are the traffic. It is impossible for you to experience a traffic jam if you are not part of it. Do not curse the traffic when you are driving to work or coming back from it. Listen to education tapes and convert your ‘stuck-time’ into ‘learning time’. Do not let anything that you cannot change, spoil your mood.

6. Stop gossiping about colleagues: Average people talk about other people, smart people talk about ideas and lessons, goes the adage. Never talk bad about people behind their back. Always say positive things. There is a reason why your boss is your boss. Respect authority and avoid the company of people who bash their bosses or colleagues. What you resist tends to persist.

7. Do not crib or complain: If you have too much work, do not complain about it. Complaining magnifies your misery because it makes you feel that you do not have control over your professional life. Work hard and give your hundred percent to whatever work you get to do. Work hard for what it will make of you as a professional.

Once you start this habit of non-interference and energy conservation, you will probably feel lonely for the first 30 days. If you do not give up and keep practising it, a time will come when you will prefer loneliness over ignorant company. Spend time with happy colleagues who are solving a problem not the ones who merely discuss a problem and then go back to their work. Spend time with people who are excited about projects and ideas and not those who criticize, condemn and complain. Time is most valuable currency you have. Trade it only for money or joyful moments.

Siddhartha S is an author of 5 books — '60 Keys to Success with NLP', 'Thank God it’s Monday', and many others. He calls himself a ‘weekend writer’ and writes on how to attain peak performance in personal life. The views presented are strictly his personal views and cannot be attributed to any organisation he is or will be part of. Working It Out is a fortnightly column.

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