Top 5 Effective Work Habits for Success

The habits you put in place can help determine the amount of success you see in the workplace. There are five core work habits that every successful person has developed through dedication. Here is how you can put these very same values into action to see greater success.

  1. Respect and Achieve Deadlines

It can’t be stressed enough that one of the most effective work habits one can have is to hit your deadlines. Deadlines can be stressful, especially if you are juggling multiple projects. And there are a variety of reasons workers might miss their deadlines—from failing to prioritize their assignments to struggling with the never-ending pursuit of perfection. But no matter the reason, deadlines have to be met.

Being able to meet deadlines consistently is not only a core component of any job but also a major sign of professionalism. The key to sticking to tight deadlines is to:

  • Always be moving forward: Focusing on the project at large can become overwhelming, so try to break down larger projects into manageable tasks that you can check off a list. When we see ourselves making progress, it motivates us to keep moving forward.
  • Ask for help when needed: It’s much better to ask questions when you are stuck than to waste time trying to figure it out yourself.
  • Tune out distractions: Set aside some focus time to plan how you will tackle the assignment so you can tackle the work with actionable goals.

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  1. Take Criticism Well and Grow From Mistakes

Criticisms may seem harsh at the moment, but they are a necessary part of our growth. Keep in mind that critiques aren’t intended to be a personal attack but rather to help you become a better version of yourself. Don’t dwell on mistakes, but learn from criticisms and apply them to future assignments. Receiving feedback is a sign of emotional intelligence, which is becoming a highly-valued soft skill that managers look for in employees.

Self-aware people tend to make better decisions, build deeper relationships, and have stronger communication. Here are three ways you can improve emotional intelligence:

  • Listen with intention: Hearing negative feedback can lead some people to shut down mentally out of panic, but you should always listen intently so that you can clearly understand what is being said. Just remember, criticism isn’t a bad thing. And you will impress your manager when they see that you have listened and made the necessary corrections.
  • Be thankful: Thanking the person giving you criticism shows an eagerness to improve yourself and tricks our brains into being grateful for the feedback instead of feeling hurt.
  • Plan for next time: Take some time to think about the criticism and make notes on how you plan to put that feedback into action.
  1. Develop Effective Communication

The majority of arguments stem from miscommunication, so it would make sense that strong communication skills are just as essential in the workplace. According to a survey conducted by Fierce Conversations and Quantum Workplace, more than 80% of employees stated that miscommunication was an issue in their organization. In addition, roughly half of employees weren’t regularly speaking their minds.

Communication is vital for an organization to attain long-term success and sustainability. If sports teams win or lose games based on poor communication, it would make sense that the same logic can be applied to businesses. You can improve communication through:

  • Active listening: With the multiple tasks we deal with at any given moment, our minds can seemingly drift off even when we don’t realize it. Learn to focus on exactly what is being said to you and tune out other tasks you might be juggling at the moment.
  • Ask questions: If you aren’t sure what is being asked, it’s best to get clarification right away than to follow up later (or try to figure it out yourself).
  • Take notes: If you can, take notes so that you can easily remember any tasks you’re given. Taking notes will ensure you will be meeting all goals required of you.
  1. Ask Smart Questions

For many working professionals, asking questions is part of the daily routine. And by knowing how to ask more in-depth questions, you’ll be able to form stronger relationships with your co-workers and managers.

You can ask questions beyond just needing clarification. In fact, being curious will demonstrate your willingness to learn and be part of the team. You can ask questions when you want to learn more about the company and how to grow within your organization. Just be sure to ask these questions during an appropriate time.

  • Think about what you know: Examine the areas that you already know, and then find the gaps in your expertise where you can grow.
  • Be direct and polite: Your questions should be concise and to the point. Make sure to clearly state what you want to learn. Instead of asking off the cuff, you can plan by writing your questions down and refining them to improve the quality of the discussion.
  1. Learn to Be Proactive

While managers appreciate an employee who follows directions, it’s even more impressive if you can be proactive in the workplace. This is especially true for freelancers, whose success depends on their ability to take charge and seek out opportunities. The more you can make life easier for your clients, the more likely they will want to give you recurring work.

If you know which tasks are routinely asked, you can get a jump start and surprise your clients by completing them before they are requested. When you are proactive, your clients will begin viewing you as more trustworthy and professional, leading to bigger and better assignments. 

One of the best ways to become more proactive is to have strong organization skills so that you can plan your goals. You can use sites like Indy that give you all of the project management tools you need to help you manage your freelance business, including proposals, contracts, invoices, file storage, time tracking tools, calendar scheduling, and more.

You can also learn to be more proactive by spending time with motivated people. As the saying goes, we are who we hang with. Try to find some people who have a reputation for being highly motivated, and their outlook on life will begin to rub off on you.


When you target these five areas, you can develop a stronger work habit that will improve your efficiency, build stronger working relationships, and help you to be more proactive within the workplace.

Author Bio: Brandt Sohn is a content writer and copywriter at Indy, an all-in-one website designed to make managing your freelance business easy.


Your work habits directly relate to how much success you see in life. Here are five effective habits to improve your work ethic.

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