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Once upon a morning commute, a group of enthusiastic 30-somethings were discussing good business practice over their morning teas and coffees on the train. One person in particular brought up the famous self-help book from the late 1980s: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey.

To be frank, I couldn’t tell whether anyone in the group had actually read this book, including the gentleman that made multiple references to it. Yet, the topic is still very relevant – what are the good habits of effective people?

In the spirit of the book, I’ve gathered together five suggestions that might be useful for workers today:

Sleep. What does this have to do with work you say? Well, without sufficient sleep, you are not at your best and neither is your work. There is a lot of science behind the lack of sleep and how it can affect the ability to concentrate. So getting enough sleep is definitely a priority. It also requires a degree of commitment – make sure you schedule in enough time for your individual sleep needs because you will take this choice with you to work in the morning.

Stress management. As complex beings, our responses are also complex. Some people do very well in high-stress situations, while others fall behind at work. To reduce stress in the workplace, a holistic approach is often needed. Minding one’s own physical health is a good place to start – such as cutting down on sweets, exercising more, and choosing to eat more fruit and veg. It is also a good idea to use available resources such as occupational healthcare, or even just having a sit-down with your supervisor in tough times. There are also various stress management techniques that can help you stay effective at work, and happily so.

Attitude. Whether it’s with a client, your dear colleague, or your not-so-dear colleague, part of good work practice is to remember to show that you’re engaged and interested. For example, something as simple as a smile or smiley (if appropriate) can go a long way. Communicating a positive attitude can be contagious and help ease communication to ensure the best work results.

Set goals for yourself. Goals can be useful in the workplace in different ways. Firstly, setting goals in terms of your schedule can help you stay on track and work at an efficient pace. For example, if there is no set deadline for a task, why not set one for yourself? You can also set goals to challenge yourself, such as taking a class to expand your skillset or being more proactive at work.

Don’t settle. Remember to make use of available tools and resources to ensure the best quality in your work, because you really don’t have to be an expert in everything (even CEOs delegate sometimes). For instance, there’s always someone available to help bring a text to the next level. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and at Tenfour we know we’re better as a team – and it shows in the quality of our work.