From the moment you step into your workplace, you are bombarded with a series of written and unwritten rules that you are expected to follow. The worst of it is, when you do follow them, you become stagnant and sometimes receive little to no recognition – which is why there are some rules you should not follow:

Rule #1 – Work Hard

You don’t actually have to work hard – you do need to work smart. Hard (or stressful) work can lead to injury and poor health. Find creative ways to solve challenging problems so you don’t risk your physical and mental health.

Rule #2 – Stick to Your Plan

Planning is essential, no doubt, but you don’t always have to follow it. Don’t be so committed to your plan that you lose sight of the outcome. Life’s unpredictable – leave room for spontaneity and impulsiveness!

Rule #3 – Meet Every Deadline

There’s nothing wrong in asking for an extension; quality of work is far more important. You don’t want to deliver shoddy work on time and then end up redoing it because it wasn’t good enough. Go ahead and ask for more time if you need it – your bosses will be more impressed with your honesty and a job well executed!

Rule #4 – Don’t Mix Work Time and Play Time

I don’t mean you shouldn’t take work seriously; I do mean you should find ways to make what you do fun! When work becomes play, it’s a lot more enjoyable. For instance, when you are completing a task you don’t particularly enjoy, listen to upbeat music – this will help lift your mood. Make the way you work your own and you will deliver better results.

Rule #5 – Manage Your Time to Get it All Done

Realistically, this is sometimes impossible. You’re one person and the day has only 24 hours. It’s okay if your work occasionally extends beyond the deadline, just be sure to set a new deadline and work towards meeting your goal – but don’t stress over it!

Rule #6 – Follow Instructions

Most people believe their superiors’ instructions are gospel – don’t. Question your bosses, be open about your opinions and make a splash; it’s okay if you don’t agree with them. Innovation and creativity are essential in the workplace!

Rule #7 – Never Quit

You’re human, not a robot. If something doesn’t work out, it’s okay to pass the job on to someone more qualified or who doesn’t value their own well-being.

Rule #8 – Always be Diplomatic

I’m not saying be utterly rude or impolite – don’t be afraid to make yourself heard! Be firm in your ideals and don’t be overly concerned about offending others. They’ll actually admire your honesty and frankness in the end.

Rule #9 – Don’t Make Friends at Work

Unless you feel a personal connection to your office, you won’t be interested in giving it your 100%. Make friends with your coworkers and your bosses – build a tiny family unit of your own that you can depend on. That way, work becomes more fun and you’re excited about going each day, besides, this is where you spend most of your time – shouldn’t you enjoy it!

Rule #10 – Don’t Procrastinate

Putting off work and then asking for deadline extensions isn’t what I mean! Procrastinating here means taking a break – sometimes you just need to step back and take a breather. Take a few minutes several times throughout the day to relax your mind and body – when you do, you will feel rejuvenated and take less sick (stress) leave!

All the best, 

Dr. Antwala