Professional habits in personal life

We spend at work most of our time, and it happens, as a matter of fact, that professional habits penetrate deeply into our personal life. Accountants are usually exceptionally careful and vigilant with their own finances; lawyers can use their skills and knowledge of law in arguments with annoying neighbors; doctors constantly give pieces of advice about treating all kinds of health conditions to their family, friends and acquaintances. On the one hand, such professional attitude appears to be natural, but on the other hand, it just makes people feel slightly uncomfortable.

Information developers have certain skills and habits that they apply to their personal life too. And it’s no wonder because our profession requires strong organizational skills, ability to adapt to any environment, and creativity in terms of solving everyday tasks. Seems like a good suite of professional habits worth transferring to personal life, right? In this article, I will try to elicit some good and bad professional habits that information developers inevitably apply in everyday life.

Good habits:

Writing detailed lists

“Fool tidies up, a genius rules over chaos”

Up until recently, this quotation was my guidance or, in other words, an excuse to countless notes shattered everywhere at home with reminders about different errands. That was how I ruled the chaos, or at least, I thought that I did. The profession of information developer changed this careless attitude of mine, and now I am enthusiastic about elaborating concise yet comprehensive lists of all the things I have to do, and keeping them in one place, not on the fridge, kitchen table, work desk, but in Google Keep.

Conducting profound research

Exhaustive research on any topic gradually became part of my out-of-the-work life. If I have to buy a kitchen appliance, book a short trip to another city, or choose a birthday present for a family member, I can’t be at peace with myself until I study all the possible characteristics. This meticulousness, sometimes excessive, as pointed out by my friends at numerous occasions, despite being time-consuming, really pays off. After all, it’s better to spend some time researching, then to regret quick unjustified decisions.

Estimating with precision

“When are you going to be ready?” – “Oh, just 10 minutes and I’ll be there” (meanwhile, just leaving home and running to catch a bus). There is an estimation, right? But it’s so far from reality. If this was my typical answer about half a year ago, now I am calculating the time with precision, taking into account factors that can possibly influence the estimate.

To learn more about traits of character that the profession of information developer might change or develop in you, check the article “8 Things TechComm has Changed in Me”.

Now the time has come to look upon some professional habits that might appear to be less welcomed and tolerated by others.

Bad habits:

Excessive criticism

The criticism after peer and technical review gives an opportunity to promote writing skills and develop better documentation. Criticism at work is a good thing. Now imagine that your friend asked you to review his CV. You do it in the usual scrutinous way, changing date formats and sentence structure. In the end, there are too many remarks and your friend might get upset by taking the criticism personally. You should be careful not to accidentally hurt someone’s feelings when trying to help them by applying professional skills.

Excessive criticism, version 2

Is it just me, or you also feel an urge to tell everyone around you about inconsistencies and glaring mistakes you notice in newspapers, billboards, and advertisements? Something tells me that not everyone would be happy to hear your critical monologue about missing comma or wrong use of tenses. Even though this can be a useful habit at work, it does not have the same status in private life.

These are practically all professional habits that found their firm ground in my everyday life. I am sure you all have something to add to the topic, so please, share your experience in comments.


2 thoughts on “Professional habits in personal life

  1. Nice article! (Relax. I’m not going to excessively criticize it. ☺)

    More good habits: seeing people as unique individuals, not as “types” – a skill gained from doing audience analysis – and tailoring our spoken and written messages for them.

    Bad habit: maybe I’m a bit too scrupulous in my informal writing. I mean, perfect parallelism and subject-verb agreement probably aren’t necessary when dashing off a quick email to family.


    • solomiia snihur says:

      Thank you for your thoughts!

      Indeed, adjusting the language depending on the people we communicate with happens quite often, and makes the communication easier, hence more effective. Not only psychologists know different approaches to people 🙂


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