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8 tips for improving your work ethic

By 25/04/2017August 31st, 2023Personal Development

We’ve all been there. That feeling of really, really not wanting to go into the office of a morning. It cripples productivity, raises stress levels and makes us unhappy.

What does a poor work ethic mean?

Unless it stems from deeper issues, the feeling of not wanting to go to work is often the result of a poor work ethic. If you’ve experienced it yourself recently, that doesn’t make you a bad person or employee – a poor work ethic usually arrives subconsciously and is something you’ll have little control over or forewarning of its impending arrival.

Thankfully, there are some methods you can employ to improve your work ethic dramatically, and they’re not quite as tricky as you might think.

To help you get out of that rut and back, fighting fit for a productive time in the office, we’ve decided to list our top eight tips for changing your mindset and developing a strong work ethic.

1. Start with your body – treat it right

A healthy body will help you build a healthy approach to work because the two are intrinsically linked.

If you feel lethargic in the morning, the last thing you’re going to want to do is to spring out of bed and head to the office. You’re far more likely to continually hit the ‘snooze’ button and curse the fact you even have a job.

Lethargy can be a result of not enough sleep and poor levels of exercise, therefore if the feeling just described is something you’re all too familiar with, it’s time to go on something of a permanent health kick. And that doesn’t mean ditching all the treats that make you happy – just the process of regularly exercising and eating more healthily.

Walk when you’d normally take the car and swap those regular naughty treats for fruit and glasses of water – you’ll be surprised how much more up for it you’ll feel each morning.

2. Eliminate as many distractions as possible

How many times do you check your email each day? What about social media? Is your Facebook feed something you access every five minutes to check in on what your friends and family are up to?

We live in a world full of distractions. Multiple forms of content, relentless notifications and devices capable of connecting us immediately to the Internet are everywhere and seemingly impossible to drag yourself away from.

That’s true – unless you can call on your reserves of willpower. Distractions will divert your attention from what matters, and ensure that you have a limited focus on work tasks. In turn, that’ll reduce your emotional connection with the business and negatively impact your work ethic.

Check your email only two or three times a day, turn off notifications and leave social media for the moments when you’re sat on the sofa with nothing better to do.

3. Measure your ethic against others

If you’re forever cursing your colleague’s ability to practically skip into work ready for the day ahead, why not measure your own performance against theirs?

Clearly, something is different. It might be their mindset, attitude towards their role or lifestyle, but if you can be brave enough to measure your performance against others, you’ll quickly suss out where you need to improve.

This can extend far beyond work colleagues, too. For example, if your partner appears to be having the time of their life at work, yet you can barely muster the strength to log onto your computer for the first time each morning, ask them how they’re doing it. You never know – you might just learn a thing or two.

4. Set your own standard of excellence

We all need something to aim towards in life, and nowhere is this more relevant than at work. If you can set your own standards for what constitutes a great day in the office, you’ll reach your goals quicker and be far more inspired to do so.

In tip three, we described the benefits of measuring your working ethic against that of colleagues and members of your family, but you need to be careful not to follow their own standards of excellence if they don’t match your own.

You’re the author of your career, therefore set yourself goals and a standard of work that will help you reach them that you know you’re capable of.

5. Be dependable

If you promise to complete a task or project – do so. Get it done on time (or before, if possible), and if you feel things are slipping, be honest with those for whom you promised completion date.

Being dependable at work will earn you respect and increase your levels of satisfaction considerably. If people know they can rely on you to get the job done, you’ll be rewarded with their gratitude, and there are few things that can push you on to achieve more than a heartfelt “thank you”.

6. Work a flexible day

Working a strict nine-to-five isn’t for everyone, and if you find yourself regularly flagging at 3 PM, or uninspired until mid-morning, you’ll probably benefit from working a more flexible day.

This, of course, depends on whether or not your employer will allow flexible working, but if they do (or if you’re the boss), being a little more dynamic with the hours you work will help you raise productivity levels and increase your desire to get the job done.

Advances in web-based technology have made this form of working more possible than ever before and the ability to work when you feel most inspired and stop when you can’t see the wood for the trees is liberating.

7. Start your day strong and get to work on time

Do you regularly arrive to work a minute or two late? If so, your work ethic clearly needs some fine-tuning.

Many people mistake late arrivals for laziness or a lack of desire, but that isn’t always the case. Chances are, you want to get to work on time, but something is preventing you from doing so. It might be a collection of the issues described above, or something more closely related to job satisfaction, but whatever it is, you need to identify the root cause and work on a solution.

A great day at work starts with a strong start to the day itself. A black coffee, a thirty-minute blast on the exercise bike and some push-ups might do it for you, or you might be the sort of person who benefits from a morning of getting the mundane stuff (email, to-do list management, etc) out of the way.

Whatever method you choose to get your day off to the best possible start – stick to it, because you’ll find late arrivals soon become a thing of the past.

8. Don’t let mistakes ruin your progress

You’ll slip up – probably daily. We all do. However, the people with the best work ethics are capable of picking themselves up swiftly after their mistakes, learning from them and moving on.

If you allow mistakes to ruin your progress at work by occupying every thought, your desire to get the job done will quickly evaporate.

Great things will happen if you embrace failure. No one has ever achieved greatness without slipping up at multiple stages along the way, and you’re no different.

We’re imperfect, but that’s what makes us brilliant.

Wrapping up

Unless you’re particularly spritely in the morning, it’s unlikely that you’ll literally jump out of bed and head to work full of an endless supply of energy, but if you follow our tips above, you’ll greatly increase your ability to foster a healthy approach to work.

Whenever you feel uninspired by your role, but you know it’s something more superficial than job dissatisfaction, check that you’re doing all you can to improve your work ethic. As we’ve demonstrated today, it really isn’t that difficult at all.

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