Everyone wants to impress their boss and be the best version of themselves at work, but sometimes we lose focus and can fall behind. Here are nine ways to improve your work ethic and get the boss to notice.
1. Be Punctual
Sure, the studies may say that being late makes you more optimistic and laid back, but it doesn’t look too good in your boss’ eyes. If you’re arriving late every morning because you slap that snooze button one too many times, it may be a sign that you need to get to bed earlier.
Arriving at work on time doesn’t just impress your boss, but means you’ll be perceived in a more positive light. You don’t have to arrive early, just start to arrive on time.
2. Make Work A Priority…At Work
When you’re at work, do your work. Genius, right? Rather than having Facebook open in one tab and your work in the other, remove all distractions from your workstation. Sarina Russo has the perfect advice for those who need to stay focused on the job.
“We’re not saying you should bring your work home with you, but if you’re at work, you should stay focused. Save the social scene for Friday drinks, and keep your head focused on the job at hand. Work harder on yourself than on your job – become an above average person. Two people can be selling the same product, but one sells more than the other. Why? Because one has the magic and one does not. The magic is not in the product. It’s the magic inside the individual – the passion, the enthusiasm, the above average handshake, the ‘you’re special’ smile and the walk of a millionaire. These small but important attributes give credibility and conviction to your persona and create success.”
As Sarina says so pertinently:
“There is nothing that will improve your work ethic like success.”
3. Get Plenty Of Sleep
No one wants to fall asleep at their desk, even if their job is exceedingly boring. A great way to improve your work ethic is by getting enough sleep.
If you’re getting an average of eight hours of sleep a night and you’re still waking up feeling like a wet chicken nugget, your issue may be your mattress or pillow. A good pillow should offer the right support for your head and neck, preventing stiff muscles and headaches. If your mattress is feeling a little lumpy, you can always make it feel like new with a mattress topper. They can offer a whole new feeling of support to your body, without having to spend a fortune on a whole new mattress. With the right support comes better sleep, and with better sleep comes better work ethic. If you’re not convinced, read this article about why sleep is so important.
Sometimes it’s not the mattress that’s the issue, but the bedroom in itself. If you can’t sleep at night, take a look around you. Do you spend hours on your phone or laptop before you sleep? If so, stop it. Keep your phone away from your line of vision before you go to bed, and if you’re in need of a distraction, read a book. Keep a glass of water by your bed, your sheets nice and clean, and make sure your bedroom feels comfortable. This may mean painting the walls of your room a more relaxing colour (such as pastel blues or light greys) and getting yourself a new bed head to tie in with the theme.
4. Always Try To Improve
You’re never going to get better at what you do unless you try. Here are some tips for self-improvement:
- Don’t work harder but smarter and better!
- Write things down! Clearly.
- Nothing is silly/stupid. If it is, turn that to something unique.
- Be independent. A decision made alone is the best decision.
- Mute your inner critic, that inner voice! It’s just noise.
- Meditate. Not rest.
- Believe in yourself. Believe – and you shall receive!
You know what they say: Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better, and your better, best!
5. Recognise When You’re Wrong
One of the biggest issues we all face is upholding our pride. Improving in your field means opening up and learning new things. This comes with a price because we can’t be right all the time. You can never improve if you deny when you’re wrong. Improving in anything is a learning process, and as you move forward, sometimes you have to take a few steps back. I know this sounds all philosophical, but it’s important to remember that recognising when you’re wrong can help you learn and improve along the way.
Leila Khan from Life Is Today Academy offers her advice to improve your work ethic.
“The first thing to do is to ask yourself what your long term objective is at work. By shining a light on this, you’ll find the inspiration to keep going through the inevitable hurdles, obstacles and issues that manifest. Look at what your current work ethic is, recognise what is effective so far and do more of that. This will help you recognise what isn’t working and those are the ‘spaces’ to improve on.”
Ms. Khan gives specific advice to help you get more out of your working hours.
- Understanding yourself: Ask yourself whether you are afraid of failure or success and check in to see if there is a pattern of behaviour that requires some positive changes
- Be careful of over-working: Be committed to working smart, not hard. Burnout creeps up slowly over time and this is why working hard in not an effective long-term work ethic.
- Look after yourself: I’ve found that you must take care of your physical well-being and mental health by being smart. Look at how you work best and aim work at these optimum times. So, for example, do you prefer to work out at the gym before work, clear your emails, be creative, take a late lunch, take regular breaks and walks to break up your day etc.
- Be open to change: Ask yourself, what results am I looking to get and what’s getting in the way of me making that happen? Work backwards to change habits such as procrastination, lack of confidence, feeling like a ‘fraud’ etc.
6. Use Your Time Wisely
When you’re at work, you should allocate a specific time to each task. If you find yourself spending a lot of time on something that’s not very important or high priority, set a goal to have the job finished by a certain time. This helps maintain focus on the job at hand, but if you stay organised, allocate time and make a checklist, you can work harder and get those small jobs out of the way.
7. Avoid Excuses
When it comes to improving your work ethic, you have to stop making excuses. Jonathan Cawte from the Executive Athlete offers his advice for those who need to stop the excuses and start making a change.
“Healthy workers are more productive. Improving your health has a clear financial benefit. Yet, not every executive is willing to buy-in. The executive who is too busy to exercise has made the decision that an hour spent at the office is more valuable than an hour spent at the gym. They don’t realise the return on the investment of an hour of exercise can’t be calculated in time. The value of transforming your health is calculated in moments not minutes.”
Cawte is passionate about the ROI ideology and speaks about its application in our commitment towards exercise. He examines the different ‘trade-offs’ we make in life based on what we value and how this is mediated by fear.
“This is part of my life ambition; to quantify the ROI of exercise. Part of the “I” or investment in exercise, is of course time. This limitation is real but often amplified to hide the real barrier. Often the real reason the executive is unwilling to buy-in is that they are afraid, they are afraid they can’t do it. That it will expose how far out of their depth they really are. When the executive is afraid of being exposed they dive into the one thing they know – more work. They believe in a simple equation – more time at work equals more results. But the executive should not be looking for more results; they are required to create the right result. In their role doing more of the same can lead to business failure. To achieve high levels of successful executives often must try something new. This is where the “R”, the return from exercise begins.”
Cawte asks, in what another element of your life beyond exercise do you get to try something new? Where do you practice to ignore self-doubt and just go for it? Can you think of a task where you display unwavering commitment for something you have never done before?
“Trying something new, letting go of self-doubt and displaying unwavering commitment are all skills of an executive. They all happen in a moment. They can’t be learned by hours upon hours of sitting behind a desk. They are skills that you can learn in exercise. Like any skill, they are improved with practice and repetition. The more you practice them in your training the easier it is to replicate at work.”
So what exactly does this mean? And how do we learn to value things that are hard to quantify?
“When calculating the ROI of exercise, does the executive who spends an hour at the gym benefit from increased productivity throughout the day that covers the hour away from the desk? Maybe not, but at the same time, the executive can’t afford to. Like any investment, it needs to be considered over the long term. The healthy executive is playing a bigger and more meaningful game. They are not looking at the productivity over an hour. They are looking to win the key moments with each team member or the direction of a project. In their own career, this doesn’t just produce more results, it creates the right results.”
8. Keep Organised
Staying organised is hard if you’re not born with the gene. If you’re challenged in the organisation department, start by writing a simple to-do list. Check off every task that you complete, and make sure you keep adding to it. Not only will you work through your task list, you’ll feel incredibly satisfied in seeing how much work you actually did that day!
Staying organised also means preparing your bag every day, getting yourself sorted the night before. This means you can avoid the mad rush in the morning as you try to find your other shoe whilst brushing your teeth. This can help get you to the office on time, which as previously mentioned, means you can get more work done. Eureka!
9. Set Goals & Stick To Them
When planning your goals, make them realistic. Think of them like your New Year resolutions. You have to be hopeful, but realistic. If you’re at work and you have a task that’s worrying you, set a goal that you’ll finish by the end of the day. It’s a goal that is not only achievable but motivational. Business travel and expense management company, Concur has the perfect advice for those who need to find the balance between work and life.
“Start New year’s resolutions before the holidays. That’s right, start those New Year’s resolutions at the end of the year, rather than the beginning of the year. The holidays are often when unhealthy habits either start or are heightened. So instead of ending the year on a downside, end it on an upside and keep the momentum going through the new year. Consider starting every morning with a workout or yoga, or try learning a new skill. While bringing some healthy habits to your life, it can also produce a much-needed routine that can be hard to come by around the holidays.”
Find out more about Concur by visiting their website.
In the end, it doesn’t have to take a lot, but building your work ethic can make a drastic change to the way you see yourself and the way other’s see you. Who knows, if you apply these tips to your daily work routine, a promotion may be in sight!