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I thought I had a great work ethic.  I worked hard.  I ended every day exhausted. I felt stressed about work and had a hard time unplugging from my day.  I wouldn’t stop until either the work was done or I would collapse. I thought, “I have to do more, but there is no time”. I would run this race every day trying to keep up. I always wanted to be doing more than I was.

When I said yes to something, then I worked long hours to get it done and I usually did a good job on it. So, colleagues would ask me for more. I was a people pleaser so I tried to say yes as often as possible. I got burnt out. Confession time. When I was feeling burnt out I would procrastinate on my commitments. Then near the deadline, I stepped up my game and got it done. (Weekends and evenings and lost sleep). No one at work would realize that I was suffering, but my husband knew. I knew.

Do you think this is a strong work ethic? I used to think so.

I hired a coach to help me be more productive and was incredibly insulted when she told me I needed to improve my work ethic.  I got mad.  How could I work even harder?

But working harder is not what she meant. It turns out I got it wrong.

Most people have a terrible work ethic and they have no idea. 

Corporate jobs often have a culture of rewarding being busy, working long hours, and being the hero that gets it done at all costs.  Now that many of us are working at home, we don’t know how to shut off at the end of the day.  For workers who don’t work at home, the demand is much higher due to being short-staffed. We never learned how to say no, stop and rest and it is making burnout worse.

So what’s the solution?

Cultivate a true work ethic. A true work ethic means: 

  • You work hard when you are working.
  • You rest hard when you are resting
  • You play hard when you are playing.
  • You Focus on one thing at a time.
  • You care about quality.
  • You STOP working in order to rest and refresh yourself.
  • You don’t make more commitments than you can keep.
  • You say no to some things so you can say yes to what’s important to you

People with a fantastic work ethic know that this is the only way to keep up the pace for the long haul.

This is the best news!  It means that to have an amazing work ethic you need to stop working, relax, play and have downtime.

I know that this is very hard for a lot of us.

Here is a checklist I want you to refer to in order to create a great work ethic.

  • Know what’s important to you
  • Allot the time to complete that work to the best of your ability. 
  • When it is time to get going, get going all in.
  • Disable pings, text alerts, email alerts – anything that distracts you from the task at hand. 
  • Complete the work in the time you have set aside for it. 
  • Move on to the next commitment you made to yourself when it’s time (even if the commitment is “take a break”. )
  • Honor your commitments with the best quality you can.   
  • Never make a commitment and then decide not to keep it.  Say yes upfront or say no upfront.
  • Plan ahead for the unexpected so that it doesn’t derail your original plan. 
  • When you don’t follow the advice above, be incredibly kind to yourself. Be curious about why it was hard for you this time and decide what you will do next time instead.

By doing this, you will teach yourself that if you make a plan, you will achieve it. You will learn to trust yourself completely, deliver good results at work, and you will have time for play and rest.

That is the best work ethic. 

It is the kind of work ethic I learned to strive for from my coach.  I am still learning and working on it.  It is the kind of work ethic that I can help you cultivate for yourself.  Schedule time with me to find out more

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