Working hard is an essential requirement to be successful in your career. It gives you a sense of achievement and joy. However, working hard may not come easily all the time to all the people and may require some conscious efforts from your end. In this article, we discuss why it is important to work hard and provide some actionable tips on how to work hard for a successful career.
Why is it important to work hard?
It is important to work hard because it plays an important role in the success of your career. Here are some major benefits associated with hard work:
- Hard work contributes to your success and achievement.
- Working hard promotes your personal and professional development.
- Working hard earns you respect, since you set an example for others to follow.
- Working hard gives you a sense of achievement, fulfilment and self-satisfaction.
- Working hard helps you stay positive and confident.
- Hard work makes you more determined, responsible and mature.
- Hard work helps you earn resources to fulfil your dreams.
- Society benefits from your hard work.
- Working hard ensures that you make the best use of your time, which would pass anyway, even if you were to sit idle.
- Working hard prevents you from being engaged in useless, trivial things.
Tips on how to work hard
Here are some useful tips and ideas to help you work hard for a successful career:
1. Do something you love
While choosing a career, it is essential that you choose something that interests you. When you do something you love, the motivation comes from within and you automatically become more productive. Often we get stuck in a job we do not enjoy doing or stop enjoying after a certain point in time. Irrespective of whatever compulsions and reasons you have for it, it may become extremely difficult to work hard at something you do not find meaningful. A career change could be the right thing to do in such cases after making a reassessment of your career choices.
Try choosing a career that you would enjoy for the rest of your life, or at least for a substantial part of it. It would give you a sense of fulfilment and your work would feel more like pursuing a hobby rather than doing something to earn a livelihood. Visualise a career where every night you would look forward to getting up the next morning and rushing to your office. The excitement of the job would push you to face new challenges and learn new skills.
However, it may take several years before you discover your real passion in the form of a career. Making a conscious effort towards it may shorten this process.
Read more: Guide: How to Choose a Career
2. Keep yourself motivated
Motivation can provide the energy and commitment required to work harder towards your goal. There are basically two types of motivation – intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation drives you from within, whereas extrinsic motivation involves a desire to earn a reward from an external source. For example, if you are doing something because it gives you mental peace or a sense of fulfilment, it is intrinsic motivation that is driving you. On the other hand, if you are doing something because you would get monetary compensation on successful completion of the task, you are said to be extrinsically motivated.
Both types of motivation can drive you to work hard. Irrespective of what your company offers, you can look for ways to motivate yourself. For example, think about how your project would contribute to the community or how it would impact an existing product or technology. When you realise the meaning and purpose of your work, you would be intrinsically motivated to give your best.
To motivate yourself extrinsically, you can think about the ways your hard work can benefit you. For example, visualise the luxuries you can afford when you become successful or the promotion you can expect when you consistently outperform.
3. Set your career goals
Goal setting helps you determine the end result you want to achieve from your career. Once you know what you want, working towards it becomes much easier. Having a clear career goal keeps you focused and motivated to work hard for its achievement. However, ensure that the job you choose is compatible with your career goals and values.
You can make your goals more effective by following the concept of SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that indicates five important features, namely specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Define your goals in a clear and specific manner. Consider quantifying your goals in order to make them measurable. Ensure that your goals are realistic and possible to achieve, considering the skills and resources you have. The smaller, short-term goals you set should be relevant and related to your larger, long-term goals. Similarly, the final long-term goals should be such that their achievement results in something significant and meaningful for you. It is also important to set a deadline within which you would want to achieve your goals (making them time-bound).
Read more: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples
4. Prepare an action plan
Set your career goals and have a well-documented action plan to achieve them. An action plan breaks down the process of achieving your goals into a series of simple tasks. It removes all the potential confusion and outlines a clear path to achieve your goals. Each task has a certain deadline attached to it. Thus, an action plan prompts you to work harder to complete a project or achieve your goals within a predetermined timeframe.
Sometimes, while working towards a goal, we may face a challenging situation that may dampen our zeal to complete a task on schedule. An action plan can prevent such loss of motivation as you would consider the potential obstacles and come up with an effective solution at the time of writing the plan. An action plan also arranges the tasks in the order of priority, which makes you more productive.
5. Manage your time effectively
Time management is the art of allocating your available time between different tasks and activities based on their priority. It increases your efficiency and helps you achieve a better work-life balance. Effective time management also helps you meet deadlines, provide high-quality work, remove unwanted stress and maintain healthy workplace relationships.
Here are some common tools and techniques you can use to manage your time better:
- Prioritise your tasks: Perform the more important tasks first and the less significant ones later.
- Schedule your tasks: Work on the challenging tasks that need more concentration during such hours of the day when your energy level is high.
- Make lists: Prepare to-do lists of important tasks on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
- Use online planners: Use online calendars, planners and scheduling forms to manage the workflow of large projects.
- Delegate tasks: Distribute the tasks among team members based on their level and area of expertise.
- Declutter your workspace: Organise your workspace and remove all the unwanted items so that you can easily retrieve the information you need.
6. Accompany positive people
The type of people you accompany can have a significant bearing on your attitude towards work. If you spend time with coworkers who are great at work, you will get the inspiration to work hard. On the contrary, if you associate with people who consistently indulge in gossip, it is likely to impact your work negatively. Hence, keep yourself in the company of positive people so that you can approach your work with a positive mindset.
7. Take short breaks between work
Working continuously can make you feel tired and inactive, ultimately affecting your productivity. On the other hand, taking short breaks can refresh and rejuvenate you, enabling you to remain focused and work faster. Hence, consider taking sufficient breaks while working so that you continue to remain active throughout the day. For example, depending on your office rules and work policy, you can take a short, five to seven minute break every one hour.
8. Remove distractions
Distractions and interruptions while working affect your productivity negatively since it takes time and effort to refocus back on work. The quality of your work may also deteriorate because of the divided attention. Hence, remove all the distractions and stay focused on your work to as much an extent as possible. Close your email unless you need it for your work. Similarly, switch off your mobile phone or keep it away from work.
9. Take care of your health
In addition to willpower, working hard also requires physical energy. Hence, to be able to work hard, you need to take good care of your health. Get enough sleep and maintain a healthy diet. Include yoga, meditation or some form of physical exercise in your daily routine.