5 Tips for Improving Work Ethic

Without a strong work ethic as your foundation, working towards any personal, professional, or educational goal can easily become overwhelming and lead to failure.  In addiction recovery and in the real world, a strong work ethic can get you through challenging times and help you enjoy yourself in the process. A great work ethic doesn’t always come naturally, but there are a few steps you can take to improve motivation and continue to hold yourself accountable to your goals.  

Put Your Health First

You simply won’t be able to focus on your career or your education if you don’t first focus on your physical and mental health.  By taking the time to assess your health needs, you can determine how to go about improving your health in the short-term so you can get back to work as soon as possible.  If you don’t already exercise regularly, now is a great time to start. Physical exercise can help you lose weight, improve energy, and elevate your mood. When you look and feel good, you perform better cognitively and establish higher quality connections with those around you.  It is also important to take a serious look at your mental health. Do you feel anxious or depressed? Do you drink or use drugs to cope with unwanted emotions? Your state of mind heavily impacts your work and academic performance, so be sure to get the help you need to care for your mental health. 

Start Your Day Strong

The way you start your day has a surprising amount of power over how the rest of your day turns out.  Studies have found that people who make their beds every morning experience increased productivity, lower stress levels, and elevated mood.  This likely has less to do with the bed-making and more to do with the impact of starting your day with even the tiniest sense of accomplishment.  Doing something positive in the morning for which you will reap the rewards later, such as a morning run or a few minutes of meditation, will set you on a path to productivity for the rest of your day.  The activity you choose to boost your energy levels and mood may vary, but you should always wake up early enough to get ready to start your day without having to rush out the door or speed through traffic to get to work on time.  A steadily paced, productive, stress-free morning is ideal for boosting your work ethic.  

Eliminate Distractions

In today’s world, you need to make a conscious effort to stay on track and avoid becoming distracted at school or work.  We all carry limitless computers in our pockets in the form of smartphones and can feel the constant pull of social media begging us to log on and scroll, scroll, scroll.  Try putting your phone in another room or turning it off entirely when it is time to get down to business. If you are working on your computer, avoid having multiple windows open and attempting to multitask between personal conversations and professional or academic tasks.  Pretend it’s the ‘90s and let your computer serve only one purpose at a time.  

Write Down Your Goals, and Review Them Daily

The act of putting pen to paper can be extremely powerful in turning thoughts into reality.  Write down a few accomplishments you would like to see come to fruition at school or work, and place your list somewhere you will see it every day.  We all have hard days where we feel tired and less motivated than usual, but by keeping your eye on the prize and reminding yourself of the ways in which your hard work will pay off, you can turn even the most difficult day into a productive one.

Learn from Mistakes

Mistakes happen to even the most successful and productive people.  You may forget about a deadline at work or score lower on a school exam than you had hoped, but the important aspect of the experience is pushing forward and not allowing a temporary failure to lead to crippling discouragement.  Even in the case of addiction recovery, excessive amounts of shame and guilt in the face of a slip-up can become counterproductive and lead to yet another relapse. If you obsess over your mistakes, you won’t have any mental room for creativity or innovation, which will make a strong work ethic even more difficult to maintain.  Forgive yourself, learn from your misstep, and move on. You may even find a way to prevent someone else from making the same mistake in the future, or discover a better, more efficient way of doing things. Look for opportunity when failure presents itself in your life because it always will. It doesn’t have to mean that you are a bad worker, student, or person.  


Part of addiction recovery is fostering a strong work ethic in the process itself, as well as learning how to apply that same motivation to school and work.  If you believe you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At Burning Tree West, you will find a team of compassionate, knowledgeable professionals who specialize in helping young adults struggling with addiction and their families.  Here, our clients tackle their addictions head-on and harness the power to restructure their lives in a way that fosters lasting sobriety. We believe that practicing recovery doesn’t have to mean an end to educational or career goals, but instead can become a fundamental part of a successful and fulfilling life.  For more information on how we can help, call us now at  972-962-7374