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The Three Keys to a Strong Work Ethic

Going about our daily lives, navigating work, school, and other responsibilities involves a constant flow of decisions, and how we make those decisions can depend heavily on the work ethic instilled in us as children.

So many questions on a day-to-day basis come back to one of the best teachers I have ever had – my mom. I have learned a lot from her over the years, but can now reflect and appreciate the importance of the work ethic she has instilled.

1. Time management is a critical skill

Comedienne Luisa Omielan once said, ‘You have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé.’

Everyone wishes they had more time. We all have those days that don’t seem to have a light at the end of the tunnel, but that’s the key to prioritizing. When you start to see your day spinning out of control, here’s what my mom would tell you to do:

  • STOP!
  • Make a list of everything you need to do
  • Prioritize the list by putting the items in a number order or importance (i.e. 1 is the most important and 10 is the least)
  • Casually begin accomplishing the items on the list

Not everything will get done every time, and that’s okay as long as there are no hard deadlines for what wasn’t completed (those items should have been of higher importance).  Just think, if Beyoncé can be a singer, songwriter, dancer, wife, mother, role model, and so much more, all in one day, 24 hours is plenty of time for you.

2. Punctuality and promptness speak volumes

Better late than never, but never late is better.

Being on time seems like such a simple task, but can require great effort in some cases. My mom taught me to take every appointment on your calendar as one of importance. Imagine if we treated every day like Christmas morning. We would not only wake up 3 hours earlier than we do every other day of the week, but with additional excitement – no coffee needed.

Promptness is a respected quality that can speak volumes to those around you. The difference between being 10 minutes early and 10 minutes late can mean an early start on a test, which can give you more time to review your answers at the end, which can mean catching mistakes, which can mean a better grade, etc. etc. Give yourself more time by being on time.

3. Use your words

Above all, my mother emphasized that communication is the key to success. Mistakes happen, and you will get frustrated, but it’s how you verbalize those feelings that matter most. It’s not easy, but by using your words rather than your actions or tone, you’re more likely to be heard and understood. When others see your capability to convey your thoughts in a professional manner, they’ll treat you with the same respect.

These values have held true throughout my educational and professional career, and it’s imperative that every child have a sense of ethics instilled as early as possible. When a person has a strong work ethic, they work honestly and with a concern for the people they impact.

So how do you instill ethics within your students? By making sure they show up on time? That they prepare for tests? They respect other people’s territories? Ensuring that they deliver what they have promised to deliver on time?

Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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Brittany Marklin

Brittany Marklin

Brittany Marklin is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a community manager for K12. She coordinates all K12 student contests and connects with families who pursue online education. She attended George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, with a minor in tourism and events management. Brittany spent her first five years at K12 on the social media team where she aided with content and strategy for multiple channels, and helped construct K12’s user-generated content site, “What’s Your Story?” When she’s not working, Brittany loves spending time with her husband and daughter in North Carolina.

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