At we’ve figured out the algorithm to unlocking the hustler’s work ethic – passion + habits + dependability, and a genuine determination to strive for excellence.

Mark Zuckerberg often talks about the importance of starting with the problem you want to solve and not starting with the decision of wanting to build a company. This is a good illustration that those who are successful usually have the drive for social change to fall back on, rather than relying on an egotistical urge of ‘I built this’ and pining for the billions to be. Some could argue that it’s still a passion, a different kind of passion; but for those of us who sit on someone else’s hierarchy, the authentic drive for change is what helps us welcome each Monday with open arms.

Agreed, it is totally cliché. But if you see value in your role no matter how large or small it is, run with it – aim to be the change your company has been waiting for and you will grind it out like the hustler you were born to be.

Studies have shown habits construct most of our everyday actions, not our actual decision-making. It’s strange to think that while you are in the middle of a habit, your neurological activity is on its demise. This isn’t to say that current habits can’t be changed, replaced or controlled – you just need to be aware of what works for your work routine and be strategic in your pursuit of habits.

  • Persistence
    Persistence is key to a reliable work ethic. I found that when I’ve hit a wall at work, I hit it hard; and sometimes it’s extremely difficult to pick up where I left off. When I became aware of this ‘habit’, I tried measuring myself in terms of how long I could work effectively. I trialed this for an array of tasks and projects and found a snack here and there or taking a minute to chat with a colleague about the latest Game of Thrones episode, made all the difference in how long it took my productivity to slow down or (depending on the tediousness of the task,) give up all together. Measurement has been a great benchmark in my experience for improvement.
  • Focus
    Distractions are the soul focus-killer. To increase your selective attention, it’s worth switching off your phone, turning off work email notifications and closing all social media tabs in your browser. It’s also okay to send your team a quick email to say you’re ‘offline’ for an allocated time period, because those ‘hey, just a quick one’ conversation starters are never quick, and half an hour later you’re still at square one.
  • If in doubt, do it now
    I’ve always admired those who receive mind-numbing tasks (MNT) and instead of staring out the window wishing for better things, they actually get it done right off the bat. It’s the art of cracking the whip on procrastination before the habit takes place. When I was on the wrong end of a MNT email, I groaned and dragged my sorry self to make a coffee. After calculating that this 10 minutes of procrastination per MNT email equaled to roughly 100 minutes per week, I decided to remind myself ‘do it now’ and to minimise minor tasks to zero if possible. It’s worked out well. My lists have steadily decreased and I’m getting more done in a small period of time. 

Your dependability relies on your consistent performance and your ability to stay true to your word. Take the time to be prepared for meetings, deliver your work on schedule and be on time. Employers are more likely to perceive you as an employee whom they can turn to when your work ethic is clearly visible.   

Lastly, don’t be afraid to strive for excellence. It comes down to the combination of authentic passion, construction of productivity habits and reliability in the workplace that makes you the hustler people want to be and fear at the same time.