How to be consistent in your work: 4 fail-proof tips that will make you successful
Imagine you woke up and found yourself inside a steeply curved structure that drops off into blackness—the edge of an abyss. Like in the movie Curve, released in 2021.
As you open your eyes, you hear big waves crashing. Your body is positioned in a bend in the structure, and your right leg is bent back under your body.
You look down and notice your left index finger is bloodied. You move your right leg slightly from under you, but as you try to straighten it, you slip down closer to the edge.
If you push yourself up a little, with your leg still under you, your back pushes up against a steep, high wall, and your raw fingertips leave behind blotches of blood from the roughness of the wall.
You quickly realize that you’re stuck in the bend in the wall, unable to climb out or see what lies at the bottom of the abyss.
The truth is…
What a horrific situation to be in.
But, thankfully… You’re not in it!
You may be wondering: “What has this frightening movie got to do with consistency?”
The answer? Choices.
Annoyed, I searched the Internet for the lessons to take away from the movie Curve but couldn’t find any.
“What does the director of the film want the audience to feel besides fear and terror?” I asked myself.
As I watched the short film again, two thoughts came to mind:
#1 Thank goodness I’m not this woman.
#2 She has limited choices. And neither one ends well for her!
I want to ask you a question…
Have you been faced with choices or life-changing opportunities that could’ve ended well for you but didn’t pursue them?
The worst part about the movie Curve is that the audience doesn’t know what happens to the woman. The movie ends with her still stuck in the bend in the wall.
Did she stay in the bend and die? Or did she jump off the edge and survive?
Or, if she jumped, did she hit the bottom of the structure and plummet to her death?
Maybe seawater lay at the bottom of the abyss, and fishermen rescued her.
Astoundingly, we’ll never know what happened to the poor woman.
If you were in this position, this is an unimaginable situation you couldn’t control. A nightmare.
How YOU respond to life is within your control.
The truth is, today you’ll be faced with hundreds of choices.
My question to you is…
Will you take advantage of them?
You may be the go-to person at your company. Or, maybe you’re still working on your reputation as Mr. or Mrs. Fix-it, the office’s problem solver—the one next in line for a raise.
When you achieve a work goal, you improve your life and those around you, like your family and children.
For example, if you arrive at work every day at 07:30 am, but your work performance doesn’t profit in some way… What would you have really lost?
In fact, there’s a high probability that your decision to get to work early will impact your job in a positive way.
Or… If you start a business and every day put in time and effort—what do you gain if your company is successful?
That’s right… EVERYTHING!
Money and happiness—this is what being consistent will produce in your life.
The importance of consistency in your job
I know what you’re thinking: “How do I stay consistent if I struggle with sticking to goals?”
According to best selling author Marie Forleo, it’s important to “keep an eye on your why”—why do you want to be consistent in your work?
Just completing your daily work tasks (and not getting fired!) isn’t enough motivation to stay consistent…
You must aim for something. More money? Recognition? Or possibly a promotion.
But waiting six months for a raise or until the end of the year for a promotion, won’t motivate you today and tomorrow.
Can you stick to being consistent for even two months without receiving any payoff? No.
The benefits of being consistent will catch up with you in time. In three months, you won’t be able to escape the tangible rewards. The only problem is, months or even weeks without reward could cause you to slack off. Still, you’ll need to wait a month or three before you—and others—see the fruit of your efforts.
You. Need. Incentives.
1. Reward yourself
For many people, the best reward is people acknowledging their efforts (and money… lots of it!)
But until someone notices that you’re reliable and steady, there are at least 155 ways to reward yourself when you achieve your work goals.
And you should reward yourself for every goal you achieve by showering yourself with rewards at the end of every successful week or when someone notices your work ethic. Food rewards are great. And shopping rewards… even better!
If staying consistent means frequent bursts of recognition or financial reward, then it will be easy to be consistent. But if being consistent means putting in hours of hard work and labor—with no reward or incentive—then consistency will be a chore.
So, how will you reward yourself when your boss tells you you’re epic?
(Psst… I heard Nordstrom is having a six-months sale. Ssshhh!!!)
2. Establish a routine or set a schedule
Imagine it’s Monday morning…
Do you know the first thing you must do when you get to the office?
Unless your boss or supervisor is renowned for springing unscheduled meetings on you, your calendar should dictate your first move.
Filing. Paperwork. Contracts. Meetings. Or maybe you have ten things to do and don’t know which one to do first… schedule it!
Prioritize the most important tasks and leave the other tasks for later in the day (but not until tomorrow!)
The aim of being consistent is to adopt predictable, repeatable behavior that makes you efficient in your job. And this means never waiting for the last minute to tackle a task or project. If an assignment will take you five days to complete, do 20 percent of the work every day leading up to the due date. In other words, bite off a chunk of the project every day. If you wait until Thursday to squeeze in 80 percent of the work, you’re setting yourself up for failure. And if you tend to procrastinate, ask yourself this question: Will NOT doing the tasks at the right time give you a better future?
To put it differently, will talking to your colleague about her weekend, browsing social media during working hours, or escaping the office frequently for early lunches, make your life better tomorrow? You know the answer.
When you stick with something for 21 days, it becomes a habit. And the same is true with work. Yes, you will have days that don’t go as planned but don’t quit. When you fall off the wagon, remember that being consistent doesn’t mean being perfect. You’re still human.
3. Do what you love
If you’re not in the right line of work—following your passion or what you’re good at—achieving consistency will be painful.
For example, if you’re an accountant trying to be a writer, don’t be surprised if you have nothing on the page still in three days from now.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”Steve Jobs
In the beginning, when you’re not yet being recognized for being consistent, self-discipline and your desire to do your job better will cause you to persevere.
In the end… you can’t be consistent at something you dislike doing.
4. Work smarter, not harder
You need the right tools and technology to do your work properly, but find shortcuts without cutting on quality. Think smart.
For example, if you must give your boss a list of prospective customers, don’t type out each name when you could export the names in one click.
“Although it’s admirable to be ambitious and hardworking, it’s more desirable to be smart working.”John C. Maxwell
For every task, ask yourself, “How can I do this more efficiently, saving time and resources?”
While consistency will lead to self-discipline and momentum, working smarter will make you more productive.
The bottom line
According to business expert Amy Rigby, successful people have one thing in common: consistency.
So if you feel you’re not producing results in your work, you can change that by adopting the #1 habit of top achievers.
You could’ve been born a donkey, a dodo, or a dachshund.
But you weren’t… thankfully.
Something or someone decided you’d be born a human—the highest being on earth—capable of making change.
Ask yourself, are you here by mere coincidence? Or will you have a life review when you die one day?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Still, when you lie on your deathbed, do you want to remember that you didn’t take advantage of opportunities?
It’s important to note that even if you’ve slacked or haven’t been consistent in your work, for whatever reason—you can change this today.
Yes, you may give your all to your job and STILL not get a raise. Or, maybe your supervisor unappreciates your efforts. Or worse—takes credit for your work.
If this is you, you can rest in a universal law…
You reap what you sow.
Call it religion or Karma, almost everyone agrees—you get what you give. So give.
When you are certain your boss is watching, but even when he isn’t, be the first to respond to his group email, the first to give feedback, the one who always goes above and beyond for clients, your voice on the phone, your signature on the letter—performance that says this is your most valuable employee, pay them more.
So work consistently, with predictable outcomes, today, next month, and next year. Create a portfolio of work that pleases your employer. Don’t just work. Work consistently.