Dr. Jordan B. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, a practicing clinical psychologist, and the creator of the Self-Authoring Suite—a writing program that changes lives.

Speaking personally, Jordan Peterson has changed my life beyond belief. I found myself in a kind of semi-depressed aimless nihilism, which I didn’t fully realize until Peterson articulated what I was feeling in one of his lectures.

Currently I am halfway through the Self-Authoring program. I’ve already written a 35,000-word autobiography, and right now designing my ideal future in such a way that makes it attainable. While doing this I have also been listening to Peterson’s Maps of Meaning lectures and making my way through his Great Books list. If you feel a bit lost or feel like there’s more to life but you can’t quite figure out what it is, I highly recommend you follow a similar path.

In a previous article, we shared Dr. Peterson’s 40 rules for living a meaningful life.

In this post, we are going to share 35 short, yet potent maxims that will help you to develop a strong work ethic and boost your productivity.

Do not be put off by the conciseness of these tips. Peterson has worked as a consultant and psychotherapist for high-achieving entrepreneurs, lawyers, students, and everything in between for decades.

I suggest you read through the list and make a note of the points you follow least, then go about making a plan to rectify these faults in your own behavior.

35 Tips to Develop a Strong Work Ethic

  1. Show up on time.

  2. Aim for promotion on the basis of your productivity and utility.

  3. Be generous with sharing credit.

  4. Make sure your goals at work line up with your goals in life.

  5. Don’t be afraid to be your own advocate.

  6. Listen carefully and tell the truth.

  7. Eat a protein and fat rich breakfast every day.

  8. Don’t sacrifice medium and long-term progress to expediency.

  9. Get up early.

  10. Do a couple of unpleasant but necessary tasks every day.

  11. Read as much as you can.

  12. Take your vacations.

  13. Do the things you say you will do.

  14. Take your coworkers to lunch.

  15. Don’t sacrifice yourself to the point of resentment.

  16. Learn to say “no” when it is necessary.

  17. Work hard on expanding and maintaining your social networks.

  18. Put yourself in a position of strength before you negotiate.

  19. Do not participate in office gossip.

  20. Delegate enough to develop your juniors.

  21. Learn to speak publicly.

  22. Write clearly, carefully and concisely.

  23. Buy clothes that are slightly better than you can afford.

  24. Learn that responsibility and opportunity are synonymous.

  25. Have an updated CV on hand at all times.

  26. If you have to switch companies to advance your career, don’t be stopped by fear.

  27. Fire people who demotivate others.

  28. Let your juniors know when they do something particularly well.

  29. Take some time off when your opportunities start to feel like obligations.

  30. Have a home life.

  31. Learn the difference between real work and pseudo-work.

  32. Protect your time.

  33. Surround yourself with straightforward, productive people.

  34. Ask a question if you don’t know something.

  35. Object to stupid new rules.

A Personal Note: How I’m Using This List

As I read through the list, the following principles stood out most to me as areas I could improve in:

  • Show up on time
  • Get up early
  • Do the things you say you will do
  • Learn the difference between real work and pseudo-work
  • Protect your time

My personality is high in openness and creativity but quite low in conscientiousness. So I am using this list to improve upon my faults.

I am taking each fault, and creating for it a two-week challenge—challenges are great!

So for the “Show up on time” principle, I am making the effort to show up 10 minutes before every appointment. By making this a higher priority than whatever stuff I’m doing which would typically cause me to show up late, I am much more likely to show up on time.

On top of this, simply reading the list frequently is very useful. Repetition, as the old saying goes, is the mother of skill.

Learn more about Dr. Jordan B. Peterson:

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