25 Hard Work Examples

hard work examples and definition, explained below

Examples of hard work include working late into the night, doing long days of physical labor, and doing basic training in the army.

Hard work can also be mental, such as the tough work involved in writing a book or completing a PhD.

Many of the great things in life are only obtainable through working hard. These are things like saving up money for retirement, getting a fit body, and achieving your long-term goals. Below are some additional examples.

Examples of Hard Work

1. Working Toward a Deadline

One of the most common times when you work hard is when you have a deadline at work or school. By setting a deadline, you force yourself to fit more work into less time.

For example, if you and your team have a group assignment due at university on Friday, the group will likely meet up in the library several times in the week. You might also put in work late into the night to ensure you create a quality product within the deadline provided.

2. Getting a Fit Body

Getting the six pack you want or those toned glutes doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll need to put in the hours at the gym for months on end.

If having a great body was easy, everyone would be doing it!

And part of the reason why fit bodies are seen as so attractive is that you know the person has got all those traits of a hard worker: persistence, commitment, and ability.

3. Taking Night Classes

People who want to better their financial situation or chance careers later in life often have to work and study. This doubles up the amount of work you have to do.

These sorts of people will often end up taking flexible online or night classes in order to reach their goals.

At the end of your hard day at your job, you don’t stop. Instead, you have to keep that brain switched on, turn up, and put in the hours to get your new qualification.

4. Completing a PhD

Some of the hardest mental work I’ve ever done was when I was a postgraduate student. Completing a PhD isn’t physically difficult, but it’s mentally exhausting.

I remember putting in 15 hour days in the library, reading and studying until I was too tired to do any more work. I also would go home and work late into the night on my dissertation.

There are similar mental labor jobs that require you to work hard, such as writing a book or working as a lawyer on a high-profile case.

5. Moonlighting in a Second Job

Many people who want to further their financial situation often end up working a second job. We often call this “moonlighting”.

For example, I have a great friend who works in a motorcycle shop 5 days a week. But he wants to save up to buy a house, so he also works 3 evenings a week at a supermarket. It’s inspiring to watch, but I certainly look at him and think I’m glad I don’t have to work as hard as he does.

6. Physical Labor Jobs

Some of the most difficult jobs to do are ones that are taxing on your body. We call these ‘physical labor’ jobs.

These jobs are often done by working-class people who are underpaid and get less respect in their workplaces, which makes these jobs even harder.

But at the same time, I’ve got some friends who are tradesmen who absolutely love going to work and getting the chance to exercise their bodies all day long. For them, this type of hard physical labor is rewarding.

7. Raising Children

Talk to any parent and they’ll tell you that raising their children is exhausting. It’s a 24/7 job.

While many other difficult tasks end at the end of the work day, raising children doesn’t end. If your child is crying at 3am, you’ve got to handle it! If they wake you up at 5.30am, you’ve also got to be there for your kid.

8. Multi-Day Hiking

Earlier this summer, my wife and I went on a multi-day hike, and it was on of the most demanding things I’ve done in years.

The thing that really made it feel hard was that I couldn’t just press the stop button like I can at the gym. If the treadmill gets exhausting, I can just step off it. But on this hike, I had to rely on my legs and keep on pushing until I reached the end.

By the end of the second day, I’d reached a level of exhaustion that I’d only reached a few other times in my life.

9. Training for the World Championships

World-class athletes are some of the hardest workers you can come across. They become the top 0.01% by putting in more training and practice than their other elite competitors.

For example, the become the top swimmer in the world, you have to put in hours every day practicing your stroke and getting your body into prime condition. But you also have to eat right, listen to your coach, learn the theory, and dedicate every waking hour of your life to your craft. It’s no easy feat!

`10. Basic Training

Many people who apply to join the military fail basic training. This is because it’s a test of your grit, physical ability, and mental strength.

Other jobs have the same types of initiation, which are designed to weed out the lazy people from the people with self-discipline and skills. For example, many people don’t make it through firefighter training because it’s so difficult.

Characteristics of Hard-Working People

  1. Determination A person with determination knows their goals and won’t give up until they reach them. These types of people will work hard to get what they want.
  2. Resilience A resilient person doesn’t give up when they reach obstacles. They will put in the work even when it’s tough.
  3. Initiative When you have initiative, it means you will work on things even when you haven’t been asked to. You’re the person who gets out of bed and takes action to achieve your goals.
  4. Perseverance Perseverance is like resilience. It means you don’t give up! (The difference is that resilience implies there is an obstacle you’re overcoming, while perseverance just means not giving up).
  5. Multitasking – Many people who work hard need to be able to multitask to get their work done. For example, think of your parent when you were young. They didn’t just go to work at their job. They would also cook for you, clean the house, and keep an eye on you to make sure you’re healthy. As I said earlier – parents are hard workers, and as part of that, they have to learn to multitask!
  6. Self-Discipline You need to maintain self-discipline in order to continue working through difficulty. If you didn’t have self-discipline, you’d give up the moment things got hard.
  7. Dedication – Dedication refers to someone’s ability to commit to one thing and remain committed to it over time. If you’re dedicated to something, you’ll be more inclined to work hard at it.
  8. Productivity – If you work hard, you’ll likely to be productive (or, at least, you’d hope so!). For example, a lazy person is likely to get to the end of the day without having achieved much from their day; whereas, a person who puts in the work all day will likely have made plenty of progress.
  9. Positive Attitude If you lack positivity, there’s a good chance you’ll give up or not even try. But people with a positive attitude are more likely to get to work and keep on working through hardship.
  10. Patience / Delayed Gratification Difficult tasks often require delayed gratification. In other words, the work itself might not be particularly fun, but afterwards, you’ll feel great. Patient people understand this.
  11. Integrity Employers like to hire people with integrity. These people will work hard because they believe it’s right to do your best while you’re on the clock.
  12. Intrinsic Motivation There are two main types of motivation. They are extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. People driven by extrinsic motivators will only do work if there’s a direct reward or punishment involved. However, people driven by intrinsic motivation have a deep-down desire to succeed. These people are generally harder workers.
  13. Aspirational – People like immigrants will work hard because they have high aspirations for their future and their children’s futures.
  14. Competitive – Another trait you might identify in a lot of hard workers is their competitive nature. They will put in the hard work because they’ve got an innate desire to be the best and outlast everyone else.
  15. Prioritization – You’ll find that a lot of hard workers are good at planning and prioritizing, which helps prevent procrastination and maximize efficiency.


Working hard is a trait that will get you a long way in life. It’s a desirable trait to have as an employee or even a good student. Examples of hard work include putting in an all-nighter to complete an essay, doing a physical labor job, training to get fit, and even raising children!

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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