Working Smart vs Working Hard
There has always been a debate about working hard or working smart. But is there a difference between them? Let’s find out in today’s guide.
Hard work is required to be successful. But is that enough?
We often think this is the case, but we need to use our time more intelligently rather than try harder. What does “working hard” really mean? If you want to be successful in the long term, you must put a lot of hours into your work. You must start early, especially before everyone else. You must make sacrifices – and by sacrifices I mean that while others are partying and enjoying the weekend you must work hard to achieve your goals.
On the other hand, it’s hard to find a very clear guideline on what working smart means.
You see, a lot of people out there work hard, but not everyone becomes successful. That’s because working smart vs working hard, is what makes the real difference.
“Almost all the most successful people work hard, but most people in the poorer social classes also work hard.”
This consideration is as obvious as it is revealing writes Thomas Oppong, creator and editor. At all levels, we can find people who work hard: workers, employees, entrepreneurs. But not everyone has a successful life, six-figure wages, and a dream job.
The obvious conclusion from this premise is that hard work is not enough. It is necessary, but it is not enough.
Malcolm Gladwell’s equation is famous. In his book “Star Player: Natural History of Success”, he said that the time needed to become an expert in a subject is around 10,000 hours: translated, three hours a day for ten years. Yet even this is not enough: we should also ask ourselves which material will help us to be successful, in the world of today and tomorrow.
It is therefore also necessary to have intuition, the ability to project oneself into the future. In short, hard work is not enough, you need to work smart, in an intelligent way.
The first thing to do is to start from yourself, always.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology showed the power of “structured reflection” on the performance of 173 people, for 9 months.
When the participants had reflected in-depth on the consequences of their actions (according to a precise technique called AER, after-event review), they demonstrated an important increase in their leadership skills. Translated, we can say that introspection and self-examination can help you become better, and more productive.
Productivity, in short, is the name we give to our efforts, to understand the best use we can make of our energy, our intellect, and our time. Efforts that we try to translate into the most significant result possible, with the minimum commitment. A process that helps us understand how to be successful with less stress and less effort.
From this point of view, being productive does not mean working harder but using your time more intelligently.
I want us now to look at something you’ll find fascinating and very interesting.
The 80/20 Rule and Deep Work
We often think that planning our time means concentrating as many activities as possible on our daily to-do list. Not so: it means simplifying your work, doing better (not more), in the shortest possible time. And, at the same time, give yourself time to stop and rest.
The rule to do this is called 80/20, according to which 20% of the causes give 80% of the effects.
Translated, it means that 20% of our daily activities determine most of the expected results. The rest is marginal or completely useless.
The next step to investigate is “how to do it”.
First, try some Deep Work sessions.
As we have seen, the creator of the expression is Cal Newport, who defines the “profound” work of “cognitively demanding activities, which leverage our training to generate unique and valuable results, to push us to continually improve our skills “.
Deep Work, from this point of view, is the opposite of distraction. It means concentration, commitment, staying away from distractions, even physically; turn off notifications. Dedicate yourself to an important task for several consecutive hours.
And here a further question arises: what important task?
To engage in Deep Work effectively, it is necessary to separate the important tasks from the urgent ones and pursue the activities that will give the best results.
The way to work more effectively is therefore to identify that share of activity, which allows you to obtain the most important results for your career, for your company, and so on. Once you have taken this step, you need to devote much of your time to it. And do it in the part of the day when you are most energetic.
Once you start this routine, measure yourself: have your results improved? Or is there some other detail to put in place? Proceed by trial and error.
Scott Young, programmer, and author says there are at least three other factors – besides hard work – that make your efforts effective in the long run.
They are creativity, relationships, and learning:
Commitment should take a back seat to the creativity, relationships, and learning we need. If you want to become a millionaire, you will need a certain degree of creativity, relationships, or knowledge to succeed.
Working is Not Easy, It takes time, takes a lot of energy, and can often feel like it’s just not worth it. But this is only because most of us are not working effectively. We are attached to our job and must work on schedule.
It is easy to get into a working system that is not useful. It’s just that our brain works like that. It is easier to cherish your habit than to change it. We tend to do things in a certain way because we have always done that, not because this is the best way to do it.
We spend most of our lives at work. It would be wise to want to develop methods that allow you to get the job done faster, better, and more efficiently.
Everyone can work hard, but not everyone can work smart.
Most of the things we do take hard work. Whether it’s any job, relationship, or personal goal, we need to put in the effort and work very hard to get the best possible results. It’s true that hard work is a building block for success. However, when you have 24 hours a day, like everyone else, you have to start working smart to get the most out of your time and effort.
Working hard gives you results and working hard and smart at the same time gives you the best results.
What’s the secret of working smart?
Let’s find out.
You Need a Clear Goal.
Everything has a purpose. It’s just a matter of whether you know it or not.
What end goal are you looking for?
People who don’t know the purpose of what they are doing are the ones who spend the most time achieving it. If you know your goal, you can ideally focus on achieving it. The clearer you are, the better.
Create a Vision
Now that you know your goal, what is your vision? See your goal as your direction and your vision as your destination. Knowing your goal will help you know your destination, and your vision will help you move forward.
There are endless things you can do to achieve your goal. Move to the most important tasks – those that have the greatest impact.
Stop Being a Perfectionist
Being a perfectionist isn’t all that great if it gets in the way of your accomplishment. Let go of perfectionist thinking. Stop getting hung up on details and features; they will often take care of themselves.
Learn From Others
There are always great resources around you, smart people, direct opportunities, and the best books. Learn to use them.
If it Works, Keep Going
If there is already a formula for success that works, re-apply that formula. There is no need to innovate or reinvent the wheel to achieve goals. Only apply innovation if there is value in it.
Ask For Help
Most of us prefer to do something ourselves and not interfere with others. It’s a great work ethic, but sometimes asking for help propels us further than if we did it alone. People love to help.
Ask and you can get the answer. If you don’t ask, you will never get it.
Delegate Some of The Work
If you are running a business, hire someone to do some work for you – that way you will have some time for other tasks. If something is outside your area of expertise, or it can be done by someone else better, delegate some work. You only have 24 hours a day, and your limited time should only be spent in places where you can add value.
If you are in business, check if there are any aspects of your job (such as accounting, design, programming) that might be outsourced. You do not need to learn and practice everything, especially if it is not the basis of your work.
Always Look for a Better Way
Don’t limit yourself to a specific set of rules for doing business just for the sake of the status quo. Study and learn from others. Check your situation regularly and look for ways to improve what you are doing.
Be flexible to make changes that can help you get more results.
Regularly check what you did in the past week and conclude accordingly. Then analyze what works and what doesn’t. Then save the first, and delete the last. If you do this, very soon, you will have a very organized list of things that work.
A lot of people say that working smart is better than working hard.
I have always believed that working hard is the main pillar of any achievement. Someone else will claim that life is not life without working hard.
“A life without hard work is a life without a purpose,” they will say. But if you can’t reach your goals even by a small margin, does that mean you didn’t work hard, does that mean you didn’t do your best, or maybe you’re just a failure?
And by working smart, others will say that it is a smart choice, the right decisions, and the right steps. How quickly you climb those stairs determines how smart you are.
In addition, they will say that the people you see there — those with big cars, big houses, good jobs, and a lot of money — are what we call smart. But in my honest opinion, people we see there, these successful people, from business to political talent, worked hard. They had to start somewhere, take the initiative, put in a lot of time and effort to be where you see them today.
Oh yes, those you call your idols and role models. So, you may be thinking, what do you do to get there? To be at the top? Well, the answer isn’t that simple. Ideally, working smart and working hard, are/is the right answer.
And either way, you must work hard to get somewhere in life and to attain your goals. And when you do, you set new ones, as you grow, you will set more difficult and challenging targets. And along the way, you’ll make a few mistakes, but you’ll also make a lot of smart choices.
So, no matter what you do, do your best, be strong, and work hard to achieve what you want. But at the same time, try to be smart, and make only smart moves.
Work hard to be smart, work hard to make smart choices, work hard to set smart goals, work hard to make smart decisions, and work hard in everything you do.
And if you do make mistakes, be smart enough to learn from them.
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