I remember when I was growing up, my grandfather always telling me to “work harder” for anything I wanted to achieve. If I had a big test, I needed to study harder. When training for a race, I needed to practice harder. When interviewing for a new job, I had to try harder. He raised me to believe whatever I wanted in life, I had to work really hard to get, after all, that was how he had always worked. In my attempt to work hard at EVERYTHING, I completely burnt myself out and was exhausted all the time – and STILL had not mastered all that I had set out to do.
It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I heard the saying “Work SMARTER, not Harder”. I understood the concept, but it was almost like trying to rewire a ceiling fan to wrap my brain around it. At first “smarter” was using shortcuts, “freebies”, trying to find an “instant success”, and doing the bare minimum to get the job done. As you can guess, that did not work for me either.
Each of these beliefs have winning qualities. And for some people, either of these may work for them to fulfill their life purpose. But for me, neither of them worked, and the more I talked with other business owners as I approached my 30s, the more I realized, it wasn’t just me.
So, which one is it? Which one of these tactics will bring you lasting success? Well, both.
Working smart is about making a plan. Evaluate where you are, what you have, where you want to be, and what you need to do to get there. What have you done so far? What has worked in business? What has not? What tools do you have already in place to move your business forward? What do you still need to add or implement into your business? Where are you in relation to your goals? Also, work smart is scheduling your time to work. When will you work? When will you “play”? and When will you celebrate?
Working hard is just that – but with a narrow focus on the plan you have created. Do not waste time “working” on tasks that are not included in your plan. Do not “play office” or spend time organizing a new filing system – that is not congruent with your plan. Remember – never mistake “activity” with “productivity.”
Simply put – WORKING SMART means you will put together a plan then, WORK YOUR TAIL OFF. If you work as hard as you possibly can on the plan you have designed, there is no way you will not succeed. You will discover that as you go along you will be more creative, more resourceful, and more successful than you ever thought possible.
How do you plan to work smarter this year?