There’s a cliche encouraging people to work smart not hard. I believe in both and a little bit more! We need to work hard and smart … and at the right things!
If we can teach our kids one important life skill…it’s to not be afraid of hard work or be discouraged at the significant amount of time and energy it takes to achieve a worthwhile goal. And it’s not too late for us adults either! Going through hard work and challenges gives us opportunities of growth and maturity in our areas of focus.
1. Remove redundancies.
Working smart involves the doing something in the most efficient and effective way. Dare to challenge old assumptions and traditions of doing things and ask, “Is there a better way?”. Find redundancy in your tasks, processes and system. Redundant tasks use resources and energy so by eliminating unnecessary steps, you will be working a lot more efficiently and getting the tasks done in less time and potentially less headaches.
2. Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to try new ideas.
What other ways are there to finishing this task? Is there a better way? Is there a resource that could be improved on? For example, if I use my phone to edit photos for a blog and then have to sync it to my computer to edit, how am I doing that? Is that process smooth and streamlined or do I have to email myself the photo from my phone, download it to my laptop, edit and then resend myself the file to my phone? That process is quite clunky. How about sourcing a good photo editor app right on my phone? How would that compare?
3. Ask for help.
A part of working smart is asking the right person for the right solution. If something is out of your expertise and there is an affordable solution that could help you in a day and save you a week’s worth of your work, seriously consider sourcing outside help. As an entrepreneur, I’m an expert bootstrapper and want to do everything myself, but I’ve learned that while there will be extra cash outflow to source out certain tasks, it saves me from losing opportunity costs and frees up my time to really work on what needs my personal attention.
If you have a worthwhile goal, keep at it and have faith that your efforts will amount to something.
2. Fail forward.
Learn from your mistakes and keep going. Mistakes are speed bumps to check your work and your decisions. Let them teach you where you may have gone wrong learn from them. Failure is not the opposite of success but really a part of the success.
3. Discipline of practice.
To get better at anything, it takes the discipline of daily practice. Commit to being in it for the long-game and don’t be deceived that success can happen overnight. Every successful person you see has stories of failure as part of their story.
The Importance of Focus: Apply The 80-20 Rule to Your Work
Warning: working hard and smart will go to waste if you are working at the wrong thing. If you are trying to finish an online course and there is deadline on the horizon, the goal is to work smart and hard at your studies 80% of the time while the other 20% of your time, you can give yourself some space to work on something else that is not as urgent or pressing. But if you are switching up that 80-20 ratio around and using only 20% of your time to work hard and smart and studying, you would unlikely be ready to finish your studies by that deadline.
Be Satisfied in the Work Put In and Have Faith that the Fruit of Your Efforts will Grow
As we are working towards our goal, take a moment to acknowledge the effort that we’ve already invested. There is a great sense of satisfaction in that! There is a deep joy and fulfillment of purpose in putting in good effort and labor even though the hint of the fruit is yet to be seen. Give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate successful milestones and victories.
You will see your work and attitude really take a turn for the better if you work smart and hard at the right things. Plus, your positive attitude will reduce your overall stress as well. Take some time today to reevaluate the project that you are working on. While it requires you to pause your work, a significant time of reflection and evaluation will be valuable to move you closer to your success. Send me your comments and let me know how it goes!