I was the hardest of the hard workers in school, college and at work. However, I felt that I wasn’t doing enough and that the others might be getting ahead of me by doing just a little. Even though I felt, some of the folks around me weren’t working as hard as I do, they might have been getting “ahead” with very little effort. Now, mind you, I am not condemning those people, honestly, I wasn’t dejected or looking down upon anything or anyone.
I wanted to introspect and reflect upon what I was doing wrong or maybe not appropriately, to reach my competitive edge. I wanted to really observe and apply any tactic that could benefit me (and see if it was a good fit). The great revelation I had was that I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but I had to do a little bit more (nope, not to work harder than what I already was doing, instead work smarter).
After all these years of beating myself up, I finally understood the drill and that is the golden rule of: hard work and smart work go hand in hand. YES!!!
A lot of people talk about working “smart” OVER working hard, however it is not the solution.Working hard and smart will ensure that you feel the success in your heart. I am not trying to be philosophical regarding this but downright honest. Here are 5 ways by which you can actually work harder and smarter, together, to maximize your potential.
- “Don’t multiply effort beyond necessity:” These are word of English philosopher, William of Occam. These lines hold true to this situation’s core. In fact Mark Rowland in his scholarly book, The Body in Mind, wrote a whole chapter about this. One of the key aspects of balancing hard work and smart work is by realizing that you don’t need to put in much more effort or time to work your way to success. In essence, we need to find the balance between smart work and hard work, for instance you need to get a job done within a deadline and you know, ideally you need to spend only 2 hours in a day, for maybe 7 days, to complete it. However, you feel if you spend more than 2 hours, you would be working harder and doing a “better” job but is NEVER the case. This is a mind game and the point is, dedicated hours are important because that is “necessary” to accomplish the job. Now it is your mind that needs to change its hard working thinking energy into those two hours – and that is smart work as well. Makes sense?
- Get organized and self-regulate your tasks: Those of you, who signed up for my email updates received “the technique” for getting work done in a more organized and efficient chunks, which can be regulated by you, as per your time. The idea behind working hard and working smart is very simple – hard work will allow you to dedicate your truest energies to the work you are doing, while smart work will allow you to feel good and achieve more with the work. The first step in your hard work and smart work mentality is to know how you can accomplish your tasks, work your time-frame and accomplish things in the ‘estimated time’ versus the ‘actual time’.
- Be persistence with your greater goals: Do you remember what I said about goal setting for productivity? The most successful people not only work smart, but they also work exceptionally hard – it is only because they are persistence with their greater goals at work and in life. Not all of us want to be the CEO’s or COO’s or get that higher rank, rather just do our best to make a difference. It is through consistent habits such as setting clear goals – daily, weekly and yearly; along with careful organization along with set schedules and buffer time, you can get the best results. This will allow you to fall in the rhythm of consistently getting results in dedicated time, without making you think that you are working too hard or just smart.
- Get your expectations right: Expectations can kill our thought process at times. While working hard cannot be excused under any circumstance, and surely you need to get smart about work as well, what you shouldn’t be doing midst so much of cognitive process, is wreck your head with “expectations.” The expectations could be regarding remuneration (even though it is a biggie, I am not saying do things for free, rather just focus on quality work), appreciation, promotion or even recognition or any other. I know, it is “easier said than done,” (ironically) but if you need to expect, it should be expectations from yourself – expect that you would accomplish the job on time, or that you will balance the hard working and smart working nature of yours.
- Stop Procrastination: This should be a ‘no brainer’ right? After all those strategies above? Many of us push things for later or sometimes drop it down thinking it isn’t going to work, well, with that thinking, of course nothing will ever work. If you think you cannot work smarter or harder or AT ALL, then remember it always seems impossible, until it is done.Things are already due for yesterday in today and age, so how many hours of work can you really put in without exhausting yourself? Or how many hours will you evade and brush off till that project or work or opportunity is lost? Get smart about your hard work by scheduling things, delivering on time, presenting your best self at all times.
And no matter what… you still have to work whether smarter or harder, to succeed. So get going! 🙂
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