Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by work or that you don’t get much done despite working really hard? If that is the case, then probably you need to rethink your work dynamics. A lot of people work hard, but few only make it to success, and the secret here lies in not only how hard they work, but how smart you work. We were always taught that hard work pays off, it does, but smart work takes you places.
How different is hard work from smart work?
Hard work and smart work are different tools to complete a certain task. They are two different approaches to reach the same end result but hard work puts more emphasis on spending longer hours while smart work relies on finding more efficient ways.
To make it more clear, hard work
• Focuses on quantity more than quality.
• Follows conventional approach and methods to complete the task.
• Starts with the task before or without planning
• Dedication is there but results are not striking or even visible.
• Adds more stress.
While smart work
• Achieves quantity and quality.
• Explores new methods and more effective approaches to complete the task,
• Starts with evaluation and planning before the actual work.
• Results are noticeable throughout the process.
• Resorts to smarter and more flexible techniques eventually leads to less stress.
How to work smartly?
Work on your time management skills. A rule of thumb is knowing how to prioritize your tasks for the day. Working on several tasks at the same time will distract you and you will end up not finishing anything.
Delegate. Some people like things done their way and accordingly would rather working on every task themselves instead of delegating to others. This can be one of the top mistakes that affect productivity. Trust your team enough to delegate to them and give them the space to work on the task the way they find it right.
Plan ahead. Take the lead of the task or project instead of just going with the flow. Working according to a timeframe and plan will make it easier for you to measure results and progress. Create a strategy or step-by-step plan to achieve your goal.
Cut down your to-do list. Keep your list short focusing on the top 5 important things to do and avoid filling the lists with unnecessary things. Shorter lists look less intimidating and will not give you the feeling of an exhausting day ahead. Also, keep the heaviest tasks for the beginning of the day.
Cultivate a creative and flexible mind. Avoid the comfort zone and conventional methods. Try to do things differently and test new methods every now and then. This can help you assess how much time is spent in different operations and how to get smarter with time.
Have a growth mindset. Work on improving your skill and acquiring new ones. Aim to gain more knowledge in different aspects and areas of your work. The more the knowledge, the less time you need to figure out how to work around something, and will be easier for you to come up with smart solutions.
Be adaptive and flexible. If things don’t go unplanned, swiftly adapt to the new situation and scenario. Being stuck in the problem or how things should have gone rather than adapting to find new ways to get the job done will only hinder your process.