Monday, April 11, 2011

Keys to Success: Work Hard, Work Smart

In this six week series, each Monday, we'll be exploring what it takes to succeed.

A lot of people say you have to work smart, and not hard. I say you have to be prepared to do both.

Working hard, to me anyway, means working in a way that is focused and direct. It doesn't necessarily mean putting in 60+ hours a week (although it might). However, working hard means that you are working. You are focused on the job at hand and not over-socializing, engaging in hours of busy work or spending time on the things you enjoy working on while ignoring the things you don't like but still need to be done.

When I think of working smart, I think of all of those late night infomercials that try to sell you on some Internet business where you can "Work smart and even earn money while you sleep!" I have yet to see that work. Being 'smart' about your work means you are as concerned about how you do you work as you are about what you are doing.

Working smart means making the most of your time and efforts. It means spending the majority of your time on activities that will yield results. It means planning. It means setting realistic goals and deadlines. For example, if I'm working on a project that has a firm deadline, I set my personal deadline to be at least several days earlier. This way I have time in case the inevitable crisis arises.

It also means using technology to your advantage.For example, I use Outlook for my personal email. Let’s say I’ve just gotten off the phone with someone and I want to send them a reminder of our conversation tomorrow. I don’t wait until tomorrow to send the email, I go into Outlook, create the email and use the delayed send feature so it doesn’t leave my outbox until the designated time.

With the advent of smart phones and I-Pads and laptops, you can create your own system for reminders and to-dos. You can also keep important information right at your fingertips. Now that’s working smart.

So what techniques do you use to work smarter?


arina nikitina said...

Hi there!!! I work smart and it's always been that way. But it doesn't mean it's always been perfect. Instead, it was a process of knowing how to make it work and how to find joy in what I do. And yes, I do work hard on some points like when it takes extra patience to teach someone how to do things. Or when people are hesitant to learn. :)

As they say, different folks have different strokes. For me, I like having both or just one, whenever it's convenient. What's more important is that what I work for IS going to get me closer to my goals!

Karyn L Beach said...

Hey Arina,

I agree completely with what you are saying. Nothing is every perfect. Working smart and/or hard is about finding techniques and methods that work for you so it definitely is a process. It's definitely an individualized process because it will be different for everyone.

I think you bring up an important point in finding joy in what you do. I think that joy makes working smart and working hard worthwhile. If you aren't getting any joy or satisfaction out of what you do, you've got a big problem.