Hard Work vs Smart Work?

More often than not, we hear – Work smart and not hard or, Hard work pays off or Smart people have long ways to go etc. I think now we all know, be it hard work or be it smart work; all that counts, is the process we follow. The process to reach that end goal can be through working smartly and by working hard, both.

How to reach that end goal?

There could be multiple goals for us to work on simultaneously including our personal and professional.

We need to prioritise our goals. One good framework that really works is figuring out the following:

  1. Important and Urgent:

It could be the ones that we have never foreseen or the ones we had procrastinated and left for the last minute.
If it’s the last minute- we need a better planning and more hard work to ensure a successful completion.

If it’s the unforeseen case, then the best approach there is to leave some time in our calendars to manage and deal with these issues and crisis situations. The way we plan our calendars are very important. A pro tip here is– start planning your following day and move around the schedules if needed atleast the night before. Usually a lot of leaders are really good with these and they do this atleast a week before.

2. Important but not urgent:

These goals/tasks are the ones which need a consistency. If not given enough time these become the urgent ones as well. Hence a clear way to keep a track on them is very important. Set up regular and scheduled checks to view the progress bar. Again, importantly we need to keep a fair amount of time aside for these.

3. Not Important but Urgent:
Whether we plan better or not this bucket is usually always full for most of us. This is also the reason why we are not able to focus more towards 1. And 2.
Couple of things to think for us is
“Can we Seek help”. We should be more vocal in seeking help.
“Can we delegate”. We usually forget about this completely. Delegate the tasks when everyone has time and people will finish it well within timelines.
“Can we say No”. It’s okay to say no rather than to say yes to the tasks and not being able to complete them. However, we must let them know the reason around the “no”, so that a good planning can be done around the same. Motto- Stay humble 🙂

4. Not Important and not urgent:
Clearly, it’s a distraction and we all must avoid this. We must cancel as many of these as possible.
However, if this bucket has those set of tasks that we actually enjoy working on (then this is the place we need to grow smarter) and allot some time to do this. This might keep the zeal and enthusiasm going high constantly. Break them into small pieces and make it consistent. More power to us that way!

One good book that defines this well is- “The 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen R. Covey”. This framework might be quite effective in figuring out the direction of our hard work and our smart work. This might make the process more robust and help us achieve our end goals.  

Share your thoughts and views on smart work vs hard work, which has been more impactful and how?

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