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8 Reasons Why You Need To Work Smarter But Not Harder

8 Reasons Why You Need To Work Smarter But Not Harder

“Work harder! Work FASTER!!!”

Remember that commercial?

It featured an old man and an old woman, demanding that their employees produce more in less time. Sadly, this has to a large degree become the societal norm in many countries. People are expected to do more in less time with less resources‒and produce a better product on top of it all! Madness, you may think‒and you’d be absolutely right.

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter boosts productivity, creativity, and saves precious energy for the things that really matter, like your family. You should be working to live, not living to work. (In some areas of endeavor, as for professional writers, the work IS the passion, so this doesn’t really come into play. However, if you have a “real job,” I’m looking at you.) Here are 8 reasons you need to work smarter but not harder.

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1) Hard work is draining.

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    Hard work is mentally and physically exhausting. It draws off energy that you need to maintain things that really matter in your life, like your family relations and friendship. Instead of working yourself to exhaustion, figure out ways to delegate or save labor while achieving the same desired outcome. You’ll be happier and less stressed, which means you’ll be more productive overall.

    2) Working smart saves energy.

    Working smart means conserving energy. It doesn’t mean you can always NOT work hard, because some tasks demand a certain amount of physical toughness or endurance, such as changing out a transmission or pulling an all-nighter to get a project done. However, when possible, do your work in short bursts rather than in long, sustained pushes. Fifteen to twenty-minute intervals with a five-minute “pause” to plan where you’re going next with the project will give you more energy and produce a better end product than if you have to “slop it together” at the last minute.

    3) Working smarter increases productivity.

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      I know, I’ve already said this, but it’s really important to understand this point. Working smarter saves labor and costs by streamlining the process. Instead of following an “A-B-C” format, see where you can combine tasks together. Note: Sometimes multitasking is a bad idea. More on this in a few minutes. However, when and where possible, combining tasks that follow a similar format can save you time and energy, making you more productive without working yourself to exhaustion.

      4) Working hard saps motivation, confidence, and desire to continue.

      How many times have you worked at an intensely physical job and come home at night demoralized, exhausted, and too strung out to care about little Johnny setting the cat on fire? It’s not a good feeling, and this feeling begets feelings of inadequacy or of being just another cog in the machine. Finding ways to work smarter can counter this, fostering more positive feelings about your job, your coworkers, and yourself.

      5) Working smarter makes you more valuable.

      Every field of human effort is always looking for ways to get more done with less effort. Saving effort can also save money. Whether you’re a private entrepreneur or working for a huge multinational conglomerate, finding ways to save labor and effort by working smarter makes you a more valuable resources to your employer. This, in turn, makes you feel more confident, more inspired, and more willing to do whatever it takes whenever necessary.

      6) Working smarter requires creativity.

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      creativity_habit

        Many jobs do not value creativity. They want to see results, preferably arrived at by rote methods that are “tried and true.” Because of this, the “Evil Day Job” can be very frustrating, especially for people who thrive in a more creative environment. However, if you can apply creativity to achieve the same goal, you’re more likely to enjoy your job and wish to continue doing it. There are right ways and wrong ways to do everything, but in very few cases is there one absolute RIGHT way. Think about how you can use creativity to increase your performance!

        7) Working hard produces a lower-quality product.

        When you work hard, you end up with a product.

        The end. Period. Move along, folks, nothing more to see here.

        But how do you know the product you’re achieving is the absolute best it can be? The answer is, you don’t. Working smarter gives you more focus and a better ability to focus on the nuances and minutiae of the product. You get more time to sweat the small stuff that, when taken care of, creates a superior product. This, in turn, makes you more valuable and will make you enjoy your job more, because you know you’re producing to the absolute limit of your abilities.

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        8) Working smarter increases self-esteem.

        This should be obvious by now, but it bears spelling out. If you are working smarter than you are hard, creating a better product or end result with less effort, and applying all your faculties to solving the problems of a given task, you’re going to feel better and like you’ve accomplished more. There’s a very simple reason for this: YOU HAVE. This, in turn, will make you a more positive and productive individual who not only has more time and energy, but you will become someone your friends, family, and coworkers want to be around more, so they can learn from you. This leads to even more inspiration. Instead of a vicious cycle, you’ve created a positive one!

        How does working smarter help you? Please leave your answer in the comments!

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        Last Updated on October 16, 2019

        Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

        Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

        Do you like making mistakes?

        I certainly don’t.

        Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

        Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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        Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

        Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

        • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
        • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
        • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
        • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

        We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

        If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

        Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

        Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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        When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

        Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

        We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

        It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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        Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

        Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

        Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

        1. Point us to something we did not know.
        2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
        3. Deepen our knowledge.
        4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
        5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
        6. Inform us more about our values.
        7. Teach us more about others.
        8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
        9. Show us when someone else has changed.
        10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
        11. Remind us of our humanity.
        12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
        13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
        14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
        15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
        16. Invite us to better choices.
        17. Can teach us how to experiment.
        18. Can reveal a new insight.
        19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
        20. Can serve as a warning.
        21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
        22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
        23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
        24. Remind us how we are like others.
        25. Make us more humble.
        26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
        27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
        28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
        29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
        30. Expose our true feelings.
        31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
        32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
        33. Point us in a more creative direction.
        34. Show us when we are not listening.
        35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
        36. Can create distance with someone else.
        37. Slow us down when we need to.
        38. Can hasten change.
        39. Reveal our blind spots.
        40. Are the invisible made visible.

        Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

        The secret to handling mistakes is to:

        • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
        • Have an experimental mindset.
        • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

        When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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        When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

        It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

        When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

        Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

        Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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        Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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