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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 August 16, 2018

        16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

        16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

        The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

        How about a unique spin on things?

        These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

        1. Empty your mind.

        It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

        Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

        Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

        Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

        How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

        2. Keep certain days clear.

        Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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        This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

        3. Prioritize your work.

        Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

        Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

        Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

        How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

        4. Chop up your time.

        Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

        5. Have a thinking position.

        Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

        What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

        6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

        To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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        Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

        7. Don’t try to do too much.

        OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

        8. Have a daily action plan.

        Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

        Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

        9. Do your most dreaded project first.

        Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

        10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

        The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

        11. Have a place devoted to work.

        If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

        But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

        Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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        Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

        12. Find your golden hour.

        You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

        Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

        Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

        Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

        13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

        It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

        By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

        Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

        14. Never stop.

        Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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        Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

        There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

        15. Be in tune with your body.

        Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

        16. Try different methods.

        Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

        It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

        Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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