Ever since our childhood, we were drilled into believing that whoever works the hardest is the ultimate winner in life. Without validation of this statement, we accept the adage as it is and set up our goals accordingly. For example, in our school life, we thought who studied the most or who spend most of his/her time with books will ultimately be the topper. This actually happened to be true in a school like a scenario where your creativity is often discouraged and rote learning is preferred.

For an entrepreneur, working hard is not enough. For once, you are no longer in a controlled environment like it was in a school. There are no rules and regulations to follow. Creativity and ingenuity are of utmost importance for being a successful entrepreneur. So working hard no longer gives dividends as it used to in school. The new concept: WORK SMART.

Time is limited and everyone is allotted the same amount in a day. Working hard nowadays has become synonymous with toiling hours at work without any positive results. Whereas, working smart means using all the available resources to get the best possible outcome. For an entrepreneur, limited resources are always a constraint to work with and hence smart working tips are imperative to use. Here are three smart working tips to help you in your entrepreneurial journey:

Realistic goal setting

The first thing that comes to working smart is to set realistic goals. Working smart means visualizing goals which can be achieved within a certain period of time. The difference between hard work and smart work lies on this crucial point. Hard workers do not set goals and targets. They just work, hoping that they will achieve what they want. But smart working involves setting achievable goals, evaluating and re-evaluating these on a daily basis. Only when you measure what to achieve and set a path, then only you can.

Time segregation(Block Time)

An entrepreneur has to work round the clock and it is difficult to find time for social activities and fun. Nonetheless, we are all social beings and we need to find time to spend with family, friends and also treat ourselves to outings or any other leisure activities. An easy way to achieve this is by segregating time for these different activities that are not work-related.

For example, we can keep an friday evening for spending time with family and friends, sunday for travelling to new places and exploring or a day in the week for talking a stroll out in the park. Then you will be able to achieve a work-life balance that us entrepreneurs find very difficult to maintain. If it was not possible to go out on the day you kept for a particular activity, you can switch that with any other day of the month. But make sure you do all the things you want in order to have a good work-life balance.

Email and social media strategy

Emails can be very distracting and a productivity killer. Consider this, you are working on an important project and suddenly you get a mail. You will open it and start considering whether or not to reply. In either case, you again have to shift to your work. So this kills your concentration. Repeated occurrences can be really disturbing and counterproductive.

The best thing to do is to allot a time where you will check mail and also allot a time when you think you can reply to them. You can even make folders and place the emails in them depending on their urgency. Reply to the mail requiring immediate attention and place others in folders named on the days of the week on which you wish to reply to them.

Just like emails, social media is also a double edged sword. Correct usage may help in improving brand and personal image, but it also chunks away precious time from work. Before using a social media platform for promoting the company or self, list down measurable goals, which you want to achieve using that particular platform. Unplanned social media promotions will lead to unnecessary wastage of time.Smart social media strategy should involve planning and executing clearly defined goals. Without goals, you will only be working hard and achieving nothing in return.

Originally published at medium.com