So, what do I mean by “working smart”? And does working smart mean we don’t have to work as hard? The answer is both yes and no. But let me explain.
Let’s say, you decide you want to start working out at the gym. But you are going with a certain goal of gaining muscle. Let’s say, your goal is not to burn fat, but rather, to build muscle and actually gain weight. Well then, a cardio heavy workout would not be beneficial to you. Because yes, while running on the treadmill for 30 minutes every day is hard and taxing, and yes, you would be working hard by doing so, this specific type of workout doesn’t contribute to your overall goal. So then, why would you put the extra work into running 30 minutes extra in addition to your ab exercises?
That said, just because you aren’t running on the treadmill for an additional 30 minutes every day, does that then mean you aren’t working hard? Well, no. You still need to work hard, just as hard in fact, but you need to lift weights instead of doing intensive cardio. You need to do difficult ab exercises every day, you need to do squats and push-ups. You need to research exercises online and come up with a workout plan, you need to put the effort into researching foods that help to build up muscle and cooking that food for yourself and eating those three meals a day. You need to put the work into sleeping 8 hours every night and staying consistent.
Sometimes, people will run on the treadmill for 30 minutes to prevent themselves from doing the real work. They will step off the treadmill all sweaty and tired and claim they worked very hard, and they are tired. But they get angry when they don’t see the results they want. Well, this is because you put off the real work that would have gotten you the results you needed and procrastinated with something that will not contribute to your goal. So yes, you worked “hard” but not smart, and therefore, not hard enough.
Now this is just one example, but how can we apply this concept to work smart to follow your dreams? I’ll show you. 🙂
1: UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT
This article is written comprehensively. It is a form of writing meant to be consumed by the masses. I can write using more complicated diction, but that would make me look foolish in this context, this isn’t an academic paper, or a critique or some elitist paper, rather, it is a blog post.
So therefore, others want me to write simply here, so it can be consumed. But I know I can write more challenging articles than this, but they would not do as well in this context. So, am I limiting my ability or dumbing it down? No. Not at all. I am recognizing the context. I write academic papers also, and I understand the place and style necessary for those, and when I write literature and self-publish it, I write it at a more challenging level. This is called working smart, or rather recognizing the situation and applying the necessary style and talent for it.
And of course there could be something to be said for standing out amongst a sea of simple articles, and I do, in my own way. Because in these articles, I am focusing more on the content rather than the actual written style. I have something to say and I want to get to the point concisely so my wisdom can be passed onto the reader. Now, in another context where my reader is an avid literature reader, or a scholar, my writing style would have to change to suit them and their needs.
I could do the work to find challenging synonyms for each word I write in this article, but I can gage that a better use of my time would be to focus on the ideas, rather than the writing style. In other situations, I would need to focus on both. But in this situation, if I wrote a very challenging article that was difficult for my audience to read, it would not be successful at all.
And then, I would get angry.
“BUT I WORKED SO HARD, why isn’t the article succeeding?”
Because I put off the real work to focus on the work I liked better, and thus I was not working very smart at all. I was just working.
2: DO YOUR RESEARCH
The research is part of the work. When you neglect the research, you are shooting yourself in the foot before you’ve even had a chance to run with your idea.
Understand your topic. Understand the work required to achieve your goal. Understand the people you need to talk to, look to those who have already accomplished your goal, what did they do to achieve it?
You HAVE to do your research. When you put off the research, you are not working as hard as you think you are. You are just wasting time, or running blindly through a maze, whereas if you found the map, you would get through it much more smoothly.
3: PRIORITIZE YOUR GOALS
This is a big one. A lot of people will work hard to accomplish little things instead of achieving the goal they have set out for themselves. This is usually because of one of two reasons:
1) They have not researched the “how to” (step number 2) and because of this, don’t know how to start
2) They do not know what their goal is… yet.
If someone is iffy about their goal or have not established their goal or motive, than it is quite possible that they are working hard without any result because they are not entirely sure what the result should be. Take the time to determine your goal so you may work towards it. Break down your larger goal into smaller goals that work up to it and take things from there. This is how you can accomplish your final desired result.
4: ENJOY YHE JOURNEY
Ensure your goals are something you actually enjoy doing, not necessarily just something you like the idea of, but rather something you look forward to working on.
Enjoy the journey it takes to get to the larger goal, otherwise you will not feel motivated to complete it. Working smart also requires developing a passion for the work you are doing. The only thing that separates a genius from a novice is passion. When you are passionate, you will work hard and enjoy the work. This will eventually pay off in the long run.
5: DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP
Working smart doesn’t necessarily mean working alone. Cultivate a team of likeminded goal-oriented individuals who you could depend upon. This may mean hiring qualified people, starting a club with your friends who agree to edit one another’s works, etc. It is entirely possible to work hard together, in fact, it is crucial.
Easing up your work load, is the smart way to work. So you can concentrate all of your valuable attention on the work that actually matters, and cut time away from all of the work that doesn’t.