In another article I wrote about getting rich quickly, I mentioned four separate elements to becoming financially rich in your business. Of those four, one of the things I mentioned was “working smarter and harder.” Today I want to expand on what this actually means and how you can apply it in your own business and life. However in order to first understand all of this let’s first talk about the entire notion of what hard work actually is. In today’s day and age there’s something that entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian calls “hustle porn.” According to QZ,
“Hustle porn,” as Ohanian so deliciously calls it, is distracting young entrepreneurs from doing good work, and reinforcing sexist stereotypes that to win in tech, you have to ditch everything outside of work and devote your life to your company, a tradeoff many people (and women especially) simply cannot make.” Ohanian went on to say, “This idea that unless you are suffering, grinding, working every hour of every day, you’re not working hard enough … this is one of the most toxic, dangerous things in tech right now. It’s such bullshit, such utter bullshit. It has deleterious effects not just on your business but on your well-being.”
Clearly Ohanian feels strongly about the subject but I couldn’t possibly agree more. We’ll get into this more below. For now I want to concentrate on what working hard and working smart actually are. First I want to share a real life business example of what working smart means to me:
Reducing my hours per day from 12 to 4
At one point in my career I was writing close to 50 articles per day. Yes, 50 articles per day. A couple of things on this: Yes, it’s possible. No I wasn’t writing 3000 word articles. Each was approximately 250 words and I was just pumping them out as quickly as I could. I knew that I couldn’t keep that pace up but I did it as a test to A. See if i could and B. See what kind of direction my site needed to move in. However, deep down I always knew that writing that amount would lead to burn out. So what did I do? Once I saw that the site was earning enough money I outsourced the writing and it saved me a bundle of time. I hired writers who were better than me, who wrote at a reasonable price, and who wrote more informative and better articles. So with one shot I now had longer, better articles as well as tons more time on my hands. Today? Today about the only thing I do is assign content. I’m now able to accomplish what used to take me 10-12 hours in less than 4. The best part, it’s the exact same work. No more, no less, I just don’t have to do as much myself. That’s working smart. So what about working hard?
Each minute should be taken very seriously
I’d like to think that there’s a reasonable difference between hard work and working hard. I personally believe that hard work is the type of work that you literally find difficult to do, i.e. solving a math equation that takes weeks. Whereas working hard is actually working hard be it something that’s labor intensive or brain intensive. An important thing to remember here is that if you’re working hard it doesn’t necessarily mean that the work is difficult. It can be extremely easy but the point is that it’s taxing whether on the mind or on the body. When it comes to working hard I’d also like to point out that it has zero to do with time. This is very important and a huge misconception people have. You don’t have to necessarily put in the hours to make something work, you simply have to work extremely “hard” at it (see above). What does this mean? This means putting every single inch of your mind and body into the task at hand. This means laser focus. This means whatever task you are on is the only important thing in the world at that moment in the world. It means ignoring your emails, texts, phone calls to focus solely on whatever task you are doing. When you can get to that point? You are working hard. And you’ll also find that if you can keep that focus, even for just a half an hour, it can be exhausting. In the end though, it’s well worth it.
Combining the two and staying true to yourself is the answer
Want to get from point A to B in the quickest and straightest line possible? Combine working hard and working smart. It’s far and away the most effective way to efficiently grow a business, solve a problem, achieve a goal, you name it. A few points to remember:
- Stay true to yourself and be accountable – Let’s face it. You know when you’re slacking off. You know when you have that itch to check your phone, take a break to watch TV (there’s a time and place for breaks), and you know when your mind just simply isn’t “in it.” No one can tell you when you’re being this way but it’s important to listen to yourself know when you’re slacking. It’s at these moments you gotta reel it in, reset, refocus and do what needs to be done.
- Working Hard isn’t about hours logged – Please, for the love of God, stop thinking by putting in the hours that you’re accomplishing anything. You’re not. It’s the work you do in those hours that counts.
- Working Smart takes figuring out – You’re not going to figure out working smart right away, and that’s OK. You need to remember that it’s the important things that matter to your business you need to be focusing on. Your core goals and principles come first. If you nail those down, that’s when you can think about handing off the rest to capable people or machines.
- Doing both at the same time wins every time – If you can get down the act or working hard and smart at the same time, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.