Work Smarter Not Harder

We often hear this expression:

“Work smarter not harder. The way to success is to work smarter, not harder.”

Such phrase is easy to say but it takes a lot of effort to apply. Either because you don’t know what it means, or you find it hard to change the way you do things and adopt to this new concept of working.

The Common Scenario of Working Hard

You may have been raised to believe that working hard is the key to success, like most of us did. That’s why you make it a point that you wake up early morning to prepare for work and then go home really late to finish your work. By living this kind of hardworking lifestyle, you feel productive, fulfilled and successful.

However, when you are alone and you start to reflect about your life, you feel that you are not enjoying and living life at its best. You lack time for other areas of your life, like your health, family, friends, community or your personal growth.

Despite over the years of hard work and dedication to your job, you are still financially unstable and struggling to meet your financial needs and liabilities. As a result, you become stressed, unhappy and less fulfilled with your life.

When you see that there’s not much progress in your life, even though you been working so hard, you now start to complain and criticize your company, your boss, your co-workers, the government and just about everyone else, except yourself.

You feel like a victim and you rely on other people to resolve your situation. You wait for the answer to fall in your hand, until years have passed, yet nothing much changed with your life. You’re still waking up early in the morning forcing yourself to go to work. You still complain on the same thing over and over again. You’re still financially unstable and struggling to meet your financial needs and liabilities.

This may sound a bit harsh reality but a lot of people thus go through life with this kind of life scenario. Many people live this way, working hard rather than working smart.

Probably, you’re now thinking and asking in your head,

“so how can I work smart?”

In this article, you will understand the difference between working smart vs. working hard. Also, you will pick up some techniques on how you can start working smart rather than hard.

The Pipeline Story

One of my favorite stories on success and personal development is entitled, “The Pipeline Story”. The pipeline story reminds me of the importance of working smart rather than working hard. So here it goes:

Once upon a time in a distant town high in the mountain top, there was a village with scarcity of water supply. The villager travels one kilometer away to another valley, across their village, in order to get water supply. Or they wait for the rain to come before they can stock up some.

To solve the problem, the villager agreed to pay and seal a contract to anyone who can deliver water supply to their village on a daily basis.

Two ambitious young men, in the name of John and Peter, offered their services and were both hired to do the job. The villagers thought that hiring these two young men will create competition that will lower the price of their service, as well as increase the water supply delivered.

John and Peter wasted no time and immediately bought two buckets. They began running back and forth from the end of the village to the valley across. They worked hard from early morning until evening carrying in their shoulders two buckets full of water, from the lake into the village water storage, and then go back to do the same thing over again. They both started to earn money from their hard work and both were very happy.

John and Peter did the same thing over again every day. John didn’t mind the hard work and exhaustion because he was happy earning. He started buying a house, a car and hanging out in the bars with friends when he was not working. He felt happy enjoying and living the life that he wants.

Peter, however, felt something is not right. He felt that his hard work is not paying him well enough in exchange for all the exhaustion he gets. He thought that if he continues what he does, manually carrying bucket of water into the village back and forth, in few years’ time, his youthful body will get weak that he can no longer carry two buckets of water. And as a result, his earning will stop because he stops working. He realizes he needs another way of doing things; he needs to think and work smart in order to carry on with this project. He needs to build something that will work for him and will bring consistent money into his pocket, instead of working himself hard for years to earn little money.

Peter’s idea was to build a pipeline that will connect the valley’s water source into the village water storage. With the money he earns, he didn’t spend it to enjoy and buy things he wants, like John does. Instead, he saved the money to fund his business plan.

Having confidence with his plan, Peter continued working everyday carrying two buckets full of water from the valley into the village. But after work, Peter spends his time building the pipeline. Meanwhile, John continues to spend his time after work hanging out with friends in the bar and spending his hard earn money.

When John and the villager noticed that Peter was building something, they’ve made fun of him thinking he was crazy and that his idea was impossible. But that didn’t stop Peter; he continued working to build his pipeline.

Finally, after one year of patience, persistence and continuous work, Peter has finished the pipeline. When he started to operate it, the pipeline successfully flew water from the valley into the village water storage. The villager rejoiced and closed the deal with Peter. He became the sole distributor of water supply to the village. With that, he was able to earn continuous amount of money even if he wasn’t working. As such, he was able to enjoy the life that he wants early in his life.

On the other hand, John loss the job and took another. He still continued to work hard every day, waking up early in the morning earning little money for the rest of his life.

4 Ways to Work Smart

After reading the story, how did you feel? Take time reflect, are you like John who works hard or like Peter who works smart? Now, who do you want to become?

As for me, I’ve used to be like John, working myself hard to earn and progress in life. But almost three years ago, I chose to become like Peter, working smart rather working hard. And I’ve seen tremendous change in my life since I’ve took that decision.

If you want to be like Peter and start working smart, here are the 4 ways on how to work smart.

1. Set a Goal

Remember that it all begins with a goal. Identify what kind of life you want to create for yourself.

2. Prioritise

When you have a goal, give it a priority. Work on it with persistence and consistency.

3. Focus

Focus helps you not to get distracted by other people’s opinion or pleasurable activities that you end up not acting on your goals.

4. Leverage

Find a way to leverage the work. It means “to delegate”, “to multiply”, and “to give minimum input with maximum output”.

What are the Benefits of Working Smart?

  1. If you know how to work smart, you eliminate years of working, getting up early in the morning to go to work that you complain about.
  2. You are able enjoy the life that you want, earlier and faster.
  3. You can be more productive and successful in the early years of your life that you no longer have to wait over 30 years before you enjoy the good life.

Remember that if hard work is the key to success, then many people would have been successful and rich. Working smart, the ability to set a goal, prioritize, focus and leverage, is the key to success and real richness in life.

In this time of global crisis and uncertainty, don’t become a victim and just rely on other people to make life easy for you. Do something and take charge of your own success and richness in life. You know it’s never too late to start working smart now.

I hope this article has been another eye-opener for you to think and see things differently. Also, you’ve learned the importance of working smart rather than working hard.

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