We often come across this term ‘smart work is always better than hard work’ but the question is, how do we actually implement this in real world situations. In fact, a lot of us might even find it ambiguous to hit a balance between the two. As a matter of fact, hard work and smart work are like two sides of a coin, wherein the major goal is to get more work done in less time – a lifesaver for working executives! This blog will throw some light on how we can get maximum work done in minimum time by reaching a healthy balance between smart work and hard work, and why both have a role to play in driving productivity and work-efficiency.
How to differentiate between hard work and smart work and why both are crucial?
Although, smart work is always preferred over hard work, we need to understand that sometimes there is no alternative to hard work where we need to accomplish certain tasks with endurance, diligence and a lot of personal efforts. Working hard keeps us grounded, make us realistic, helps us work things out with practicality, teaches us discipline, determination and dedication. All these virtues play an invincible role in shaping our character.
The definition of smart work varies from person to person depending on his/her individual perception of success and personal mission statement. Working smart is often associated with the tendency of leveraging available resources, information and networking skills to get things done. Smart work enables us to utilize teamwork and other people’s expertise to achieve targets and deadlines. Here, mostly, the keyword lies in efficient delegation of work by using the techniques of reward, motivation and inspiration. Smart works imbibes the value of intelligence, teamwork, division of work and appreciation, which creates a win-win situation for all in the department.
6 habits to hit a balance between hard and smart work
Reaching a balance between hard work and smart work requires a considerable level of self-awareness where we need to realize our strengths, limitations, weaknesses and opportunities. Considering these factors will help us understand our position to dedicate ourselves in hard work or delegate our tasks for smart work. But on a daily basis, these 6 habits will go a long way in helping us get more work done in less time.
1. Declutter your physical and mental space: First and foremost, ensure that your workplace is clutter-free. Get rid of those unwanted papers lying on your desk, use the desk drawers to store pens, notepads and other necessary items, and don’t let them create an appearance of disorder. Similarly, you need to unclutter your mind to think more clearly and precisely if you are planning to achieve more in less time. A chaos-free space and mind invites in a lot of positive thoughts, which in turn keep you motivated at work with meticulous planning and organized thought-process.
2. Acknowledge the distractions and get rid of them: Distractions can be dangerous for our productivity. So, the first step towards working more intelligently is to acknowledge their presence, identify the distractions that are bothering your pace and flow of work and minimize interruptions. For instance, start with keeping your mobile phone away and in silence mode, minimize social media platform usage for personal reasons, deal with chatty co-workers, cut down recurring meetings until necessary, keep an earphone ready to cancel office noise, avoid multitasking. Getting rid of distractions can tremendously speed up your work delivery time.
3. Plan, manage and organize your everyday tasks: It’s pivotal to have a planning behind all your deliverables. Make a list of actionable items, calculate the amount of time they will require, understand who all can help you complete the works on time, reach out to people and try to delegate the tasks as per their expertise. Remember, everybody likes to do some sort of favour that will help you achieve your goals at work. Similarly, managing your everyday tasks with a pre-made plan will motivate you to finish your work before time and take up extra work to impress the boss!
4. Prioritize your work and effectively manage time: Sometimes, we ought to get more work than it’s realistically possible to complete on time as we don’t want the quality to suffer. In those situations, always prioritize your work based on the business purposes, immediacy, end-results and overall returns. We invest time, effort and intelligence to complete a work, prioritizing will help you decide which work will get maximum outcome to drive business profitability and which are the ones that can be put into the backburner for the time being. Work prioritization automatically helps you manage your time according to the plan of completion.
5. Monitor your short-term and long-term goals: Every executive work towards some set goals – both professional (for business outcomes) and personal (self-improvement). Now these goals can either be short-term or long-term and so it is important to monitor them from time to time depending on your current deliverables, work commitments, existing resources and planning. It always helps to maintain a document of your goals (both short and long term), the desired results, timeline, brief notes, challenges and status updates to ensure that you reach them in an orderly manner, without compromising on your daily activities.
6. Delegate, distribute and reuse your work: Working in a team always means that help can always be around, you just need to ask for it from the right person. An effective way of achieving more than your targets is to reach out to people who can help with their respective expertise, idea and contribution. If you work as a manager, always feel eager to delegate your work and distribute the responsibilities amongst the team who can get their individual works done to add value to the work in its entirety. At times, you might even want to reuse a specific work in an intelligent way to move things faster.
The combined effect of hard and smart work can get results that can be beyond amazing. The fact that both hard work and smart work are relevant and meaningful in their own path need to be realized by executives before they plan their day, prioritize their work and manage their time effectively. A hard-working employee who apply all the tactics of smart work is a real asset to a company. So, do you have it in you?