(photo: Dan Eriksson)

Change up the old “work smarter, not harder” advice, and do both. Work harder to accomplish your goals, and work smarter as well, utilize every available tool and resource to reach your goals.

I am sure you have heard the phrase, “work smarter not harder.” I want to say that both working hard and working smart can offer some huge pay offs. It need not be either or; try employing both strategies!

Okay, let’s come to an agreement with the old adage first. Working smarter is most certainly an important part of succeeding in any business. Efficiency can very often outperform perspiration. But it also must be noted that regardless of how smart you are, you still won’t achieve a result unless you get into action.

Knowledge is power when it is put to good use in concert with action, not in place of it. So let’s assume action is hard work and working smarter is utilizing knowledge or creating a more efficient process for producing a desired result. Employing new concepts, for example, or using new technology are both good ways to work smarter.

Success requires HARD and SMART work

You might now be saying, “Wait a second, Rick, I thought this was going to be easy.”

Well, I am not sure anything worth having is easy. And although I believe that if you apply the principles in this book, you could easily begin to change the results you produce, I must also admit that change takes time (which can be hard to take when we’re impatient) and often some extra elbow grease. If you need to spend an hour on your self-image each day, then that is extra work, but well worth the time and effort.

More work can be seen as working harder. But really what you are doing is working smarter, which in turn works harder for you. This means that if you develop a more efficient way to produce the same result, then your new system will be working harder for you. Imagine the opposite of hard, which is soft.

Would you appreciate your employees coming up to you and saying, “Boss, we are going to work softly today.” Does this put an image of productivity in your head? Not likely. So regardless of the concepts, we want to work harder.

Whether or not we use a better system is irrelevant to the idea that our goal is to produce a specific result. The best thing you can do for yourself is to work smarter and keep from going soft. If you need to spend two hours every day on developing your life, that might be hard work for many, but worth the effort. This is a good time to pull out that list you made of things you’re willing and unwilling to do to succeed.

How about the old philosophy of “the early bird gets the worm”? Is that working soft or working hard? I believe it is working smarter and harder. Smarter, because the idea of being first in line is certainly a valuable lesson to learn and far more efficient than fighting through crowds. But why doesn’t everyone do it? Because it requires more work to get up early! It is harder to do.

If you love what you do and are serious about success, you will not mind putting in 12 to 16 hours a day. The formula for success is no secret, successful entrepreneurs works harder. Author of Create Your Own Future and Motivational Speaker – Brian Tracy says, “You work eight hours per day for survival; everything over eight hours per day is for success.”

Work smarter and harder to achieve success

Imagine that your business’s survival is dependent on the sale of ten widgets every month. You want your sales people to work harder so you can get above the basic quota and improve the business. You realize that every call made takes a little bit of work, but it all adds up to the more calls made, the more widgets sold. So your mind will equate hard work with the success of your widget sales. But let’s say you devise a new strategy and/or plan which is able to create the same result in half the time. You discovered a smarter way to produce your result. Does this mean everything stops working as hard? No, it means that now you produce more widgets a month for less effort. That’s working smart and hard.

The adage of working smarter as opposed to harder was created to help guide us to the understanding that no matter how hard you try, you are not going to fit a square peg into a round hole. At least not easily. This is why we have managers; they are trained in teaching people how to work smarter. Smarter in this sense means more efficiently. Don’t make 4 trips from one machine to the other when you can carry more and do it in 2 trips. But we still want that employee to work just as hard, move just as fast, to produce a result. We just don’t want people wasting time trying to hammer the wrong shaped peg into an incongruently shaped hole. How can you work smarter? Well for starters you can ask yourself these questions:

How can I produce the same result in less time?

How can I improve production with less effort?

Almost always we want to either save time, money, or energy. Sometimes all three. But what will we do with that saved time, money, or energy? We should certainly use it to produce more widgets and thus everyone is working smarter and harder with better results for everyone. Saving time will give you more time to produce more widgets and saving energy will give you more energy to produce more widgets. And more widgets sold means more money.

If we move away from the business focus for a moment and look at ourselves and how we might work smarter and harder in our own lives, you will see the same alignment in goals. You will want to save more time in order to get more done in that timeframe. You want to save more energy so you can get more accomplished. Now our list might also include things we love to do each day as well as things we feel are important for our survival. The only way we are going to know if we are making the most of our time is if we become aware of the options available to us.

I found a way to use the Internet so that I can make money while I sleep. The Internet to me is a very powerful tool and I don’t see it as working softer, I see it as worker harder. Because I have managed to find a smarter way to promote my business or sell my products and services, I have tapped into a system that works twice as hard on my behalf as I ever could on my own.

Turning “TO DO” into “DONE”

What are some areas you could self-manage (make more efficient) or automate right now that would give you more time for the things you want to get done?

A good way to work smarter is to separate what I call, “Tew Do’s” from Daily Duties and tasks (to do’s). When you sit down in the morning to write your daily list of goals, try to focus on things that actually take you a step closer to your long-term goals.

Here is an example of a Tew Do list, as opposed to a To Do list:

To Do’s:

Take out the trash

Clean up the bathroom

Organize your desk

Buy groceries

Tew Do’s:

Write a paragraph for your book

Send out e-mails to prospects

Write down your yearly goals

Create a new classroom technique for youngsters

There is a fine line between a “Tew Do” and a “To Do.” It is easy to get so caught up in the routine daily activities that we all must do, that we don’t seem to really move forward on our pathway to success. If your daily activities are not pushing or pulling you forward toward the finish line, you need to rethink and rewrite your strategy for success.

Each day is a new day, and regardless of how well you did yesterday or last year, you will need to do something more today if you want to stay ahead of the game. If not, you will fall prey to apathy. Even if you think you can stay ahead of the competition by being stagnant (or focused on the “to do” list) you won’t be able to stay ahead for long because the competition is always gaining on you. Do you hear the footsteps? Listen hard, maybe harder! If you stand still, the ground will turn to quicksand, and you will sink because the world around you is rising up.

TEW goals a day

When focusing on success, try to determine the TWO most important goals for the day. You don’t need more, but you should have at least two and these are not just part of the Tew Do list, but should be at the top and or next to it as your TOP TEW – one of the questions I ask my students in class is:

What has to happen today for you to feel this class has been a success for you?”

Without a clear idea of what is to be accomplished and how you want the day to end, it will vanish before your eyes.

Do the same when creating your two critical goals for the day. When trying to cut out the wasted time each day or work week, ask yourself the following question:

Am I being productive or just active?

Keep it simple with Tew High Priority Goals each day that will bring you forward. Don’t just move around and rearrange the deck chairs, move effectively, efficiently, and with purpose. Consider the title of this lesson and ask yourself:

What can I do to work smarter?

What can I do to work harder?

Winjitsu Work Out

Now is the time to formulate your system of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly TEW DOs and TO DOs. To illustrate the difference, think in terms of what is necessary for ordinary life processes (errands, chores, household tasks), and those that form the pathway leading to your success.

About the Author RICK TEW

I will do the splits for you too. I provide edutainment events that help you to be a Ninja in what you do. I offer Martial Arts Therapy Retreats on Samui Island in Thailand. My unique Winjitsu Mind-Body system of coaching inspires you to BE more fulfilled and to DO more to KickStart your ideas.

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