Just what is the difference between smart work and hard work and which one of the two is better? To explain with an example, when the stone-age man picked up a boulder and carried it all the way to the place where it is supposed to be used, say building shelter, that’s hard work. Now after some time, when the man had invented the wheel and started using a bullock cart to carry several pieces of boulders in a single go, that is smart work.
It can be noted, from the example of the stone-age man, that hard work leads to the in-depth understanding which makes the brain look for more efficient and effective alternatives Both the smart work and hard work equally important but the understanding of smart work is essential for making the hard work more fruitful. The efforts you might put into something cannot make a difference unless you know whether that thing even requires the efforts or not.
While you are putting your blood and sweat into a task, the following suggestions will help you work smart:
- Avoid all possible distractions
When you have a task in hand, you must concentrate on it and avoid thinking about any other things like work or personal issues. You should turn your phone off because it can easily distract you even with promotion mail. Letting your friends, coworkers and family know that you are going to be busy for some time is a good way to avoid disruptions.
- Automate any work that can be automated
With new technology, computers can do almost all tasks that were previously done manually and one must know how to exploit such a useful resource. It is possible to not have the knowledge of the function that is required but everything can be learned. Try not to think about the time that you spend on learning skills like Excel and Photoshop because they will help you in the long run.
- Learn to prioritize and don’t multitask
Sometimes we have multiple things to do at a time but we must be mindful and pick the things that are more urgent or important. Choosing from a list of options can be difficult for most people but at times when it seems impossible, just follow your heart. Don’t try to do two or more things at a time because then you might end up not doing well in any of them. Multitasking will also lead to undue stress.
- Have a routine and stick to it at all costs
Make weekly plans and set a routine so you don’t waste time in thinking about what you need to do and when. Every day you can save so much time if you know what you are supposed to do beforehand. Being organised will reduce uncertainty and it will also give you a sense of control. Knowing what needs to be done can also be a source of motivation.
- Take regular breaks
When you do make a daily and weekly routine and plan, ensure that you give yourself an ample amount of breaks to avoid physical and emotional burnout. It is important to rejuvenate because when you give yourself time to relax before you start to work again, you can be more creative and much more productive with the regained energy.
Read about Emotional Exhaustion here.
- Focus on results, not the time
Sometimes we spend a lot of days on a task and we start getting demotivated. We might reassure ourself by thinking that we have been working for so many days so we can stop working now and just take a long break, even when we aren’t halfway through the task. It is important to keep track of the milestones than the time that we take to reach them. After all, results matter more and only the results will make people appreciate your time and dedication.
- Finish what you start
If you have started something, don’t stop until you have finished it. Don’t give up and don’t procrastinate. It is not unusual for people to drop out of the project just because they lost interest. You need to make finishing what you start a habit. Whether it is a book or challenging research, reaching the end of everything keeps us going without having any bothersome thoughts in the back of our head.