Work Smarter, Not Harder – What does it really mean?
You often hear people advise you to work smarter not harder, but what does this really mean… The truth is it’s difficult to work smarter until you have been working hard. Let’s face it, in the first year, maybe the first 5 years of business you don’t really know what you’re doing. Sure you may have a business plan or strategy, you may find a product, service or offering that picks up great traction from the start, but ultimately you still are finding your feet.
To try and figure out the smarter approach in the start is a waste of time and time that would be much better spent getting your head down and figuring things out.
My first ever business was a brilliant success, I came into the game with no business experience, no idea what to expect and just sheer determination to succeed. After that a created and burned a few businesses, raised some investments, sold a company, merged another and tried my hand at maybe half a dozen more.
No matter how I approached business, I found it difficult to emulate the success achieved from my first business. Truth be told I had levelled up my skills, experience and knowledge and rather than working hard, I fell into the misinformed advice from many that I should work smarter not harder.
Now don’t get me wrong, working smarter is definitely an option you should steer towards, but the only way you will learn how to work smarter is by working harder to start with, get your head down, put in the effort, stack up the hours, make the mistakes and then adjust, its the adjustments that make things smart. Without the mistakes, the failure, the errors you have no idea where you can work smarter.
Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000-hour rule (You can read more about this here), you need to get the hours in if you truly want to work smarter, bank the time served, adjust and then continue to adjust.
Simply spending your time at the start waiting for your ducks to be in a row, aiming for the illusion that is known as ‘Perfect’ will just hold you back. Working smarter can only really happen once you start moving forward.
Today I do work smart, but its taken me almost two decades to get there, as a result, I run 5 companies and its only through handwork that these companies can now operate a work smarter approach.
Put in the groundwork, put in the hours, never sacrifice the effort and then look to adjust.