This topic was so large and thought provoking… it had to be split into two parts!
An open mind is required to fully understand the content of this topic.
How To Stop Working Hard, and Start Working Smart:
From a fetus to a grown adult we are told the recipe to success is simply two words: Hard. Work.
However, in this day and age hard work alone won’t cut it. With this continuously changing world, some cannot even keep up let alone get ahead. Efficiency and effectiveness are the new keywords. Who can complete the task in the most efficient way. Who can work smart?
The Pareto Principle:
There is a theory called the Pareto Principle which interestingly states :
In other words: 80% of your success comes from 20% of your efforts!
When we work hard it seems only fair to gain result worth the amount of work you put in. However this is not always the case, and when we see a lower result than expected for the initial about of work we done, it proves to be extremely frustrating to individuals.
Therefore working smart is simply finding ways to turn a small amount of effort into a large amount of success.
Here are ways to get started.
Einstein famously said:
Sometimes we are too quick and eager to jump straight into a task. In doing so, we fail to complete a fundamental procedure which every smart worker does.
Plan Ahead. Waves of sighs probably follow after your teacher tell you to do this. But if people knew the solid logic behind planning we would understand why it is vital to ensure progress.
By planning ahead, a complete picture is created in our minds before we even start tackling the task. By planning we gain a birds eye view which allows us to see the start point and the end point of our task. Upon knowing that, all one then has to do is connect the two points together and create a path or strategy .
When there is no plan, there is no start point or end point. If there is no start point and end point , how can one know when to stop working? How can you even ensure you are working in the right direction?
Look at it from this analogy:
John and James have been thrown into a deep forest; both do not know where the exit is . John get ups and without thinking begins run. He runs as fast as he can. John does not know if he is heading towards the exit or away from it, however because he is just keeping himself busy he will be making progress. Right?
James also gets up, however instead of just simply running James decides instead to invest his effort into climbing the highest tree. It takes him a while, nonetheless upon reaching the top he is able to receive a complete overview of the whole forest. In doing so he is now able to see where the exit is, and more importantly know where he is in comparison. James now knows what direction he needs to head in, and can now decide the most efficient way to reach that point.
So out of the two friends who do you think would reach the exit first?
John resembles the mindless worker inside all of us. The satisfaction we receive by putting in large amounts of effort into one thing with out planning ahead first. We deceive our conscious mind to think we are making progress just because we are staying busy.
Before any task, write down what the end goal is, then work backwards so you know where you are in comparison.
Always start with the end in mind. Be a James.
Know your self:
We as people are all different; from the way we speak, to the way we look. It is our differences that make us who we are. It allows us to stand out, and shine bright. Some time our differences do not correlate with the norms.
A smart worker embraces this and uses it to his/her advantage. You need to know yourself inside out. What times are you most creative? Morning or Night ? What helps you focus or concentrate?
It sounds like something you could easily answer, but according to studies 75% still don’t know what hours their brain works best.
This sort of information is vital to a smart worker. It will help them plan and it will help know when to work and when to rest.
A more relatable analogy can be found just in your classes. In school we come across both hard workers and smart workers – We all know those student who work hard all 24/7 , they isolate themselves and don’t socialise with no one.
And we also know those students who seem to have a work ethic of just a fraction however when exam results arrive, they seem to get similar or higher grades compared to the hard workers .
Those student are the smart workers. They know how they learn best and prioritize their work to complement their learning abilities. They just don’t cramp all the knowledge in their head. They work on their weaknesses and ace their examinations. Prioritization is one of the keys to success.
Do not “multi task”:
Trying to do everything at once actually has a reverse effect on how much you can get done. Why?
True multi-tasking is close to impossibility . The act of doing two things that both require intensive concentration at exactly the same time is just beyond our capabilities. We are not computers. Think about it.
Can you really reply to messages while completing your work; as in literally having your eyes locked on to your phone screen while reading a question.
It doesn’t work, in order to do one you have to stop doing the other. This even happens when your completing a task while listening to a song.
Try to read this article while listening to the exact words of any song . You hear the noise, but your brain does not really process the words. If you attempt to comprehend the words from this article and from the song, both will clash in your mind as a big mess. In order to do one, you will have to stop the other.
It is these stops and starts in between the two tasks that cause you to make less progress than expected.
Lets say “a” was one task, and “b” was a completely different one:
In algebra: 50a+50a = 100a
However: 50a + 50b ≠ 100ab .
It stays as 50a + 50b.
When people multi-task they feel like they can complete more just because they are doing two or more things at once . However by putting in 100% in one thing you will get 100% back. If you try to put 100% into two things at the exact same time it won’t work, 100 + 100= 200. You can not work at 200%, that would mean you are working beyond your complete potential output. Too much maths?
Simply it means, when you attempt to multi task you end up not completing both tasks to your full abilities in the most efficient way, even though you worked very hard.
A smart worker does one thing at a time. When working make sure you end with the task you started with, try not to feed your distractions by deceiving your mind that you are multi tasking.
It is just slowing you down.
Phew. That was a lot wasn’t it? However take it all in and try to implicate all these tips when taking on challenges. You will see the difference.
Remember! 80% of your success comes from 20% of your efforts!
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