Should You Work Smart Or Work Hard?

Ever heard of the classic dilemma of ‘work hard vs work smart’? The hustle culture has always been hyped up about whether in the corporate world or within the freelance culture, which is quite popular amongst the Zillennials. While we are aware that working hard may get us the results that we desire, it will however make us no stranger to burnt out.

Woman working hard at a desk with a tablet and book

Hard work is a great trait. While it is essential, it does not mean that the work could not be a workaround productively. You may have heard advice to “work smarter, not harder,” throughout your career, and while “working smart” may translate differently depending on individuals, it does accommodate to achieving success through ultimate productivity. 


Instead of putting in those extra hours, you can figure out your strengths and develop an intentional manner to reach goals in the shortest and most efficient way possible. Get started by following these six simple tips:


1. Time blocking.

When you set boundaries around your schedules, you get focused on your tasks better while setting expectations with your clients, team, or colleagues. For instance, when you are taking your lunch break, it is important to have undistracted eating for optimal digestion, so set the hour to be for you to consume your meals peacefully. If it is at your convenience, you may have your calendar shared for your colleagues to refer to.

Women eating lunch together at a table in front of laptops

A strategy like the Pomodoro Technique has also been proven to be effective in helping people to engage in tasks productively while incorporating strategic breaks in between. It basically guides you to break down your work into intervals. You only need a timer to work around your to-do list.


2. Trim the excess.

When you have a lot on your plate, it is natural for your brain to include as many tasks as possible in your list in hopes to get as many things crossed out by the end of the day. The harsh reality is that work can be endless, however, priorities can be arranged.


Prioritize your to-do list. Make sure to keep it short, determine which task can be delegated, postpone, and cancel. There is no need to put everything for you to accomplish on your own. It is prominent to get the high-impact tasks done and out of the way first. And if you can, preparing the night before can save you from decision fatigue early in the day.


3. Communication is key.

When organizing your priorities, it is important to strengthen your collaboration and communication skills. Regardless of whether you are an entrepreneur, employee, or freelancer, there are times when you will be working with others. Communicating with people will help you reduce unnecessary workload, save time, as well as straightening out any miscommunications.

Man and woman talking about work at a table

For instance, if there is any subject matter that can be clarified with minimal discussions, it can be handled through emails and meetings may not be necessary. Also, keep things concise when conveying any messages. This can reduce any confusions from the recipient.


4. Create a routine and stick to it.

We are creatures of habit. Having a routine does not mean that you should give up on creativity or spontaneity, but it is to simply help you create a structure that you could thrive on. You may start with establishing a morning routine. This way you could start your day productively.


It takes time to discipline ourselves on any new routine into our day-to-day, but with the right intentions, any commitments are possible.


5. Stop multitasking.

Let us face it, multitasking leads to no productivity. While most of us would like to think that we can do multiple things at once, the outcomes are often not as good because our multitasking led us to get out of focus.


Shifting the attention back and forth between tasks can be draining for our brain. This could hurt you and your team in the long run. It is just not sustainable. When you prioritize your to-do list, you will be able to decide on which task to focus on at a time. Once you are done with one, you could then move on to something else.


6. Establish a closing routine.

Reward yourself after your tasks, both the small and big ones. Celebrating along your journey would not just keep the fun going but for you to take a moment to appreciate your work and progress.

Woman sitting and resting peacefully by a window

Allow yourself some time to do the work that you enjoy. It relieves the work stress, and at the same time gives you the chance to be more balanced in your life. Though for some, there might not be a work-life balance exactly, to reach a point of work-life harmony is enough to draw a path for a more meaningful life.



I hope that you could learn from the suggested tips above and apply them in your life. It is time to take control of your productivity and energy levels, and today is a great day to start doing so!

A former sales specialist turned creative writer. Wellness & skincare enthusiast. Loves reading, yoga & biohacking.

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