Smart Worker Vs Hard Worker
The idea that you should work smarter, not only harder isn’t anything new. When talking about the difference between smart and hard work it’s pretty simple to explain what working hard means. If you want to be successful in the long run, you have to put long hours into work. You have to start early, before all other people, and you have to stay up late, when everyone else is already enjoying their afternoons and evenings.
On the other hand, it’s really hard to find very clear guidelines on what working smart really means and how it’s different from hard work. It’s very obvious that even if you’re determined that nobody will outwork you, you still have maximum limits regarding working hours that you reach pretty fast; and there’s always someone who’s willing to sleep less than you. On top of that, many people work hard, but only a few become really successful. That’s because smart work is what makes the difference.
I’ve been analyzing and observing people who work hard for more than a decade. It always amazed me why some people working hard got so much farther than others. One of the important reasons is, of course, smart work, but what I’ve found out is that most people who are working smart didn’t learn it. They do it intuitively, it’s part of their character, of who they are and how they were raised. Lucky them. But what is really their secret that the others don’t know when getting down to work? Let’s look at the main elements of smart work, from the most obvious ones to the most concealed ones that fine tune smart work and can take your success level a step further. Below, you can find elements of smart work.
TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS
One very important life management skill is time management. Smart workers are very well aware that time is their most precious resource they have. They value their time the most in life. Thus smart workers learn how to manage their time wisely.
FROM PHYSICAL TO CREATIVE WORK
Nowadays, the first element of smart work is self-evident. We live in a post-information age, where the future belongs to the creative class, people who follow environmental values of rapid technological development, higher education (formal or informal), tolerance, transparency and meaningful work. In a creative society, where brains are respected, physical work has low value. If you want to work smart, you have to be smart. If you want to create value in the creative society, your brain muscle must be as strong as possible. You have to constantly train your brain muscle and challenge it to new levels; both the analytical and the creative part of your brain are very important. Smart workers take really good care of their competences.
LIFE MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Being educated, intellectually skillful and a creative worker is only one part of the smart work equation. The second one is having life management skills. Being smart and educated doesn’t correlate with making good life choices at all. Developing life management skills early in life does. Those are all skills you don’t learn at school. Unfortunately, you can’t even learn these valuable skills from your parents and siblings in most cases. Because they’re so rare. Not many people know how to work smart and how to manage their lives properly. Luckily with an internet connection and smart people sharing their knowledge, you have access to all the information you need for developing life management skills. Life is not a rehearsal, you need to get it right the first time.
PROVIDING SCARCE RESOURCES TO MARKETS WITH A HIGH DEMAND
Being a smart worker means putting yourself in a position where you’re exposed to many options and opportunities. Options and opportunities mean freedom and faster promotion or more clients and, consequently, more value added and more money. The best way to do that is to own competences that are in great demand but in very short supply. People who combine the right markets with the right competences are the winners.
LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE
One very important component of smart work is to always have a positive outlook on life, no matter how hard things are. Much like you can’t live a positive life with a negative mind, so you can’t be a smart worker with negative thinking and a pessimistic outlook. There’s a very simple reason why.
When you’re experiencing negative emotions, your creative and thinking horizon contracts. You focus all your cognitive power on whining, bitching and feeling sorry for yourself. As a consequence, you become blind to opportunities and ideas that would take you a step further. You start blocking yourself and every day, you let negative thinking and emotions cloud your judgment and prevent you from seeing all the opportunities. When you have a negative outlook on life, you simply start lagging behind.
There isn’t one single positive thing that can come out of negative thinking. Not for you, not for people around you, not for the society and not for the world. You may be critical in life, you must strive towards progress and fight for the better world, but you can only do that if you focus all your mental energy on solutions rather than problems.
CAREFULLY SELECTING THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITIES
When you have a positive mindset, there’s another problem you have. You can drown in opportunities. Therefore smart workers very carefully select the opportunities they engage with. They have no problem saying no. They’re patient and wait for the one right thing with low risk and massive potential return. It’s called value investing and, as mentioned, your time is the most precious resource you can invest.
Your energy and resources are very limited, thus as a smart worker you have to choose your battles very carefully. If you say yes to everything, you burn out sooner or later. A burnt-out worker is not a smart worker. Smart workers learn to say no very early in life.
THINKING AND RESEARCHING BEFORE ACTING
Hard workers just do work, because they were told to do something or because they need to escape the hard facts of life or they feel more important when working or whatever other emotional reason there is. Smart workers always think before they act – for every single activity they analyze: “Why am I doing this, how much of my resources will it take, what will be the rewards, what is the optimal way to do the job, which tools can help speed up the process,” and so on.
Smart workers are proactive not reactive, when a new task potentially lands on their to-do list. In a very similar way, they always analyze what the best way to complete a specific task is, and they stay flexible with tactics. Smart workers are aware that every hour of planning can save many hours in execution.
EXPLOITING THE HALO EFFECT
In psychology, there is a thing called the halo effect. It means that we ascribe better personality traits to people who excel at something, even if those traits don’t really exist. For example, we assume that beautiful people are more competent or have better character than others. I know it’s not fair, but that’s the reality. Smart people take reality as it is, they aren’t soft and naïve or live in illusions, and thus they take advantage of the halo effect many times, often without even being aware of it.
You don’t have to be beautiful to take advantage of the halo effect. Exceling at something and taking care of your appearance is enough. First of all: if you take care of your own image, if you dress well and are groomed well, people will respect you more. An even better strategy is to really excel at something, like public speaking, negotiating or being a top specialist in something.
FOCUSING ON CREATING, DELIVERING AND CAPTURING VALUE
As we’ve already covered, an important part of smart work is putting a time management system in place. If you manage your time poorly, you will definitely be poor. Being organized and having a good management system improves your capacity for hard and smart work, but the bottom line of time management is to achieve a totally new level of productivity by being brutally focused on creating, delivering and capturing value. That’s what smart workers understand the most.
Smart work means understanding that there are only three activities that are really important for maximizing your life results. The first one is creating value (innovating), the second one is delivering value (marketing) and the third one is capturing value (invoicing). Because in the end, if there’s no money, there’s no value.
INNOVATING AND BEING BOLD
Let’s now focus more on creating and delivering value, because that is one thing that smart workers understand really well. Innovation distinguishes leaders from followers. Smart workers always innovate somehow. They always try to improve and find new ways to do things. They doubt everything and are aware that there are no best practices and how things should be done. Because things can always be done faster, better and more efficiently.
Now we have come to two very important elements of smart work. One is leverage (time, money) and the other is control. Smart people are very well aware that in order to work smart, you need control. As much control as possible. After (or even before) creating and delivering value, you have to make sure that as a smart worker, you have control over the situation and can capture the most value possible without any intermediates (for example rather be an entrepreneur or boss than rather just an employee).
That is why most smart workers are entrepreneurs, managers and all other types of leaders. Smart workers want to get to the top of the value chain as soon as possible. If you have control, you can do things your way and if you are a smart worker, you make sure that your way is the right way. Because you prepared yourself, you innovated, you’ve taken a big step further than all other people on the same path.
If you want to be a smart worker you need to have as much control as possible, first over yourself, your emotions and your decisions, then by using legal entities, formal power and other unfair advantages. If you don’t take complete control over your life, your potential choices are much more limited, and so is your possibility to work smarter.
PROACTIVITY AND EMOTION CONTROL
Smart workers are proactive, hard workers are reactive. Hard workers feel insecure, are afraid that they will offend someone, miss an opportunity or that someone will take advantage of them if they don’t work hard in silence. Thus they do work hard in silence but are disappointed when somebody else that has been working hard and smart is promoted.
Smart workers are much more strategic and proactive. They analyze their situation and environment, they adjust their communication to a specific situation, they form alliances with key people in the environment, and they make decisions much more rationally, because they trust in themselves. Smart workers don’t operate out of fear, like hard workers usually do, but see themselves much more like generals than only hard working solders.
SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM PERSPECTIVE
Hard workers can only focus on either a short-term or a long-term perspective. They either focus on instant gain, for example working hard for a few days to reap the reward, or they focus in the long-term, sacrificing many mini benefits and rewards they could reap along the way. The problem with both is that this doesn’t lead to long-term maximization of created, delivered and captured value.
Smart people are focused on both. First they ask themselves what kind of long-term consequences each action they take will have on their lives. Smart workers never fail to consider where their decisions are taking them in the long-term and whether the chosen path leads to unfair advantages and superior positions in future life. But by having that long-term goal in mind, they also consider the short-term perspective. They don’t have a problem in going after the low-hanging fruit and reaping small rewards along the way that motivate them even more on their way to the final outcome.
BEING AGILE AND ADAPTABLE
Last but not least, probably the most important quality of smart workers is that they’re always agile and adaptable. Hard workers hate change. They just want to work hard and when the circumstances change, they get lost and angry, especially when most of their work was for nothing. Environments have become too unstable, volatile and unpredictable to only work hard and hope for the best. On the other hand smart workers love change, because they know that every change brings new opportunities.
Today you really have to work smart (and hard) if you want to be successful. You have to be aware that your surroundings and situations are constantly changing. Smart workers constantly gather feedback from the environment and change their strategy every hour of every day, if necessary. They adapt and have no emotional attachment to their past hard work or to how they think things should be. Smart workers don’t live in their fantasy world or wishes, they accept reality as it is (or try to understand it as correctly as possible, if we assume that there’s no objective reality).
Smart workers know that they can’t piss against the wind. That’s why they’re constantly observing what’s happening to the wind and adjust their strategy and hard work to maximize value creation in a specific situation they encounter; a situation that can be totally different in the next moment, because environments are so complex and turbulent; but they have no problem with that, because they know how to adapt.
If you can incorporate working hard and smart together, you will achieve great heights and lead yourself to a better life. One who works hard and smart will in due course of time procure all the benefits and rake in the golden opportunity to probably not work at all.
For hard workers, hard work is often the only escape from reality, bringing a sense of security and stability in life. But in reality, only hard work rarely leads to the greatest progress possible in life. You can’t only work hard, you also have to think and work smart. You can’t only be a warrior in life, you also have to grow up into a general. Don’t only be a hard worker, be both a hard and a smart worker.
HOW TO STAY POSITIVE
· Be a positive person, please.
· Be confident and happy in your life.
· Learn to laugh a lot that keeps you positive.
· Don't make a mountain of little things.
· Surround yourself with people you like, stay away from being a negative person.
· Just help people as much as you can do.
· Make a deliberate choice and do the things you like.
· To articulate your fears.
· Keep on learning new things.
· Create a routine.
Barkha Mishra MBA Manager Aviation AirCrews Aviation Pvt Ltd Barkha.Mishra@AircrewsAviation.com https://www.portrait-business-woman.com/2020/04/barkha-mishra.html