If you Google the words “working hard vs working smart” you will see images of hard workers being portrayed as frustrated or stupid whereas smart workers are seen as… well, smart.
Why is that?
This is mainly due to the rise of lifestyle entrepreneurship made popular by best selling books such as the Four Hour Work Week (great book btw).
Why wouldn’t you want do more in less time right?
Now, if you are the type of person whose main concern is to get work done so that you can enjoy your “me time” and have a social life, then the antidote of working smart was created exactly for you.
However, if you strive to be a CEO or founder of a successful startup one day, you should view the idea of working smart with an additional caveat – working hard as well.
The debate about working hard and working smart is getting out of hand.
The real question to be posed is “Why not both?”
As mentioned earlier, being able to work smart seems to confer some form of social validation. Just working hard now means you haven’t taken the time (nor brains) to figure out a more effective way to get stuff done.
I personally struggled with this for a long time thinking it is either working smart or working hard.
But the longer you work in the “real world”, and not the world peddled by most self-help and productivity gurus, you soon begin to realize that hard friggin’ work is equally if not more important than smart work.
Don’t be fooled that by just working smart alone that you are able to get to the top – you can’t.
Working smart often implies getting away with less and doing the Minimum Effective Dose (so to speak), as in doing just enough to get by and not much else. When in actually fact, doing what’s more than needed is what that is going to separate you from the others.
Anyone can be lazy once the needed work is done, but few are willing to do that a little more extra to make their minimum needed work shine like a piece of art.
You learn to work smart so that you can get creating a masterpiece faster, not to producing mediocre work at scale.
So where does hard work come in?
With hard work, it looks like [SMART WORK] + [HARD WORK] = create masterpieces at scale.
Considering the fact that top CEOs have reported an average wakeup time of 6:15 a.m., with many rising before 5, and most worked at least two hours at home after dinner. In some cases, they work 18-hour workdays. Many of these industry leaders credit their success to working while others aren’t.
As Michael Moroney said in his piece on the matter:
“If we want to be successful, we shouldn’t be content to simply work smarter. The most successful people work smart, but they also work exceptionally hard. They maintain the same level of persistence and drive while learning ways to do things more efficiently.
We don’t all have to aspire to be CEOs, but for those of us that do, finding more effective ways to do things is only half the battle….
Young professionals and budding entrepreneurs must work smarter, harder, longer and better — because their competition already is.”