Friday, September 22, 2023

Does working smart replace working hard?

A majority of high-earning individuals work well over 50 hours a week.

Chief executive officers do an average of 62 hours per week. They also do business on weekends putting in hours on days they shouldn’t even be working.

Work hard and you’ll succeed has been the simple formula passed from generation to generation.

The advice fits with those who romanticise working ‘to the bone’ and wear their sacrifices as medals. What we see in our modern life, is that extremely demanding jobs often require employees to work extra hours. Work has become central to the life of many of us. It defines our identity. We can observe this when someone becomes unemployed.

A person whose job is cut generally suffers as a result. Others who quit or even just take a sabbatical frequently need to explain themselves to their peers. Work is everything in our culture, and if our culture doesn’t demand that we work all the time, we may stop. Back then, with guaranteed employment and low-labour productivity, wages were linked to someone’s loyalty more than to their performance.

In our modern urban world, there actually isn’t a whole lot of life outside of work for most people. Some of the hardest working people are actually the ones who should have to work the least. It is as if the reward for work is more work.

In this age when we are all connected, there is always someone who is more successful than we are. Growing up on the doctrine of “smarter, not harder” has had its advantages for many in younger generations.

By trusting technology and prioritizing time-efficiency, they have become adept at multitasking and capable of creative, entrepreneurial thinking. They have been trained to never be satisfied with the conventional ways of doing things and to keep looking for better ways.

Working smart may be essential, but it is only half of the equation. No successful entrepreneur or executive will tell you that it is a substitute for applying maximum effort during every hour of the day. Smarter work affords us more time, but that saved time doesn’t mean anything unless it is put to optimal use. 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.

Dr Poloko Ntshwarang, senior Social Work lecturer at the University of Botswana says: “All smart work has its foundation in hard work. To evolve into a smart worker, you need to focus on each and every step in your way. Every successful individual will vouch for the fact that they put a lot of hard work to achieve their goals. No matter how hard you work, at the end of the day, there is always room for improvement.”

Hard work is imperative to remain focused on the task at hand. Every employee begins a project or a task by putting in his hard work. When he starts figuring out the shortcuts and strategies along the way, his hard work gradually grows into smart work. Relentless effort combined with an intelligent working technique will help you get closer to the success you desire.

While hard work is the cornerstone of prosperity, simply working round the clock doesn’t ensure progress in the long run. Smart work is when we map out the route of the job at hand and carefully plan how to go about it. It requires being prepared for the obstacles that you might encounter in the future and the different methods that can be used to overcome those obstacles.”


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