“Work hard”, they say. When you work hard you can achieve anything in life. Hmmm, how truthful is this. As I have become older and observed and educated myself on certain things in life one things has become apparent to me. Poor people work hard, and rich people work smart. That’s it.
We watch our parents for years, who have worked hard their whole life and are still nowhre near financial freedom. They have no time, because they are working so hard at work. As young people we watch this and think this is how life should be. People constantly tell you when you work hard, something will always show for it in the end. Yes, in some respects that may be true. But what no one has ever said to me is that I need to work smart. I discovered this term about a year and a half ago when I started my mission to find out more about financial freedom and a number of entrepreneurs have followed through with a certain passion have constantly stated that something they had to do differently than anyone else is work smart.
What does it mean to work smart?
Working smart means prioritising your own needs, intentionally building up your strengths and a network around you in order to reach your goals in the quickest and most efficient way possible. When we burn ourselves out, it makes us difficult to accomplish our goals because we are constantly doing something and keeping busy on tasks that will never benefit us. This essentially affects every aspect of our lives, including our health, our mindset and not having enough time to do anything which includes not spending it with our family. But by changing the popular “work hard” approach that is used by millions, there needs to be a shift in strategy and mindset that will ultimately help us in the long run.
5 ways to work smart
Set S.M.A.R.T goals
There’s a difference between setting goals and setting smart goals. When you are setting smart goals, you are adding structure and trackability to your goal setting system, instead of vague resolutions that you say or write with no clear formula on how you will get there and when. To make your goals S.M.A.R.T it needs to be:
R: Relevant and
Focus on your top priorities and map out a plan on how this will be executed. Sometimes taking a ‘less is more’ approach is more effective than cramming everything you need to do without fully knowing how this will be done.
2) Time yourself
Before you do each task, make sure you get in the habit of practising time management or else you will find yourself working on the same thing for 4 hours straight without even completing it properly. When you set a time limit, you have more self-awareness and will result in you working faster and getting your tasks completed by the time you have set. When there is no time limit in place, we tend to get distracted more because we haven’t subconsciously told ourselves when we need to complete a certain task by.
3) Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks
When I read The 4-hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss I was amazed at just how much time you can have by just delegating some of your work. He introduced something that I have never heard of before and this was Virtual Assistant or otherwise known as VA’s. He stated that we work hard trying to do everything and some of the tedious things we spend time on takes time away from the more important tasks that we must do. By delegating tasks like emails and other small responsibilities that take up time can be one less thing you are wasting time on throughout your day.
4) Get enough sleep
Do you ever hear people who work hard constantly complain that they are tired? Exhausted? Are not getting enough sleep? All the time. When you constantly work hard you are intentionally draining the body out and this can have a negative impact on your work life balance. Being the first one in the office and the last one out the office because you wasted time in between. Waking up late and wasting most of your day laying in bed watching TV and then deciding that you need to do work that has you up until 3a.m in the morning will never be an effective way in accomplishing your goals. Always make sure you get enough sleep that your body needs, so the next day you wake up feeling fresh and ready to start again.
5) Say NO!
Why we are so scared to say this one simple word. NO! When we learn to say no, we are massively helping ourselves out. As we humans we naturally take on too much, merely because we feel bad to say no even if we really want too. When you prioritise your own workload, you learn to say no to other tasks that you just don’t find as important. When you don’t have so much on your plate, this allows you to focus and spend you undivided energy and time on the things that you do need to do.