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    Smart Work vs Hard Work

    Smart Work vs Hard Work

    Hard Work and Smart work, function as parallel lines. Both are important from the organizational point of view. Hard work means putting in a strenuous effort to accomplish a certain task. Whereas, the definition of smart work goes as finding effective and quick solutions to resolve a certain issue or multiple tasks. For eg., We can easily opt for not hiring household help and managing to do the household chores by ourselves. Whereas, hiring a maid can save us time to use it more productively in some other work. Smart work helps us to manage time to achieve our goals within the given deadline, and without compromising the quality of work.

    During the time of the industrial revolution, employees worked manually on tasks. Massive work used to be accomplished, which included larger calculations and working on vast sheets. After the onset of the internet, work was made easier by the inventor of software applications. But just as every good invention comes with its own set of challenges, the invention of the internet required lesser employees than before, since a large amount of work was being done very easily by few employees. From this time onwards, the importance of smart work became prevalent.

    I believe that hard work and smart work are both essential to bring effectiveness and efficiency to a work. While hard work makes sure that we are putting in the time required to accomplish certain things within the stipulated hours, smart work focuses on bifurcating the quintessential factors like who is the best person to do a particular task, when is the right time for doing it and what kind of hurdles can be expected. So, when summed up together, we can find the best way to successfully complete a set of tasks within time and ensure its best quality.

    Smart work has a more holistic approach to tasks than hard work. Despite being result oriented, working hard incurs a lot of time and energy, while working smartly includes working diligently, which requires more work in a lesser amount of time. Working smart includes having the better analytical ability, knowing which part of the work takes the longest time, and trying to reduce it in a creative and logical manner. Thus, smart work uses the primary principles of management while also finding the best ways to approach work.

    We often get confused and think of hard work to be a physical activity and smart work to be a kind of mental ability. Although this was true before the invention of the Internet, it no longer holds true. Excellence is a perfect blend of both hard work and smart work. The whole idea is to deliver to the best of our capability. Consistency is important, to keep delivering excellent work. 

    Smart work and hard work both blended together make a genius. Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, and Warren Buffet spent years working hard in their respective fields and were able to produce results for which the world knows them today. Warren Buffet makes better judgments in the field of investments because he has worked hard to achieve those qualities.

    Hard work and smart work are two faces of the same coin. People have gradually learned to adapt themselves according to situations and work hard and smart simultaneously. If the deadline is given for a particular task that is quite vast in scope, then smart work is needed, whereas, in situations where we can buy time, more time can be spent on details to achieve the best results. However, to work best as a smart worker, you need to be a hard worker first. Only then can you find improved ways to work smarter and better.

    Employers often ask you about the difference between hard work and smart work to understand your values and work ethic. This g interview question helps an employer discover how diligently you would make use of your time to complete projects and meet deadlines. This is very important for job roles such as journalist, mass communication, media science, etc, where multiple assignments need to be taken care of and work needs to be prioritized based on the time availability of submission. Interviewers may raise this question to understand your way of working better.

    The Organizational Perspective of Hard Work and Smart Work

    From an organization’s point of view, they would prefer a perfect blend of both hard work and smart work. To complete tasks in less time, organizations conduct training, from time to time, so that employees can learn and apply them to work. The hard workers of a company are the pillars of any organization. The ones who define the structure of any organization. Smart workers are the assets of a company, with the help of whom a company realizes profits. Some of the ways which organizations teach employees to work smarter are as follows:- 

    Keep your to-do list short 

    focusing on the important and challenging tasks at hand which needs to be completed on priority, will keep you away from unnecessary worries and help in being more focused and balanced. You should consider making these your most important tasks, which boosts your self-esteem and make you feel highly productive when you complete them. Take these tasks one at a time before moving on to other lesser important tasks to better prioritize your work.

    Establish a morning routine

    It is imperative to keep it simple and follow it as a regime each day. Some start it with jogging and having a cup of green tea thereafter. Whereas some prefer getting up early, meditating, and reading books for focus, concentration, and a balanced state of mind. These practices vary from one individual to another, but in the long run, make you a smarter person who values his/her time.

    Block your calendar

    Timeboxing is important when you want to focus on work. This will give you time to get your work done better while ensuring you can avoid unwanted distractions. If your organization provides a calendar where you can assign tasks to yourself along with a reminder then there is nothing better than it. You do not have to take the hassle of remembering and memorizing things or writing them down separately in your diary. The best option is, if your work is repetitive and you know the tasks to be achieved in a month, you can make the prior monthly plan and work accordingly.

    Respond quickly-responding to people right away is a great habit, and very appreciated by clients.  If an email requires a response, responding immediately after reading the mail thoroughly helps you get the task off your list. If someone wishes to talk to you regarding something, try to contact them within 24 hours. This sounds professional and clients get the impression that you are serious about the work you do. Hence reliability factor increases.

    Measure your results, not your time 

    You must list everything you accomplish during the day. This will help you feel motivated and have a sense of completion. Your accomplishments are right in front of you and you can better judge and anticipate how long similar tasks may take in the future.

    Make meetings productive

    A company organizes meetings from time to time to discuss events and issues, which is very necessary, and going into them with proper preparation and planning can help them be more effective. Having a focused approach is always helpful and smart. Working hard for meetings is not suggestive.

    Enhance your communication skills 

    Enhancing and developing your communication skills can help you work smarter. For this, you must have active listening skills, and a deeper understanding of what to speak where, and how. For example, when you’re writing an email to your supervisor, keep it crispy and short.

    Allow yourself smaller breaks- Timebox your tasks and give yourself small breaks from time to time so as to work better. Following this routine will help you stay motivated and focused on your task.

    One task at a time

    While the concept of multitasking has become very common nowadays, the primitive concept of accomplishing one task at a time still rules. If you want to work smart, focus on one task at a time and then move on to the next task. This will make each task perfect and justice be done to each task.

    Practice stress management techniques 

    Practice stress management techniques, like reading, meditating, listening to music, etc. At the workplace “fun at work,” activities may help boost the morale of the employees and instill joy among them. These strategies help decrease the stress that can have an impact on your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. These techniques can directly impact your work performance. Although hard to put into practice, these are the smarter ways to be successful in the long run.

    Ask questions

    If you have an issue with a certain task, consider asking someone for help as soon as you come across it, whether it’s your immediate supervisor or a team member you think might know the answer. Although you may think that it’s more rewarding to resolve the issue yourself and you will eventually arrive at the answer by research and brainstorming, immediately seeking help will help you find the solution quicker, which will allow you to accomplish the task in less time, and in a better way. It can also help your coworkers, with the same query.

    Schedule tasks to match your energy

    in order to complete tasks efficiently, consider trying to align the energy they require with your own energy. For eg, if you’re more effective in the morning, try to schedule your crucial or time-intensive tasks during the first half of the day. If you feel a lack of energy during the later part of the day, you can schedule tasks that are more easier and fun to do, so you are not totally exhausted or drained when calling off a day.

    Say no more often

    Smart workers prioritize their work first and foremost. Suppose you are working on a project, and your coworker asks for help with a different project than yours,  learn to politely refuse and offer help when you are done with your one.

    Being smarter and flexible in work has many benefits both in your personal and professional lives.  As soon as the habit of smart working develops, our managing skills and sense of belonging to large teams should develop too. Being systematic and adapting quickly to new channels of communication goes a long way in determining your position in the long run.

    How hard work and smart work is important in our personal lives?

    To succeed in life, one has to consistently work hard, learn, unlearn, relearn and become a smart worker. As you proceed in life you will find a greater sense of purpose and meaning in your life. Nowadays, new gadgets are discovered to make our everyday chores easier. The time saved as a result works as an opportunity to complete other important tasks. If you do not work smart your hard work will never pay off. 

    Siddhartha Basu

    Siddhartha Basu is a Technical Writer and Senior Virtual Assistant at Task Virtual. He is proud of being VA, advising clients and processing their tasks virtually. Besides, he loves online games, e-book reading, and Yoga.