The other side of hard work and why you might want to change your approach to work

  • It is a common belief that Hard work is the only honest means of achieving success; a direct opposite of all the dishonest shortcuts that people partake in to reach their goals in life. Indeed there's some kind of honour attached to this mentality and to those who live by it.

    For some, hard work means grit; doing all the hard things day in day out and pushing harder whatever it takes.

    To others, it means embracing the dirty work, the unpleasantness that comes with it and not looking for an easier way out.

    Whatever hard work means to you, there may be some serious problems with this mentality and approach to work and life.

    Longer hours, more thrash

    To be hard working often means to have longer hours of work. Many self-acclaimed hard workers are workaholics who pride themselves on the number of hours they put in every day. But the irony with working longer hours is that you tend to produce a lot of trashy results. Continuously producing trashy results gives you the false impression that you're moving ahead and keeps you very tired all the time.

    The truth is, the progress you achieve from work is not in anyway directly proportional to the number of hours you put in. Most likely, it will end up being the direct opposite. Parkinson's Law comes to mind here.If the shorter the time you allocate to a task, the quicker you finish it, it stands to reason that the fewer number of hours you work, the quicker you achieve your goals.

    Now it's easy to see why this is the case. With fewer hours, you have fewer distractions. You have to cut out on the wasteful, time consuming and energy sapping things you engage in and focus on the ones that truly matter to achieving your goal. When you insist on digging it for 60 hours per week, you're more likely going to experience time passing quickly than you're going to experience any progress.

    No rest, no progress

    Most hard workers hate to take breaks, it's an affliction that I'm not immune to myself. You feel you don't deserve the rest until you reach a certain milestone even though your body and mind is begging for it. You march on bravely, more and more becoming like a zombie, your work lacking in grace, intelligence and finesse, while it takes you a terribly long time to achieve anything.

    When you take periodic breaks from work, you don't just renew your energy and focus, you refuel your motivation, which we already know it's a depletable resource.You get fresh perspectives and insights about your work.By the time you get back, doing your best work becomes effortless once again.

    Smart work: the working mentality of super achievers

    Smart work is the minimalist approach to work. Smart workers work fewer hours on fewer things and rest when they need it, yet, they get to achieve their goals faster and easier. Hard workers and smart workers are all after the same result, they're just attracted to different routes.

    While the hard workers prefer the longer, thorny, more stressful path, the smart workers engage his brain power to reach the destination in a fraction of the time. Smart workers are more likely going to achieve their goals and make more money than hard workers. They're also more likely to grow and advance in their jobs.

    While it's Ok to take longer to achieve your goals and take pride in being called a hard worker, the question is, are you relying on your motivation to stick by you while you take all the time in the world?

    When you imagine your life 10 years from now, do you see yourself in almost the same place with nothing but work, work, and more work to show for it, or do you see yourself a different person who has achieved the goals you set out to achieve?

    Choose wisely who you'd rather be; a hard worker or a smart one.

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