I was recently asked in one of my sessions, “Should we work hard, or should we work smart?”
I asked in response, “what do you mean by hard work and smart work?”, And there were confused looks from the audience. We were unable to reach a consensus.
I further added, “We need to define what is hard work & what is smart work.” and one thing is for sure, that people are uncomfortable with the phrase, “smart work.”
It’s because people tend to equate it to taking shortcuts, not delivering, or having thoughts other than the intended purpose.
Now in that way, people are right, but what is important is to define smart work. Suppose you want to find water on a plot of land. You start by digging at various points on your plot of land.
First, you try 500 feet, then 1000 feet and the next point 1500 feet. I try digging at various locations on an acre of land to find water. That is hard work
Did we do the work?
We did the work, and we put in the effort.
Now suppose we take some assistance from science. Using a geological survey, we strategize and plan our work. This survey helps us find water in the right spot and tells us where we should begin digging. Sure enough, soon after we start digging, we find water. All it took was one dig to find water.
That is the difference between hard work and smart work. Smart work is not cutting short on effort or taking shortcuts. It is nothing but ensuring that we orient our thoughts and minds to follow the carpenters rule; of measure twice and cut once and then, do the work.
That makes it clear that smart work is an aspect of having everything evaluated, considered, all possible outlooks are taken care of and then moving on to execution.