How to Work Smart and Hard

How to Work Smart and Hard

How to Work Smart and Hard 880 461 Nathaniel Seevers

Work Smart and Hard – Imagine what you could accomplish

I always remember the saying, “work smart, not hard.” My granddad used to tell me that despite the hard work he put in – long hours as a steelworker. I wore the “work smart, not hard” mantra like a cape all through school and it worked out pretty well.

Except for in math class. We won’t talk about math class.

As I got older though and began to pay attention to the leaders I respected and how their efforts related to the things I wanted to accomplish I thought back on the “work smart, not hard” philosophy. But instead of trying to figure out new and better ways to implement that strategy I thought, “imagine what could I accomplish if I do both.”

Now, in the midst of growing a young company, working smart and working hard is a must for meeting goals. Technology makes it pretty easy to work smart. Focus, inspiration, self-awareness and self-discipline make it easier to work hard. Here are some thoughts on both.

Work Smart

  1. Stay connected: I feel naked without my iPhone so when I’m struggling to wring the last bit of juice out of the battery I panic. Battery packs like Mophie, or HyperJuice if you have a lot to charge,  allow me to always carry a charge in my laptop case – even when there’s no outlet. For staying connected with a virtual team there are tools like Skype, Google Hangout and now Sqwiggle for timely communication.
  2. Sync up: If you run on iCloud or apps like Dropbox that allow you sync content across devices, take advantage of it. Store document templates and presentations, logo and other files you know you’ll use frequently.
  3. Make staying organized enjoyable: Personally, I use an app called 30/30 for iPhone and iPad to build simple task lists for myself. Within the app, I create a master list of things I need to remember to do. From there I create a list for each day of the week with items I’d like to accomplish on that particular day. 30/30 is my pick because it has a well-designed interface and only the features I need with no fluff. Both make it efficient and enjoyable to use. The key is to find apps and tools that amplify your strengths and style of working. Here’s a great list of productivity apps to kick off your search.
  4. Build Islands – Take time to recharge. Get up from the desk. Take a walk. Get inspired. I not only use 30/30 to stay organized, I use it to schedule breaks in my day. When you’re able to smartly place islands in your day you get more from those breaks and the work times in between. Read more about islands and margins in your workday here.

Work Hard

  1. Identify Triggers – What gets you focused, on a roll or in the zone? Surround yourself with those things.  Do you work best with background noise or music or in complete silence? Better alone or with strangers in a coffee shop? Maybe you can’t get settled without a great cup of coffee. Plan ahead to make the most of your time and get your best work in during your best hours. If you use a service like Rdio build your playlists the night before instead of when you could be checking off tasks.
  2. Eliminate distractions – On the flip side understand where you lose focus and get away from those unnecessary distractions. Turn off the sound on your email if you check it every time you get a new one. Same with notifications on your phone if Facebook and Twitter equal shiny, distracting social things.
  3. Prepare for downtime – If you find yourself without internet or a power source can you still get work done? Keep a notebook and pen on hand for writing your next blog post in situations like this, or maybe use that time to make a list of 5 people you should network within your city or 5 organizations you’d like to make part of your philanthropic efforts.

How do you help yourself work smart and put forth your best effort? Share your tips with us in the comments section.

Photo credit: Pascal

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