Work Smarter, Not Harder

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to do everything in less time? Wanting to take on that extra project? Hoping to get to that end goal without burning out? In this article, we look at the concept of working smarter, not harder.

Reading time: 4 minutes
By eliatra


The one ultimate limited resource that we cannot make more of; Valuable, precious, irreplaceable time. We all want more time, and many of us endeavour to achieve more in less time.
The saying “Work Smarter, Not Harder” originated in the 1930s from Allen F. Morgenstern, an industrial engineer and the creator of the work simplification program. The program’s intent was to increase the ability of people to produce more with less effort.
One of the largest consumers of our time and energy is working, on average individuals spend 1600 hours per year working. Average working hours per year.
“Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is home because they figured out a faster way.” – Jason Fried
Each day you work hard, you know you do, getting things done, and taking on new tasks or projects, working on your commute. Your workplace knows it, and your mind and body most certainly know it as well.

Hard Work

So, you aren’t afraid of hard work but now you feel the need to work even harder. Do you have the capacity to work more? Are you able to juggle all those spinning plates? What if instead of working harder, you just worked smarter?
The majority would admit that they could be more efficient, it is natural to develop routines, and bad habits, not using tools, we have to make things easier because we prefer it our way. It is human nature to at times be distracted, unfocused and tired.
In order to be efficient and effective, utilising the tools and resources around us is essential as using these enable you to work smarter, not harder. The questions below are a starting point to get you assessing the tools or resources you need, this may not be applicable in all working places however the basis of the questions can be applied to most situations:
    What is the outcome trying to be achieved?
    What is the path to this outcome?
    Is there a better way to attain the same outcome?
    Is there anything I can do to make this better?
Understanding the tools and resources you could be using is a great start in becoming more efficient.

Working Smarter is a Must

If someone told you that you could have more time, why wouldn’t you take it? You should, and you can.
Working smarter optimises your time and values your energy. It helps you waste less energy and time and gives you more time for what is important, whilst becoming the most efficient and effective version of yourself in the workplace.

More Time Means

    Time for rest (Sleep is goldust)
    Time for family and friends (improved work life balance)
    Time for escapism (improves mood, boosts creativity, pupose)
    Time for yourself (improves and maintains motivation, avoids burnout)

How to Work Smarter

There is lots of documentation about there about how to work smarter. Here is a list to get you started. Working is very personal and you know what already works (and doesn’t) for yourself. This list is for inspiration and should be adapted individually.
    Prepare, ask all the questions.
    One thing at a time, do not multitask.
    Utilise tools, software and resources - make your life easier.
    Prioritise and batch complete tasks.
    Time Management, block out time, take breaks.
    Planning, based on energy levels and productivity.
    Communication - Communicate effectively and efficiently.
    Do Not Disturb Mode - ON
    Take another break.
    Walk / Exercise - get outdoors.
    Change your thinking - bad 5 minutes, not a bad day.
    Know when to stop/quit.
    Routine, stick to it but constantly improve it.
    Boundaries, No is a full sentence.
    Enjoy what you do.


Remember like anything, things will not change overnight. The concept and strategies of working smarter and harder will take time to practise and perfect, it’s not one size fits all, you will need to experiment, fail and succeed in order to find your own way, some of the suggestions may not work for you, and that is fine, find your own way.
“All things are difficult before they are easy.” – Thomas Fuller
You know what works for you and what doesn’t, at the end of the day it is your time and energy you are trying to make more of, no one else’s, so instead of working harder all the time, work harder in order to work smarter.
Take control of your time, it’s never coming back.
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