Difference between Hard Work and Smart Work

Key difference: Hard Work is when one does some work dedicatedly. Smart work is when someone does the same amount of work, but faster and more efficiently.

Most self-help gurus will advocate this fact, that in order to succeed, one must work hard at it. They may even say that you must give it your all from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. While this is true, it can also be said that someone might be able to the same amount of work in less amount of time, by working smarter and more efficiently.

One way of differentiating between hard work and smart work is to say that hard workers:

  • Work hard but at the end of the day wonder what their contribution was.
  • Work hard but don’t feel like they are getting the recognition they deserve.
  • Work hard but rarely feel like they accomplished anything
  • Work hard but they still have an endless to do list

On the other hand, smart workers aim to accomplish SMART Goals:

  • S- Specific
  • M- Measurable
  • A- Attainable
  • R- Result Oriented
  • T- Time Bound

According to this definition, a smart worker is someone who knows what needs to be done, has measurable and attainable goals that need to provide results in a timely manner. Basically, someone who knows what needs to be done, as well as the best way to do it and does it.

It can be said that hard work means to work tediously in the same old manner and technique, whereas smart work is to change the manner and technique in which the work is done, in order to improve productivity. It can also be said that hard work means using the same thoughts and ideas that had been utilized before, while a smart worker would try to use those ideas in a newer manner to come up with new and innovating idea of their own to improve productivity.

One way to turn hard work is to note the impact that their work is having. If one is working the whole time, but does not have anything to show for it then maybe it’s time to work smarter. Instead of working all the time, set time blocks when certain work needs to be completed by. Set goals and deadlines. Prioritize, so that the most important tasks get done and time is not wasted on things that could be done later on.

However, there are some naysayers who claim that there is no substitute for hard work, and that smart work is shortcuts that people come up with. Yet, smart work is proven to work. If you can achieve the same amount of work, in the same time, how can that be a shortcut? And even if it is, isn’t it a better alternative.

Comparison between Hard Work and Smart Work:

 

Hard Work

Smart Work

Description

Spending a lot of time doing a lot of things

Spending less amount of time doing the right things

Orientation

Quantity oriented

Quality Oriented, goal oriented

Manner of Work

Tedious work in the traditional way

Work in a creative way to get more results

Ideas

Using same old ideas in the same old manner

Using old ideas in newer ways to get more benefit

Or generating new and better ideas

Objectives

  • Work hard but at the end of the day wonder what their contribution was.
  • Work hard but don’t feel like they are getting the recognition they deserve.
  • Work hard but rarely feel like they accomplished anything
  • Work hard but they still have an endless to do list

SMART Goals:

  • S- Specific
  • M- Measurable
  • A- Attainable
  • R- Result Oriented
  • T- Time Bound
Reference: AagileLeanLife, Ronalvesteffer, Singh4u
Image Courtesy: quotesgram.com, luckscout.com

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