>  Blog   >  Why you should work hard AND smart

“I wish I were a millionaire. Those people have it lucky.”

I’m sure most of you secretly tell yourself this. But the problem is, you never see the hidden struggles of what it actually took in order to succeed. You only see the money.

Most millionaires as we know it aren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouths, or heir to some outrageous empire. They still work hard to achieve their goals. And like most other people, they’re likewise lost. Nothing in their life is certain, not even wealth and success.

People say the key to success is working hard. It’s true but only to a certain extent. If all you do is work hard, you’re basically just a machine. All your energy, your time and effort is spent finishing task after task.

The key is to work hard and smart at the same time.

Working smart means finding a better approach to how you work — sometimes that may include hiring the right people for tasks you know nothing about, purchasing tools to save you time on labor, or doing things in the most efficient way possible.

The best example would be a bricklayer — would a smart bricklayer haul one brick after another up a hill, or would a smart bricklayer invest in a cart or dolly that’ll allow them to transport multiple bricks in one go?

That said, it’s likewise just as important to work hard as it is to work smart. A bricklayer who spends all his time trying to “hack the system” is unlikely to ever complete the task in the first place.

You need a balance of both.

As a ex-recruiter, I used to deal with spreadsheets all the time. I’d track the time spent for each interview, the budget allowed for particular candidates, and make a record of their work experience for that week.

I used to do this manually, because that’s what we were taught. We were trained to “follow the system” because that’s what had worked. Work consisted of sitting behind a desk, 8 hours a day, crunching numbers and doing data entry, day after day.

As I progressed up the ranks and was held responsible for more and more candidates each month, my workload became overwhelming and staggering. I’d be buried in work trying to meet deadlines and often stayed overtime.

As work increasingly got out of hand, I knew I needed a solution. I opened my internet browser and for the first time in my life, I learned how to code marcos and VBA scripts on Excel. I began automating everything that had a pattern.

It took 3 days to learn how it all worked. It was well worth it, because the time I had saved far outweighed the 3 days I’d spent learning Excel scripting. Pretty soon, my work days became shorter. And what had originally taken me a full week to complete my task now took a day at most.

The Takeaway

If you’re feel like you’re stuck doing something tedious in your life, take some time to reflect upon it. Find and discover if there are ways to make it easier. Explore, innovate, be creative. Look for any ‘hack’ to improve your lifestyle while working hard at it and eventually, you’ll reach your goals.

I can’t say this advice will help you become the millionaire that you want to be, but at least it’s a start towards what you want.

It’s advice I follow myself and it’s worked well for me. I still work hard, I still persist to achieve my dreams, but whenever it’s possible to take shortcuts without compromising the quality of the product, I’ll be smart.

I’m rebuilding my life by discovering who I am, learning what I’m capable of after a 9 year heartbreak that left me stranded in China.

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