Make Hard Work Count With “Smart Work”

April 7, 2016

Russ Ewell

What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.

– Dwight Eisenhower

Christina Wodtke uses this Eisenhower quote in her book Radical Focus. This quote sums up my personal failure to work smart, and I tie it directly to my emotionalism.

Emotion is one of, if not the most powerful force at work in our daily lives. Whether we are giving our emotions free rein or suppressing them, they are a powerful force.

Something our emotions lead us to do is focus on the urgent at the expense of the important.

When we focus on the urgent instead of the important, we might be working hard, but this effort cannot compensate for our failure to work smart. We must all learn to maximize the impact of our hard work by working smart. If you are like me, one path toward an improved quality of life, and greater productivity without increasing stress is to work smarter.

Here are my top reading recommendations for developing a smart work ethic!

  1. The Effective Executive – this classic tome is deep substance about “smart work”
  2. The 12 Bad Habits That Hold Good People Back – Chapter Three, “Doing Too Much, Pushing Too Hard.
  3. Deep Work – this book has done the most to help me work smart of anything I have read in the last 5 years, although I am still chasing the vision.
  4. 5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Work Smarter not Harder – Unlike the books above, this is an article about pace (in my opinion), and the importance of taking breaks to sustain focus.
  5. We Need to Work Smarter, Not Harder – Another article, but with a focus on managing your time.
  6. Working Hard is Not Enough, 18 Ways to Work Smarter –  Comprehensive article and sure to give you 3-5 ideas of how you can transform your life by developing a “smart work ethic”
  7. Work Smarter Not Harder: 17 Great Tips – I like this Time Magazine list best, so saved it for last, because it covers everything in 1-6 succinctly.

There is no way for one individual to teach another person to work smart, so I hope you avail yourself of these and other resources and work hard to develop your own customized “smart work ethic.”