by : Thomas Oppong
There is more to success than working damn hard…everyday.
It is often said hard work is the only one way to succeed. Well, turns out you need more than just hard work.
Hard work isn’t enough to succeed in today’s world.
By all means, get it done, and become obsessed with your goal. Work hard at it, but you have to do more than working hard to succeed.
That doesn’t mean hard work has no practical value.
Working hard significantly raises your chances of success but you can’t rely soley in putting in the hours.
Hard work is important to success, but it’s dangerous to see it as the most important thing.
There has to be more to success than merely working hard, or millions of people around the world would be a lot more successful than they are!
Take a minute to think about the people you think are successful.
Now take a minute to think about people who are not so successful.
Nearly everyone at the top is hard working, but most people at the bottom are hard working too.
So, hard work is a requirement to be well off but hard work itself does not mean you will succeed.
Hard work is necessary to achieve a goal, but it is not a defining factor.
Tim Hererra writes in The New York Times, “The people at the top of any given field didn’t get there just by working hard. Yes, hard work is necessary, but just as important is being smart about the work you’re doing, and focusing on doing the things that will help you improve.”
Hard work sometimes pays off, but smart thinking combined with smart work will always pay off in the long run even if you stumble in the short term.
Working hard does not necessarily means you are being productive.
In Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg explains what it means to be productive:
“Productivity, put simply, is the name we give our attempts to figure out the best uses of our energy, intellect, and time as we try to seize the most meaningful rewards with the least wasted effort. It’s a process of learning how to succeed with less stress and struggle..”
Input vs. output
Of course, most worthwhile goals require hard work.
Sometimes they take days, weeks, even years of consistent effort.
Malcolm Gladwell argues in his book, Outliers that to become an expert, you need to put in roughly 10,000 hours (that’s three hours a day for ten years).
Success isn’t just about how long or how hard you work – it’s about what you work at. And why you keep working at it.
Is your effort moving the needle?
Success is absolutely about what you focus on and ensuring you use your time productively.
Millions of people have become too preoccupied with “the grind,” and it’s actually burning them out.
In a creative pursuit, you can work as hard as you can and still not get as far as someone who works different and on the right things at the right time.
Long hours don’t equal hard work. They just equal long hours.
What’s the story you keep telling yourself about working hard?
The time you put in has nothing to do with how hard something is.
Scott Young says hard isn’t enough to succeed in todays world.
He writes, “When working towards a goal, everyone takes a look at their inputs and then examines their results. Most people have learned to view the major input as effort. In other words, if I want to become a millionaire, I’ll need a certain amount of effort to achieve it.”
Scott argues that hard work is being replaced by three other factors that will be far more important in the future: creativity, relationships and learning.
“Effort should take a backseat to the amount of creativity, relationships or learning we require. So if you want to become a millionaire, you’ll need a certain amount of creativity, connections or understanding to get there,” says Scott.
Dont’ just work hard in isolation. Build relationships. Questions your routines, choices, and your actions. There is always a better approach to the same destination.
Constantly ask yourself, “Would this matter to anyone else but me?” If the answer to that question is yes, then ask yourself, “Is it worth my time or expense to add it or change it?”
Don’t aim for perfection. The real world rewards those who ship and get stuff done.
Focus on deep work instead of working hard on shallow work
There are endless number of things you can do to achieve a goal.
Deep work advances your goals while shallow work it is what you do to avoid real work. Shallow work rarely gets you closer to your goals.
Go for the most important tasks – the ones that cause the highest impact.
Many of us confuse being “busy” with being effective, or efficient.
If you start your day by answering emails. You could get sucked into answering questions, replying to every email, and advancing the cause of other people’s actions.
Being efficient at the wrong pursuit is not the same as being effective at the right tasks. The two are not the same.
Someone who works hard or smart and is well organised but spends all their time on unimportant tasks may be efficient but not effective.
Time is finite, and there are only so many hours in the business day. So the trick to working smarter is simple: Work more efficiently.
To be effective, you need to be able to separate important tasks from urgent ones and focus on getting important activities done when you are most active.
Managing your time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks into your day as possible. It’s about simplifying how you work, doing things better and faster, and knowing when to take a break and refresh.
Don’t get caught up in reactive mode.
“Most of us have no problem with being busy, but we’re often busy on the wrong things,” says Angie Morgan, co-author of Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success. “You could spend nine to five just emailing, but that’s not driving results or moving you toward longer, bigger goals. When people say, ‘I’m so busy,’ it really means, ‘I’m a poor planner,’ or, ‘I don’t know how to prioritize or delegate,” Angie argues.
If you know how motivation works, you will know it comes in bursts and waves.
It’s not possible to maintain a 100% full motivated state every single second. Hence, you need to create/leverage on your environment to maintain your flow.
Use the 80/20 rule to your advantage.
The rule says that 20% of the causes gives 80% of the effects. So always spend your attention on the top 20% things which give the most returns.
Take the 80/20 route.
There are always many different ways to achieve the same outcome.
80/20 route refers to the route that takes the least effort but gives you the maximum results. What’s the most effective route that will get you from where you are to where you want to be? Take that path.
Measure results to improve work efficiency!
Review your routines regularly.
Do a regular review of what you have done in the past week and the corresponding results.
Then analyze the things that are working and the things that aren’t working. With the former, keep them; with the latter, remove them.
Very soon you will have a very streamlined list of things that work.
Burnout is real.
It stresses you out, costs you money, and damages your health.
Being truly effective (and not just working hard) is the result of strategic thinking, focus, and carefully applied mental or physical muscle.
Make time in your schedule to relax daily, weekly, and monthly.
Don’t let your hard work stand in the way of your success.
The work you purposely choose to do should make your work life stronger and better–not just busier and stressful.
Before you go…
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Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com