Why You Should Work Smart, Not Hard

June 12, 2007

How much harder would you have to work to earn an extra $50 a day? How about $100 or $500 more? Why is this an important question to ask? Because there are only 24 hours in a day and we don’t want to spend them all working!

Your Precious Time
Your time is valuable. Once it’s used up, you’ll never get it back. In today’s world, we spend a lot of time working to provide for ourselves and our families. If we can find ways to earn more money in smaller amounts of time then we can have more time to live. We can often accomplish the same end result with much less work if we work smart instead of working hard.

Smart Questions
Working smart is often the result of asking yourself the appropriate questions.

Should I be working on this in the first place?
What value do you get from the task you’re working on? If you’re working your fingers to the bone for a measly outcome, should you even be spending your time on it? What are your other options? If you decide you’re not working smart then make some changes.

Is there a better way to do it?
Could you change the process you use for the things you’re working on? What takes the longest or is the most frustrating about your task? What is one thing you could change to make it go more quickly, easily, or profitably?

How are other people doing the same thing?
Find people that are doing the same type of thing faster and better. Do they use a whole different strategy? What about their approach is “smart”? What allows them to get the same thing done with higher quality in less time?

Hard Work is Good For You
Hard work is not a bad thing. Most successful people work very hard for their achievements. Hard work is the driving force behind most success and helps you appreciate that success when it comes. However, if you have the option of working hard or smart, which would you rather do?

Hard Work as a Substitute
I am a hard worker. I often fall asleep at the keyboard in the middle of the night because there is always one more thing I want to do. This work ethic has gotten me far in life but I wonder if it has also held me back.

Often times I find myself working hard because I don’t know exactly what I’m doing, the best way to do it, or what I’m trying to accomplish. I throw myself into something head first and after enough work, success comes out the other end. Although I get positive results, I find myself working most of the time with this approach. So I ask myself, am working hard because I’m not working smart? If I was smart about my decisions, could I accomplish the same result with less work?

Smart Resources
Here are some books that can help us examine why and how we work. These books look at ways to become more strategic about how we select work and more efficient in getting things done:

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey [Audio]

Getting Things Done by David Allen [Audio]

4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss [Audio]


Will this article help you save or earn more money? Get others like it simply by entering your email address below. Your email is used only for delivering daily money tips and you can opt out of delivery at any time. Click here to see all your free subscription options.


Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

All posts by


7 Responses to Why You Should Work Smart, Not Hard

  • Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey

    Great information!

    It’s so easy to fill every minute and hour up with hard work in the effort to make more money or get a head in life. Perhaps the smart thing to do is, like you said to ask the right questions.

    Some of the time that is spent working overtime, can be spent looking for ways to achieve the same or better results while working less or working easier.

    Great post, you hit the nail right on the head!


  • Simon Carpenter

    Hey guys, you are right about the smart thing. Have any of you heard of Work Wise UK (www.workwiseuk.org)? They are holding National Commute Smart Week between October 28 and November 3.

  • Ben

    An instructor in one of my project management courses proposed that everything in life is a project that can be managed and optimized. I think he’s right that everything can be optimized but you can only focus on improving one thing at a time so start with the big stuff first.

  • MoneyNing

    I think at some point in your life, you really want to see if there’s anything you can do to gain efficiency. There are many things that you cannot increase efficiency in (like problem solving or writing your blogs posts), but there must be many other routine things you do in life that you can try to spend less time by optimizing.

  • Q at $1 Million to My Name

    Blogging – there’s something that I’m just doing out of pure enjoyment. I don’t know if I’m working smart, I have applied no SEO to my site – I’m just writing. Perhaps I should work smarter in this arena.

    Congrats on 600 Feedburner subscribers!

  • GradGirl

    Good thoughts. I agree with you! Efficiency is the name of the game.


  • Free Money Finance