When I first started out in business I thought I was a hustler. I thought hustling, working 24/7 nonstop was the only way.
The more hours of work I put in the more success and money I would get, right?… I WAS WRONG!
Working harder only served to fuel my anxiety and my business ended up failing.
Throughout school/college/university we are told that hard work gets us ahead. We are told that if you put effort and focus into something, you’re going to achieve more than if you go at it in a half-hearted way. Makes sense, right? But it’s all too easy to get sucked into working long hours, ticking tasks off a list, without being all that effective or successful.
Instead of just working harder – putting in lots of hours – look for ways to work smarter.
The reality of work is that it’s all too possible to work hard, bust your ass without any recognition and still not achieve success.
Sure, you might be up to date with all your emails … but that might not bring you any closer to winning a promotion or to starting your own business.
Plus, when we’re working hard, other areas of our life get neglected. Maybe you’re working long hours but eating poorly and never exercising. It might not seem like such a bad choice at the time, but when you run into health problems a few years down the road, you’re going to wish you’d found a better balance.
Working too hard can have a really negative effect on your quality of life, too. Long hours and the pressure to keep doing more can lead to stress, burn out, depression, or just that miserable feeling of is this all there is to life?
So how can you get away from the mindset of working hard and start working smart?
1. Ask for help.
Yes, you might want to get to the top and say “I did it all myself.” I can relate to that. That’s how I started. But I soon learned that to succeed, you need to let other people help you. Read the acknowledgements in any bestselling book, and you’ll see the author giving credit to a whole host of supporters – editors, agents, friends, family.
Help can come in all sorts of forms. It might be emotional support. It might be someone taking care of the cooking or the housework so that you can focus on work. It could have a direct relation to your work – either by delegating tasks which don’t use your skills to the fullest, or by getting advice on an area which you’re struggling with on your own.Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
2. Get more sleep.
I’m always a bit iffy on those stories of people functioning on three hours of sleep while they build their business empire. Sure, they might achieve something great – but I always wonder if they’d have done even better with a full night’s rest.
If you’re doing anything remotely creative or something which requires concentration, you’re not going to be at anywhere near 100% if you’re not resting enough. That doesn’t just mean getting a good night’s sleep – it also means taking time off to relax and play.
This isn’t “wasting” time – it’s ensuring that you can be on top form during your working hours.
3. Limit your goals.
Of course, if you’re going to put first things first, that means knowing what’s really important.
Chasing multiple goals at once isn’t usually a good strategy. You might be able to manage it if your goals support one another (e.g. “eat more healthily” might give you the energy to “launch your business”), but having lots of goals generally diffuses your attention.
Rather than trying to do everything at once, pick one or two key goals each year, and focus wholeheartedly on those. It’s much better to actually accomplish a dream than to have a vague stab at lots of different things … only to end up making very little progress.
Don’t make the mistake I did when starting out in business, learn when you are most productive and how long to work for.
I hope this article helps you out and if you have any questions or simply want to reach out you can do via Twitter.