You Can Not Work Smart If You Don’t Work Hard

I’m almost certain you’ve operated by the “Don’t work hard, work smart” slogan in some way; it is the basis of optimizing. 


We live in a digital age, where information and figures on everything you can think of are at your fingertips. Today, more than ever, the pursuit of success is a desire that many people are eager to fill. There are those who have studied others and have drawn conclusions about how to achieve this.

The main issue is that many people are seeking to be successful without working hard. The idea of “working smart” can be mostly employed to indicate that you can accomplish more with less effort and that hard work can be avoided, but this is a paradoxical statement that does not make sense when you are just starting off a venture, an idea, a business or whatever, maybe later on when this start off is big then you can now achieve more by doing less, but again that does not mean that hard work is now being avoided. 


It takes more effort to make things appear effortless.

Elegant, effortless performances are usually the result of a lot of hard-working, gritty training. Small things can become huge; simple isn’t always easy. – The Effort Paradox.

The Most Powerful Paradoxes of Life

Working Smart Does Not Replace Working Hard

One thing I’ve always liked about quotes is that a short and concise statement can convey a lot. We can see this from Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Abraham Lincoln
  • The work here is six hours to chop down a tree.
  • The smart work here is spending the first four hours sharpening the axe.
  • And the hard work here is using a very sharp axe to chop down a tree in two hours or less.

If by now you can’t see the wisdom here, let me show you something from the bible.

If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.

Ecclesiastes 10:10 NKJV

If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength; but wisdom [to sharpen the axe] helps him succeed [with less effort].

Ecclesiastes 10:10 AMP

Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.

Ecclesiastes 10:10 NLT

Again, if you still don’t get it, I doubt you know how to work smart to begin with. Lol, that was a joke, and I really really hope you at least got the joke, and if you didn’t, Lol, again.

Studies show that humor can increase your mental and physical health, improve your ability to lead and boost your attractiveness. There are many styles and theories of humor that can help you understand the subject. Humor is a vital life skill, but can it be taught?

Why A Good Sense Of Humor Is An Important life skill

In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, the debate of working smart versus working hard continues to be a topic of discussion. Some argue that working smart is the key to success, while others emphasize the importance of hard work; however, the truth is that both working smart and working hard are essential components of achieving success in any endeavor.


Working smart involves using strategic thinking, planning, and efficiency to maximize productivity and achieve goals; it involves leveraging resources, technology, and knowledge to streamline processes and optimize outcomes. Working smart also involves setting clear priorities, delegating tasks, and making informed decisions to avoid unnecessary effort and wasted time.

On the other hand, working hard is about putting in the effort, dedication, and perseverance required to achieve one’s goals; it’s about commitment, discipline, and resilience in the face of challenges and setbacks. Working hard often requires long hours, sacrifice, and a strong work ethic to push through obstacles and achieve desired results.

While working smart can lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness, it does not negate or sidestep the value of hard work. In fact, working smart and working hard are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Working smart without hard work may result in missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential while working hard without strategic thinking and efficiency can lead to burnout and diminished returns.

Successful individuals and organizations understand the importance of striking a balance between working smart and working hard; they recognize that leveraging technology, innovation, and best practices can enhance productivity and performance. At the same time, they also value the dedication, determination, and grit required to overcome challenges and achieve long-term success.

Difference Between Hard Work And Smart Work?

As stated already, let’s list the differences. Hard work and smart work are two different approaches to achieving goals and success:

The Hard Work

  • Requires lots of time and effort to accomplish a task.
  • Concentrates on dedication, persistence, and a solid work ethic.
  • Sometimes, it takes many hours of work and sometimes requires a sacrifice.
  • The emphasis is on mental and physical effort in order to finish tasks.
  • This could lead to burnout if they are not in balance with other aspects of your life.

Smart Work

  • Involves working efficiently and effectively to reach an objective.
  • It focuses on planning, strategic thinking, and optimization of resources.
  • The goal is to get the best results while avoiding unnecessary effort.
  • It emphasizes the use of technology, knowledge, and methods to optimize processes.
  • Reduces the risk of burning out by maximizing time and effort.

Working Smart And Working Hard

Obviously, the information and knowledge that are easily accessible to us at this age can help us do our work more effectively and efficiently. In starting your own company or jumpstarting your career, staying clear of many mistakes that others have gone through previously, and all of this is documented either offline or online.

If you are launching a new product or company:

  • You must develop a strategy for marketing it. 
  • You must call.
  • You have to create social media posts even if you don’t have an audience. 
  • You must conduct product demonstrations.
  • Talk with potential financiers. 
  • You have to put in the effort.

You must do the work, both smart and hard, to stand a good chance of succeeding, and you must never stop working, even after your business is operating.

Hard work is a constant, not a variable; this has always been true and will be true in years to come. 

How To Work Hard And Work Smart

It is increasingly clear that both working smart and working hard are vital components of achieving success in any field. Here are some practical tips on how to effectively work smart and work hard in a balanced manner:

Set Clear Goals

Define your short-term and long-term goals; this will help you stay focused and prioritize your tasks effectively.

Plan Strategically

Create a strategic plan that outlines the steps needed to achieve your goals. Identify key milestones and set deadlines to keep yourself on track.

Prioritize Tasks

Identify the most important tasks and allocate your time and resources accordingly; this will help you avoid wasting effort on less critical activities.

Leverage Technology

Use tools and technology to streamline processes and automate repetitive tasks; this will free up time for more strategic and creative work.

Continuously Learn

Stay updated with the latest trends and best practices in your field. Continuous learning will help you work smarter by applying new knowledge and skills to your work.

According to Freud’s theory, people will realize that the mind is never “finished” maturing or learning when one is determined to expand their horizons. Take small, big, regular steps, and attempt new challenges in the knowledge or experience that can be accumulated over time to create changes in the mind. Taking a book to read every month or traveling to a foreign place each year is a reasonable involvement. Simple, reflective practices that allow you to see how much information remains to be discovered can prove valuable. – Retain a Spirit of Lifelong Learning

Sigmund Freud’s Life Lessons Men Should Learn Early In Life

Delegate Wisely

Learn to delegate tasks that can be handled by others, allowing you to focus on high-priority responsibilities.

Practice Time Management

Use time management techniques to optimize your productivity; this may include setting specific work hours, taking regular breaks, and avoiding multitasking.

However, here’s the truth:

It’s not the limited time that’s the issue; it’s poor time management.

It is true that “time and tide wait for no one.” One must understand the importance of time for him to succeed in all areas of his life. People who do not value time are unable to establish an identity for themselves.

Why do certain people seem to have the time to complete everything they want to, while others rush between tasks and can’t seem to finish any task?

It’s not that certain people have less to accomplish. It’s more likely they’re using their time better and able to manage their time effectively.

The Importance of Effective Time Management: Tips to Increase Your Productivity

Stay Consistent and Persistent

Working hard requires dedication and perseverance. Stay committed to your goals, even when faced with challenges and setbacks.

One thing that people who fail have in common is that they do not have consistent behavior. That means that if you’re looking to succeed, you need to practice consistently, remain focused, and demonstrate more intention in the things you perform. Consistency will help you create awareness, establish trust, and provide your services with efficiency and profit; without it, your company will be more vulnerable to failure.

Why Consistency is An Important Habit

Maintain Work-Life Balance

Avoid burnout by maintaining a healthy balance between work and personal life. Take time for relaxation, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones.

In the pursuit of a fulfilling and harmonious existence, the quest for meaning and balance is essential. Finding purpose and equilibrium in life allows us to experience a sense of fulfillment, contentment, and overall well-being. By striving for meaning and balance, we can create a life that is rich in purpose, joy, and inner peace. – Strive for Meaning and Balance in Life.

Sigmund Freud’s Life Lessons Men Should Learn Early In Life

Embrace Grit

Cultivate a strong work ethic and resilience. Learn from failures, adapt to changes, and persist in the face of obstacles.

Stop Multitasking

Doing too much on the go can make it seem like you’re accomplishing a lot, but it also makes your attention too thin. The cerebral cortex can only pay attention to one thing at a time. Multitasking can strain your brain as it tries to concentrate your attention and energy on multiple things.

Take Breaks

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with what you are doing, it’s important to take a break. Attention spans diminish when you’re focused for too long, and you should plan time for relaxation in your day. In breaks, ensure that you move around and drink a glass of water; also, take a snack.

This kind of scheduling demands an understanding of time management. Set time limits for the length of time you’ll spend on a particular task, and schedule breaks may feel difficult, but the boundaries can boost your productivity.

Consider how you feel after a busy day. Do you feel motivated to achieve your goals after running errands, writing reports for your boss, or writing articles for your blog? After the day, you may want to curl up in front of the television and not do anything.

This phenomenon is called “ego depletion” by psychologists. According to the theory, willpower is linked to limited mental energy. Once that energy runs out, self-control is more difficult to maintain. This theory would explain why I indulge in after-work luxuries.

What is Ego Depletion: How can you overcome it?

Turn Off Notifications

Don’t let notifications from your WhatsApp, Facebook, Ig, and Twitter keep pinging in when you’re working; this can take your focus off of the main tasks that are in front of you and waste your time. If you’re waiting for a reply to a message, you could find it difficult to concentrate.

Turning off notifications to apps that aren’t work-related increases your productivity. The majority of smartphones have Do Not Disturb options that block notifications or DownTime; this prevents you from using social media or other apps that are not productive at certain times.

Establish A Routine And Stick To It

Finding a rhythm for your day is much easier when your day starts off smoothly. If your morning routine starts with preparing the bed, daily devotional, brushing your teeth, and washing your face, then it’s a smooth way to prepare for the flow and pattern for the type of day you want.

Andrew Huberman is a neurobiologist and an ophthalmologist at Stanford University; his credentials are impressive, and he has made important contributions to the field of brain plasticity, neurodegeneration, and brain development. His morning routine is rooted in neuroscience, which is why it’s based on what our mental, physical, and spiritual bodies require to flourish.

Andrew Huberman’s Daily Morning Routine: Explained

Do Work That You Enjoy

Obviously, do what you love; it makes all the difference. Choosing projects you are enthusiastic about will inspire you to be the best; it also helps you feel less stressed out. Of course, not all jobs will be a great fit for you, but working at a job that you enjoy gives you something you can be excited about every day and will positively affect your mental well-being.

Think about the aspects of your work that can empower you, and then make the conscious decision to take them on. If this means switching work, it might be the right time to do so.

Learn To Say “No”

Are you a people pleaser? Do you help people every time they ask for it? Sometimes, when you say yes to others, you put your needs second or last.

Learning to say “no” or even “not right now” will help you prioritize your energy and focus. If you are working to a strict deadline, you need to prioritize your job before helping other people. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t help colleagues, but you must recognize that your work has the lead.

There’s power in the simple act of saying no; however, for many of us, it’s the most difficult word to use.

It’s a fact that you will never achieve your goals if you have too many obligations. You over-stretch yourself, and you won’t achieve anything, or at the very least in a timely manner, if you say “Yes” to every request. This is why being able to say “No” is an effective way to increase productivity.

The Power Of Saying “No” for a Less Stressful Life

Be Sure To Ask Questions Early On

Instead of waiting until the last minute to address your questions or seek advice, ask early on. It can help you pinpoint and resolve any issues you may face later.

Additionally, it is important not to be exhausted trying to solve the problem on your own, and if you’re confident that your supervisor can assist you fast without seeing you as incompetent, seek guidance. This way, you can be able to complete your tasks faster and will not have to spend time looking for solutions. 

By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you can achieve a balance between working smart and working hard. Remember, success is not just about putting in long hours; it’s about working efficiently and effectively while maintaining a strong work ethic.

Working smart alongside working hard is a winning combination. Both are essential for achieving success and by combining strategic thinking with dedicated effort, individuals can maximize their potential and achieve their goals effectively.

Read More: Choose Your Hard: The Power of Making Difficult Choices

Read More: How Taking Responsibility For Your Actions Helps You Grow in the Process

Read More: The More Disruptive Your Idea, The More Successful | Disruptive Thinking and Innovation


Working smart does not replace working hard; rather, it complements it. Both working smart and working hard are essential for achieving success in any field. Remember, it’s not just about working smart or working hard; it’s about working smart AND working hard.

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