Being a workaholic does not get more work done, it simply guarantees more time spent working. As leaders, we already know it’s what gets done that matters rather than how much time was spent doing it. Right? It’s results that matter. Spending more time finishing than doing happens with planning. Our deliberate choices allow us to focus our energy where it’s needed, thus avoiding losing more time and energy than we use. The very skills and considerations that are necessary to achieve a work-life balance provide the means to do that, to work smarter. Working smart rather than hard, which typically results in working too long, is what enables us to find that balance. It’s by being proactive rather than reactive that we can stay ahead of the curve, not only prepared for what may come but aware of the possibilities. By considering the possibilities, when we focus on the whole as well as the goal, our priorities become clear.
“It’s not how hard you work, it’s how smart you work.” — John C. Maxwell
You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do, and you won’t be a good leader is you’re too busy to lead. One of our leadership skills is prioritization and that ability to ascertain what needs to be done is the key to working smarter. Nicole Fallon, of Business News Daily concurs, saying “smart leadership is about making the most of your work hours by learning to delegate, prioritize, and simplify.” Build support into your workflow, ensuring others know what you’re working on and vice versa so that no one is ever left as the last wo/man standing. One of the traps we fall into as leaders is the instinct to oversee everything yet that can become an issue of control which can limit your team’s productivity while spreading your own too thin. The responsibility of leadership is to empower others, and we should be guiding our team toward their goals; attempting to oversee everything ourselves is management and can become micromanagement.
“People are smarter than you think. Give them a chance to prove themselves.” — Tim Ferris
While it is important to be accessible, and even more so as deadlines near, it’s as important to trust your team. Delegation is not only an opportunity for them to shine but should play to their strengths, with the bonus of allowing everyone to focus on progress. Focus is critical; dividing up your time, not leaving your email open, and setting all other tasks aside can drastically reduce the time it takes to complete each task. Whereas a work-life balance is often presumed to be a myth, it’s multitasking that should be in question. What we consider multitasking is really just a constant change of focus. “It is far better to make progress in one area than to make little or none in five,” says executive coach Tasha Eurich. There’s also the issue of diminishing returns as, the longer we work, the less we tend to accomplish – quantity can decrease quality. Quality isn’t achieved with time but focus so it becomes a matter of not overthinking or giving in to distraction.
“Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.” — Seth Godin
If nothing is worth doing unless it’s difficult, the last thing we should be doing is making it more difficult. Our projects deserve progress and we deserve the saner schedule that comes with working smarter. By thinking ahead but not overthinking throughout, delegating not delaying, planning without procrastinating, simplifying instead of stressing, and making progress rather than seeking perfection, we can avoid adding obstacles to our path. Just as obstacles can be approached with a START, efficiency is achieved through being SMART and they work together: Going from Start with what you know, Take it one step at a time, Assess what you can do, Reassess what needs to be done, and Think outside the box or – better yet – Throw the box away, to Start with what you know, Manage the steps as you go, Assess, Reassess, and Throw that box away.
“The benefits of working smart are profound: better health, often more money, a great work/life balance, more energy, a better self-esteem, exceptional productivity, and satisfaction with work.” — Ron Alvesteffer
-California Center for Economic Initiatives works at the grassroots levels to support leaders by building an infrastructure where budding leaders can access information and resource on growing their community projects.
-Article Written By Dorian Dorey