Yes, you read it right.

Work harder, not smarter? This sounds counter-intuitive considering there are tons of sound advice out there recommending us to work smarter, not harder.

While I see the point of working smarter, I do see people under-estimate the value of “working harder”. I see people rant the phrase “work smarter, not work harder” everywhere.

The quote is with good intent. However, if it’s ranted without care, it’s easily perceived that working hard is something bad or no longer valid.

That’s not true to me.

In this post today, I’ll explain why you should work hard too.

Working smart sounds good but…

Unless you live in the cave, you should hear the phrase “work smarter, not harder” once…or maybe twice. If you’re “lucky” enough, you may hear this phrase a lot that it becomes your daily mantra.

I’ll be honest. I like the quote.

Working smart is to do the work in a smart way so that we can bring the same output (or better output ) without working harder.

It makes perfect sense. Who on earth does not want to be smarter but there are some problems

1. Many of us are not born smart

Let’s face it. You can’t be smart by saying “I’ll be smart”.

You can’t look at the problem and tell “let’s solve it the smart way”. You need to have experience, knowledge, data to back up your “smart” solution.

You can only find smart solution until you work hard enough to realize what problem you have.

You can only find smart solution until you failed enough by working hard on something.

You can be smart but it takes time.

2. Working smarter or cheating better?

Maybe it’s just me but I find that these days people are getting lazy.

Whatever they do something, they need to find a smart way to bring the result as fast as possible. And in an effort to bring the result fast, they start thinking of cheating.

Here’s the tricky part: They don’t even realize what they are doing is cheating. They think that’s smart because they are head of the game and they keep doing that.

It’s true that they can bring the result fast but in the long run, their results are sustainable or repeatable?

I doubt.

So be careful! Otherwise your working smart may become cheating smart.

Working hard is …smart already.

When people hear “work smarter, not harder”, they assume “smarter is better” and “work harder” is bad.

This is not entirely true. To some extent, working hard is already smart.

I’ll explain.

1. Working hard is easily noticeable

While I’m not sure about “working smart”, I can easily tell if someone is working hard.

As a junior employee or tester, it’s very important to impress your boss or employer. Of course, your final output will speak for itself but in many cases, it’s hard to tell if your output will be good or not. What you can guarantee that you’re trying your best by willing to go extra miles to do your best work. It means your hard work.

When is the last time you hear employers complain that their employees are working too hard?

Who on earth does not want a hardworking employee in the company?

2. Working hard is hard

As I mentioned above, these days people are chasing quick win and “smart way” to get the result. They don’t want to work harder because of one thing:

Now here comes your opportunity.

If all people choose the easy way, that way is now getting crowded. If you choose the hard way, you’re alone.

Take that opportunity and make it become your unbeatable advantage.

If no one takes this task because it’s hard, you should take it.

If people can go this far, you’re willing to go extra mile.

If people do a good job, you need to do excellent job.

Hope you get the point.

3. Working hard becomes “new normal”

Hard working has been one of the valuable characteristics of employee. It’s classic.

It even becomes more vital these days when companies are being hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

So many people have lost their jobs. So if you have a job to do right now, be happy yourself, show gratitude to your company, and do your best to secure the job. Of course, job secure depends on different factors but if you’re not working hard, you’re putting yourself on the blacklist.

With these said, working hard is not that bad. When you’re working hard, it’s smart already.

How to work harder…the right way?

I see a lot of people are trying to do and complete so many things during a day that they have to bring the work home, work overnight or work over the weekend.

It’s ok to do that occasionally. However, if that becomes your daily routine, it’s a big problem.

It’s not only not good for your health but also your work efficiency.

It’s not working hard. It’s killing yourself hard.

Instead, here’s my suggestion:

Pick up the most important tasks, working hard to complete during a day and go home.

Recommended read: The ONE thing

Disregard your working schedule is 9-5-5 or 9-9-6, trying to focus and work hard during your working day and then go home and do something else. This can be spending your time with your family, your kids, your self-learning.

Put yourself 100%, 150%, or 200% at work and do your best job.

That’s working hard the right way.

Side note: Working long hours doesn’t mean you’re working hard. However, if you’re working hard, working long hours is inevitable. This also means that your work-life balance will be affected but it’s a trade-off that you choose.

Final thought

When I suggest you focus on working harder, I’m not saying that you should not find a better and smarter way to do your work. Of course, when you have more experience, you’ll naturally figure out how to do your work more efficiently or smarter but it takes time.

What I’m trying to say is that if you’re new in your career path, stop worrying about “working smarter”. Instead, you should focus on “working harder” and make it become your unbeatable advantage.

Let’s make working hard great again!