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Working Smart: 3 Unconventional Tips

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Although the concept of working smarter not harder has been around for a very long time it was Allen F. Morgenstern an industrial engineer who coined the term “work harder not smarter” back in the year 1930. Today you can find billions of books and blog posts dedicated to the topic. Searching the phrase “work harder not smarter” in Google returns 52,900,000 results in 0.96 seconds, (fifty-two million nine hundred thousand). This blog post is not an effort to add to the bulk but shares three unconventional principles I practice for working smarter.

Be a “One Master Dog”

Sixteen years ago, I interned in a local church under the supervision of my Seminary. It was not clear however to whom I was accountable. Whether to seminary or the church. One day the Senior Pastor of that church learned I design websites and told me to design one for the church. I started the work without speaking with my immediate supervisor at the seminary. Long story short I messed up because I was overloaded with work and that Pastor talked about how I failed to deliver for the next 15 years until he died last year.

I later spoke about it with my supervisor at the seminary and he pointed out the mistake I made was being one dog with many masters. My point is always seeing to it that you are a “One Master Dog” meaning that you don’t have many bosses but one. If someone who is not your boss wants you to do something or needs your help politely direct them to your immediate supervisor, manager, or whoever has the authority to tell you what to do. Too many cooks spoil the soup and too many bosses will spoil your work.

Write it Down Always

At around the same time I worked in the seminary one of my Mentors advised me to write down all the work I do on a particular day in a journal. It was one of the best pieces of advice I received ever, and I am advising you to do the same. Evaluating that list at the end of the day helps you figure out how well you have managed your time, recognize, and reorganize your priorities and hold yourself accountable as well. Above all, it will come in handy in case you want to request a salary increment or your boss wants to know what you are doing.

At the start, I used a manual approach with a journal. As time went by, I realized it’s not the most efficient method and switched to many automated methods like software programmes made to serve that exact purpose. There are many software and apps out there that you can use to keep a record of the work you do but I recommend Jibble. It’s cloud-based software meaning your records are accessible from anywhere in the world. It has apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS as well. They offer a free edition if you are worried about the cost.

Honour Your Sabbath

Simply put take a day off. As men, we are often driven by our passion to achieve. It’s not wrong but overdoing it isn’t smart. Work six days a week as much as you can and set the day left as your sabbath and guard it with your life. My day off is Monday and I don’t even answer the phone or reply to texts because if I don’t honor my Sabbath myself how can I expect others to do so? Of course, there are occasional exceptions but working on your day off shouldn’t become a regular occurrence.

In addition to a sabbath or a day off I also take legit breaks while at work. As a desk jockey, I remain seated for many hours while at work. Breaks allow my mind and body to rest in addition to boosting my productivity. Among the other benefits are the opportunity to stretch my fatigued muscles, get comfort from prolonged positions and postures, and retain any information I learned in the previous hour or so. You can even consider a killer nap. Don’t feel guilty for taking a day off or breaks while at work. As Bob Goff says, rest is holy!

Wrap Up

Working smarter, not harder, is the key to increased productivity. Working intelligently increases productivity and creativity while conserving energy for the things that matter most, such as your family. If you looked closely, you would know that some of the top entrepreneurs in the world are individuals known for working smarter not harder. The bottom-line is You should work to live, not the other way around. It is my hope the three principles I shared with you today will help you do just that.


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