Sunday, March 22, 2009

Working Hard Working Smart

I recently received a newsletter from Psychotactics on Why Working Smarter, Not Harder, is a Myth.

Here's my take on hard work versus smart work.

Working smart has three aspects. at least that is the way I see it.

(i) Assume you study real hard, burn the last-minute midnight oil and are now ready to take on the next day's maths exam. You reach the examination hall all confident to crack the exam. You open the question paper and you discover today is actually English. Not Maths. If only you had bothered to check your date sheet once before you started off. Working smart is therefore planning well and working to the plan.

(ii) In a rocket going to the outer space, the engine works the hardest. It burns furiously pushing out burnt fuel in order to escape the gravitational force of the Earth. However, that is not sufficient. You need the feedback system to continuously correct the path taken by the rocket. Both the engine Merely working hard is therefore not sufficient. You need feedback to move in the right direct. Working smart is therefore taking feedback either continuously or at discrete points.

(iii) You are asked to dig a hole. You can use your nails or you can use your spade. Spade is what is called a Simple Machine. It works on the principle of leverage. Leverage helps you do more for less. Working smart is therefore using leverage to achieve more.

To summarize, working smart is working to a plan AND taking feedback AND using leverage. Most important it does not replace hard work. It is complements hard work.

Picture courtesy: Michal Zacharzewski

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