Work Smarter, Not Harder

Work smarter not harder

I was writing a comment on this article.  The article was about being a type A personality and it inspired me to kind of dig deeper because this guy was writing about how he has like 3 jobs and is a perfectionist and easily works 16-17 hour days. And he was kind of promoting this as a normal thing to aspire for. That he was type A personality, a perfectionist that demanded so much from himself.

I was short and sweet with my comment but was basically like, “You need balance, dude! Work smarter, not harder!”

We live in a work culture that takes advantage of these types of people and pits the work horses against everyone else for the sake of production.  We don’t need to be promoting this type of behavior. Honestly, the writer was essentially sacrificing his relationships and health in the long term for more money short term. And that to me does not seem like a good deal.  I guess he had to think it over, but he eventually commented back that he was only working this hard to build for his future for his finance and cut down his debt and that he agreed that this current workload was not sustainable.

It really did make me think about the type of people I often find in my workplace vs the type of employee I wanted to be.

There are really 3 types of workers:

Lazy workers- Typical worker, makes up a majority of today’s work force. Doesn’t care to improve or grow professionally.  Happy with their slice of pie, only thinking about their salary increases and benefits. Looks at investments and business opportunities as too risky.

Hard workers- Time is money and these people tend to follow paper like it’s the gospel to life. They sacrifice all their personal relationships, free time, hobbies to work. These work horses generally are high earners in their company but leverage their salary for more responsibility and more hours. They are also adverse to risk and are only going to consider investments and business endeavors if it will reap quick money.

Smart workers- leverage their experience and time for more money. Unlike hard workers, who sacrifice time for money in positions that they are easily replaced in, smart workers focus on long term career growth ands specialize in niche areas that will be of great use and high demand. Or they recognize their unique experience to be valuable and come up with a business idea that blows up.

I think the difference between the three workers is really just attitude. The lazy worker is the worst, they are not really able to see beyond themselves and their long term contributions to their work. They don’t have the ambition or drive to give extra and see what it reaps. They often hold the belief that they are hard working enough and that they should get better pay for just being there. They often exhibit bad habits like lateness, lack of detail, lack of effort, a disinterest in the work.

My previous receptionist was this type of worker, I had mentioned her in a previous post. Her issue was that she knew the work but would “pretend” to forget or not know in order to lighten her workload. Over time this worked she had the easiest role in the office, leaving at 6 when me and our manager would often leave at 7. But when my asst. director came in to restructure the office, it became obvious she was the weak link to our production, so she was the first to be cut and the easiest to replace.

My old manager was a hard worker she would make sure all deadlines and reports were complete, it would be so detailed. Everything had to be perfect. Any reports that she did would take hours to compile. Her work was correct but at the end of the day none of the directors had the time to actually review it in depth so it went unnoticed.   She was also a shrew that made sure she had a majority of all the deals so between the deals she had to close and the detailed reports she had to do, she was working 60 hours a week. Yes, she was making more money. But she was also working more hours and putting more effort to make more money. She wasn’t any happier either. For all that money she was making, she wasn’t enjoying it and she eventually pushed herself out of a good job with her self-created discontent.

I think the happiest kind of employment, the one I aspire for, is to be a smarter worker. I think it takes a lot of self awareness to pick which traits are marketable and in demand.  I also think courage to take take that skill and make it a business, especially if no one else has done that before.  And I think it takes a lot of confidence to put a price on those skills and stick to it.

When I was an rental agent , there were other agents charging less than a months rent in commission.  They were undercutting a lot of agents.  Considering you had to pay the brokerage a piece of your deals, taxes, and other business expenses, that basically meant that those brokers had to work on a high volume basis.  They were spinning their wheels, showing apartment after apartment in the summer heat.  They had to be dishonest to keep the leads and clients flowing.

I didn’t have the heart for all that.  I focused on quality and getting the highest commission possible, almost 2 months worth of rent.  I focused on creating value and marketing my skills for getting the best deals for clients so that my commission would pay itself off after the first year.   Well, I wouldn’t say I was the highest earning salesperson but I definitely made just as much as the high volume agents with literally HALF the work.  That was working SMART.  I had people who were so happy with my service, they were referring other clients who would pay FULL commission.  They were referring other clients who would buy properties with me!

I ended up leaving that work environment due to personal reasons, but I never forgot the lesson of what it meant to work smarter.

Now I’m working  a salaried position and I’m constantly trying to find ways to make my time more valuable, to do more with less and be more productive.  I’m hoping my company would value that and reward me at bonus season.  I’m also trying to find ways to leverage my other talents and skills, to hopefully something profitable.

There’s no one rule for working smarter but if I had to name one thing that will definitely help you: STOP DOING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING.  Most people are not smart or even hard workers.  Following the status quo is the recipe for mediocrity.

Share the ways you were able to find better use of your talent and time below, I’d love to hear it.

Feel free to read my other posts:

Playing The Game Of Life And Winning: 5 Approaches To Success

Organize Your Mind: How To Be More Productive With Your Day

My Job is Killing Me….

Status Update: Don’t Over Do It!

Feel free to like, share and follow if you liked this post

One Of The Biggest Financial Decisions You’ll Ever Make

 

From about age 16 we hear this question over and over. “What do you want to do with your life?” “What degree are you getting?”

It’s difficult, what you choose at 18 or 20 decides a lot about your lifestyle. Maybe you’ll aim to be a traveling DJ with partying lifestyle. It’s flashy and fun but involves all your weekends and most evenings. You’re your own boss but have to hustle hard in the beginning to bring in clients. Or maybe you decide you want to be an attorney, you’ll need 3 years of law school and a lot of debt. You graduate in the middle of your class and struggle to get a job that will cover your living expenses and your debt. Or maybe you decide to go into banking, it was great money at first but now is going automated or overseas.

You get the picture, your career needs to last 30-40 years! That’s a huge commitment! You need to think longevity. Can your industry last 40+ years? Is your career mostly age/appearance related? What is the growth opportunity?  How will you grow and find jobs in your industry?  Are you going to enjoy your work enough to do this for decades? These plus many more questions have to be carefully thought out for your future!

The timeline goes something like this:

20s: finish college, flail around trying to figure out what works then find a niche. Start at the bottom.
30s:grind out security in your field/job. Maybe do other adult things like marriage/family.
40s: Some progression/growth opportunity may have occurred at this point, but still trucking along.
50s: start really preparing for retirement and sending kids off to college.

The point is that for most of us, delaying choosing a career or even frequently changing careers past your 20s is detrimental for financial/personal stability.

You can’t spend your 20s and 30s working in odd n end jobs and expect the same return as someone who settled in a career at 25.

This post is not to offend those living alternative lifestyles that appreciate freedom over security. I just want to encourage and inspire everyone to be very conscious in their choices. It’s easy to start off in a job with you thought will be temporary but end up with 6 years in the hole with little advancement. It’s easy to keep changing directions and then end up really nowhere but at scratch again.  There’s a lot of inspiration in life, you just need to find your niche.

What you choose as your career matters. You can switch your major a few times or change a few jobs but eventually….you choose a career or your career chooses you.  If you want to find a job, your dream job, then you have to start now.

I went to my 10 year high school reunion and it just a bunch of adults standing around saying where did the time go? As a follow up, I’m going to go over goal setting and achieving in another post. Hopefully more of us will be able to tackle our goals and be able to be proud of how our time was spent.  This post is about nothing else but love, good thoughts, positive thinking and motivation to inspire..

My Favorite Motivational Mantra

My Favorite Motivational Mantra

IMG_4370

This is a classic motivational quote and mantra but when I first read this, I thought it was useless. Talent is everything. We should aim to be the most talented, the best. I was 22 when I first came across this poster.

Talent is nothing other than these 10 tools.  Inspire yourself to be better.

1)Being on Time: its really rare to meet someone who is always on time. Being consistently on time requires planning ahead and leaving early consistently. Nowadays people don’t see the value in timeliness but not leaving others to wait on you shows that you’re RELIABLE.

 

2. Work Ethic & 3. Effort: Is really about doing your best. Work is demanding and hard. But if you put your best towards everyday, you WILL get noticed. I’ve caught colleagues just slacking off when the boss wasn’t looking, allowing others to pick up this slack. I lost respect immediately. And eventual the boss will notice too.

 

4. Body Language: It took me while to get the hang of this one. How you carry yourself is very important. Make eye contact, initiate a handshake, stand with confidence, smile. About 60% of all communication is with body language. Make sure you’re saying something positive. My receptionist literally greets everyone like they are ruining her day. We had to train her to say “hello, how are you?” and offer them refreshment to offset her rough demeanor.
5. Energy: I have a physically demanding sales job. I need to have the same energy with the last client like I would with the first. I need to fill the room with positive energy and make it translate to what I’m selling. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and realized that they just weren’t feeling it? That’s bad energy, we don’t want that. Good energy starts with how you feel about yourself.  Only good thoughts allowed.
6. Attitude: ever heard the phrase “it’s not what you said, it’s how you said it” That’s attitude. You say something in a million different ways. Positive energy and attitude is addictive and attractive. Negative attitude and energy is NOT. Complaining you have too much work or that your coworker is annoying doesn’t do anything to change the situation. Do that enough times and you’ll be dubbed the negative nelly at work. And guess what? Negative nellies get laid off during the first round and negative nellies don’t get promotions.
7. Passion: Know what your working for and why. Understanding your purpose for being at work will drive you in some of these other areas. Whether it’s because you love your field or merely because you need to put food on the table for your family, this is critical for success in any endeavor. Use that passion and positive thinking to fuel your performance.
8. Being Coachable: you didn’t come into the job knowing everything but you need to be willing to learn. When the company introduces new policy and program, you need to be able to learn. Your attitude plays a role too. Sometimes I find myself making excuses for myself why I can’t meet a certain goal. “It’s too this or too that.” When really my manager is trying to teach it to me and I’m my negativity is dismissing it. Being able to grow and learn will play a huge role in your success.  Positive thinking is a must!
9. Doing Extra: My secretary has an attitude of mine vs yours, when it comes to work ethic. She really feels like any task that is new, is a task being pushed on to her. “Why can’t X do this work, she’s been doing this all this time.” But taking extra work allows you to learn skills you wouldn’t be able to do in otherwise. It could be transferable to other jobs and can even make you irreplaceable at your job. I’m not the best, but am capable of doing everyone’s job and even training others about the job. That alone gives me more value. Maybe I stay late some nights, but I don’t worry too much about being put on the chopping block.  If you want to be recognized as a hard working employee, doing extra can really make you stand out and reach your goals.
10. Being Prepared: I’m not good at this one but it revolves around being able have a conversation with your boss or coworker and knowing your facts. A lot of managers want to know details. “What’s going on, why are your numbers showing x, why did this customer say x about you. You made x report, I have a few follow up questions.” Being able to speak and present on the spot because you know your stuff can be career changing. You never know who you’ll meet or impress so being knowledgeable about what you’re doing is key.

I’ve learned a lot but these inspirational thoughts in 10 lines stick with me and have helped me grow. Build a strong foundation for work and the building won’t fall when storms and wind arrive.