Another day. Another Don’t work hard, work smart expert pushing that toxic message. Today, I’d like to explain why that message makes zero sense and also, show you how I run a successful international marketing business, working an average of just 5 hours a day.
Don’t work hard, work smart!
I was prompted to write about this, after I saw a productivity guru earlier, who was telling business owners to work smart, instead of working hard. His contention was that if you followed his system, you could work smart and not need to work hard, yet magically create a wildly successful business.
There’s a very obvious error in his message. In fairness, lots of authors and gurus make the same mistake.
Why not work hard AND work smart?
Why choose? Surely it makes massively more sense to work hard AND ALSO work smart. Surely this seems like the smartest way to make your fortune. Of course, it seems to make sense because it’s exactly what 100% of the world’s most successful business people do.
It’s crazy to tell people to work smart, [to do the right things correctly and avoid costly detours] — and then tell them not to work hard.
Here’s an example from my own business.
I work hard
In fact, I work damn hard. However, I don’t work long hours.
The “Don’t work hard, work smart” experts almost always confuse working hard, with working long hours. They totally fail to understand that you can work hard and work smart, working less than half as many hours as a typical business owner.
For instance: I am there for my son every morning at breakfast, while his mother gets herself ready for the day. My son and I make breakfast together, have breakfast together and I’m with him until he leaves for school. I am also there for him every evening when he returns from school at 3:45pm.
My son is just 9 years old, but he’s already spent way more time with his dad, than many son’s spend with their business-owner fathers in their entire childhood.
Here’s how I manage it.
Hard work — 5 hours a day
Although my day varies quite a bit, I usually do an hour early in the morning, three hours during the day and an hour in the early evening. Yes, sometimes I work 8 hours in a day. Other days I work for just one hour or less, with my average day consisting of 5 hours of hard but enjoyable work.
However, during those 5 hours I work hard, I work smart and I work to a plan. I don’t take non-urgent calls or reply to non urgent emails. I see what needs to be done and I do it.
Working hard, working smart and working lots of long days
Here’s something essential for anyone looking at my 5 hour day and wondering how it’s possible.
When my business started and my name wasn’t yet established, I worked hard, smart and I worked very long hours.
I worked 6 days a week, sometimes 7, often putting in 16 hour days. Sometimes I worked through a full 24 hours. I knew that if I hustled hard at the beginning, I eventually wouldn’t need to. I believed that if I worked smart enough, hard enough and for long enough, that my name and reputation would open doors for me. That’s exactly what happened.
What you can’t do, unless you want to be ill or have no family life, is to carry on working crazy hours. It’s not sustainable and will make you sick.
I guess what I’m saying here is that you can waste a lot of time going nowhere, if you take advice from people selling business tricks. Be careful of anyone saying you can grow a successful business without the hard work. It’s wrong.
Work the long hours at the beginning, work hard and work smart. If you’re doing it correctly, your business will soon become established, like mine did, and you can drop the long hours… and work hard and work smart.
Remember, working long hours is a temporary thing, until you gather the momentum required. It’s not part of an effective business strategy. In fact, if you keep needing to work long hours, you should change your business strategy because it isn’t working.
If you still find yourself needing to work long hours, you’re either not working smart enough, not working hard enough… or both.