I have heard this phrase hundreds of times: “work smarter not harder”. It seems like a great concept but I have always questioned whether it is possible. Don’t you have to work hard to get great results? I grew up on a farm so working hard was literal. We pulled weeds by hand, picked rocks, fed and watered the animals, no matter the temperature.
I have found as you get older, you realize that there are some things that require the hard work and yes, you do have to hustle to get great results. However, along the way there are things we can do that can simplify a particular process or action.
The great thing about technology is that there is typically something already created that can help us with a project. If there is a template or a program that can assist us with a project, why start from scratch when you could take a format, change it up as it suits your needs and move on? No one wants to reinvent the wheel, after all.
This strategy can be applied in daily life as well. I have recently discovered that buying veggies already chopped up is such a time saver. I have found cooking so much more enjoyable now (I am the slowest cook in the planet) and this has been so freeing to me! I have even found this concept something that can be applied in my workouts. From joining a gym closer to me (and sometimes the gym is home) to finding extremely effective workouts that are short but sweet. Being able to turn my 1 hour workout into a 30 minute sweat session by combining cardio and strength together means getting a lot done in a short amount of time. I feel great, still get in the workout and give myself 30 minutes back on those days.
Weigh your time versus the cost
I realize that often the shortcut involves a cost. I totally understand those frugal warriors out there asking “why would I spend the money on this when I can do it myself?” I too have a frugal mindset but as I have gotten older, I realized an important piece to this was missing from my thought process and that involves weighing time versus cost. In our busy lives, our day is filled up with so much and our downtime tends to be limited or nonexistent. What if you changed your question to: “is the money I save worth the time I would spend on this?” What would you do if you had those minutes back? What if you could spend even 10 or 15 minutes a day doing something you love but never have time for (think- reading, going for a walk or run, practicing yoga, playing with your grandkids, painting, or playing piano to name a few)? How would that change your day, your week?
Give up on Perfectionism
As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I am a perfectionist. Sometimes working smarter involves just doing a project from start to finish in one shot, not to my perfectionist standards. I remind myself that I can always go back to it later and make changes. I find that this can be extremely helpful for people who tend to procrastinate (did you know that the leading cause of procrastination is perfectionism?). Nothing needs to be perfect the first time around-just get it done and worry about making it perfect another day! Maybe you will or maybe you won’t but either way, you have now freed yourself up to continue with the next step.
Choose your hard
There are so many things in life that are hard, there is no need to make things harder than they need to be. Give yourself permission to take the shortcut when you can and don’t feel guilty! You are truly working smarter not harder! Not only are you giving yourself much needed time back but you are also saving your energy for the truly hard things ahead!