Never have I ever thought there could be something more important than hard work. In my culture, you need to work more than you want and more than you can, give up your free time and sometimes even sleep in order to progress. My grandparents did that, my parents do this, and they hope their kids will do it too. But what if the recipe for success consists of more ingredients?
We can all agree that hard work seems to be a foundation to achieve any goal. However, this term has many dimensions. In the name of phrase “nothing worth doing is ever easy”, unconsciously with the word “hard” we bind only negative connotations like long working hours, probably lack of quality-sleep, irregular eating, sweat, physical and mental strain. This thinking is rooted deeply in our mindset, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell you that being lazy and clumsy is better, but what if I told you that under hard work the magic phrase – smart work — is hidden. What is smart work then? I understand it as the ability to structure your time in the simplest manner. To be more precise, I divide it into four steps:
1. Organize — everything that needs to be done in a written form.
2. Delegate — all the things that somebody else could do for you. As much as we want to do everything on our own, let’s face the truth, big corporation consisting of 10k employees will be always more effective than 1-person-enterprise.
3. Prioritize — the things that require your immediate and full attention.
4. Focus — on one thing at a time. Multitasking became a very fancy word that nowadays we tend to brag about as one of our strengths, while in reality we don’t know what it really means. Execution of multiple projects with the same deadline — yes, preparing presentation while chatting on Slack/Teams and texting with your friends on WhatsApp — no.
Don’t let those simple four steps fool you. Smart work will always be hard work, but hard work might never become smart work. Smart work requires easy structure, ability to predict unpredictable, focus, but most of all discipline, and in this sense, it can be defined as hard to achieve. However, once you’ll become a pro at it, your reward will be — efficiency, effectiveness, time, satisfaction, and faster progress.
What else apart from smart work plays a major role here? In my opinion, the aptitude to use every opportunity! Not so long ago, we have implemented at savedroid feedback 360° as an experiment. The idea was to not only get some input from supervisors and colleagues, but most importantly to evaluate yourself. While I have been doing it online, a question popped up — are you always searching for opportunities to improve? — it fell on me like a bolt of lightning from the sky and got me to think, whether searching for new opportunities equals taking advantage of each one that appears off-hand. I have always considered myself a pro-active person. I know that once I set my mind on something, I won’t rest until I get what I want, even if I would have to adapt my plan hundreds of times along the way. However, this doesn’t mean I took full advantage of every possibility I have been given. Why? Because in order to use something, one needs to firstly see it. Have you ever heard about The Invisible Gorilla test? Google it! To shortly sum it up, a group of students from Harvard University was asked to watch a short video where six people play basketball, three in black shirts and three in white. Students had to count how many times the ball was passed between those in white shirts. In the meantime, a woman dressed as gorilla appears on the video and is visible there for nine seconds. Guess, how many students saw her? The outcome was shocking – half of the study group didn’t see the gorilla at all. We put filters on the world around us all the time and if you don’t set your mind correctly, you’ll miss 100% of chances that are right in front of your eyes. As much as we want to be prepared for everything, probably the best occasions occur spontaneously. So, what can we do to use them? Life is a little bit like marketing, you need to constantly do the A-B testing in order to figure out what works and what doesn’t. There are however few simple tricks that will help you find what you are looking for.
Firstly, have some goals. Goals will help you to filter the environment. It can be as simple as a decision to read 2 relevant articles per day. It will take you 10–15 mins but in a year’s time, you’ll find that you’ve read 730 articles and that will certainly deepen your knowledge in whatever area you’re interested in. Deeper knowledge = better filters = better choices. Your life is not the effect of extraordinary situations but consistency.
Secondly, look around! People are the best source of information and inspiration, ask them, even if you think it’s stupid. Drink from their cup of experience as much as you can. However, it does not mean that everybody can point you in the right direction. Look for the ones that share same values, morals, work ethic, background, views or simply give example that you want to follow, those will correct your sail without destroying the boat.
Are two ingredients enough to move forward? Not at all! Moreover, I’m sharing what works for me in hope that it will help somebody, however, at the end of the day everybody has to find their own way. There are many more interdependent factors but if you start this way, I can guarantee you progress! I’m very lucky to have a lot of colleagues at savedroid and wonderful friends that inspire me on a daily basis. I suggest you, start looking for people that will guide you already today! Everybody you’ll meet knows something that you don’t. Be like a sponge, filer and absorb! My story has just begun, I can’t wait for what comes next.
I look forward to your thoughts on my first article. Don’t be the shy one. 🤗