What does it mean to work smarter and not harder? And how can we know whether we are working smarter and not necessarily harder. There is one thing that is certain and that is we, referring to individuals, corporate organisations and governments could be working harder but not necessarily smarter. So how can we work smarter?
In the Good Book, the man credited with over 3000 wise sayings (proverbs), Solomon stated in that:
"If the ax is dull and it's edges unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success" (Ecclesiastes 10 verse 10)
The idea of having to use more strength to get something done is what Solomon was putting across. Let's create a scenario here for a minute. You are in the kitchen cutting some vegetables with a very blunt knife or cleaver in the case of meat. Because the knife is blunt, you need to use a little more strength to be able to slice up your vegetables or cut through the meat. This is what it means to work hard. On the other hand, when you have a sharp knife, you will slice up your vegetables or cut through the meat with relative ease; albeit not with so much strength and that is working smarter. The skill which Solomon talks about is the sharpness of your knife which makes it possible to cut your vegetables with relative ease. The good thing about the sharpness(skill) of the knife is that it brings success.
Since the beginning of time, human beings have evolved methods for living life. From our hunting-gathering pre-stone age right through to the sophisticated technological advancement of the 21st century, we have striven to work smarter and not harder. Our microwave, iPods and laptops are all evidence of our quest to be efficient, effective as well as relevant in what we do. Productivity, relevance and effectiveness are at the core of lives and this has influence our quest to be smart in what we do. In agriculture today, crude implements such as hoes, cutlasses and the act of burning bush has been replaced by modern machinery such as the combine harvester, planter just to mention a few. So why have we evolved these seemingly plethora of things in order to be smart at what we do?
The fundamental reason is that of purpose and relevance if you would like. We have over the centuries discovered the reason why we are here on earth and that is to meet a need; to serve which has today become known simply as ministry. In our quest to fulfill our purpose, we have strived to find ways of becoming productive in fulfilling our purpose without using too much energy; an energy which can be channeled into becoming more productive. So, how can we work smarter without using more strength? How can we achieve our goals as individuals, corporate bodies and national governments?
First of all, we need to know what we are about. The articulation of a clear and focused vision is the first step to working smarter. This eliminates any potential distractions that often blurs the image of our vision. There are many things that competes for our attention but which are not relevant to our vision. If we give them our attention, we lose sight of the goals. Thus, when we articulate clearly when our mandate for doing what we intend to do are, we are then on a path of achieving our goal with relative ease and that is how to work smart.
Having the requisite skill set is equally vital to working smarter. Having a right skill set will place us in a position where we would be effective in fulfilling our vision. For individuals, this may mean among other things, developing our God-given talents and abilities; polishing them up by attending college or university. For corporate bodies, it may mean investing in the recruitment of people who have the right mentality, attitude as well as the aptitude to do the work.
Positioning ourselves strategically is another way of working smarter. For corporate organisations, this may mean employing the law of comparative cost advantage through the outsourcing of products and service which it cannot produce. An organisation can produce these products and services. However, it may come at a higher cost which may not be financially as well as industrially prudent to them. Outsourcing their services may prove to be the effective way of maintaining if not expand their market share. For individuals, it may be aligning ourselves with people who are successful in the area we intends to work in or even fellowshipping in a place where the spirit of Lord, excellence and entrepreneurship is flourishing so that you would also develop that spirit.
And to be able to position ourselves strategically to work smarter, we need to have knowledge and information. We live in an information age and it safe to say that those who have knowledge and information are the ones ahead of the game. Understanding the market and taking advantage of it depends largely on the knowledge and information base of the individual or organisation.
Being open minded and having the right thought pattern is another way to working smarter. We have to 'renew' our minds as the Bible teaches us. This includes having the right world view about what we are about but also being open minded to opportunities when they present themselves. We would be way ahead of the game; companies and corporate organisations will increase their market share with open mind and a right world view bout their calling.
Emmanuel Donkor is a budding copywriter and an entrepreneur who is committed to seeing men and women rise to their highest potential in life. As a copywriter, Emmanuel Donkor is committed to putting up well-researched, informative as well as educative articles that will inspire people to achieve their best in life.
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