Work Smarter, Not Harder

 
We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.
— Arianna Huffington, Thrive

I think as we are growing up we get told that the more we work, the more successful we will be, but I don't see this as being the truth. I believe that it is more about the energy and quality of the time that we put into our craft. 

I came to realise this when I was working a 9-5 job. The hours were there... But for some reason, this wasn't reflecting in my work. The amount of work that I would get done in those 8 hours, is about what I could get done in 4 hours now. But why? Because now I understand how my brain works, and I use this to my advantage. After a year of working for myself, I have discovered how to work smarter, not harder. 

Sit still and our minds want to ramble. Get up and start walking, and our minds can slow down and be more foccused.
— Arianna Huffington, Thrive

I realised that I work best in small doses. Two hours in the morning, then walk my puppy, another hour, then a yoga break, maybe another couple of hours, then a long lunch etc... It is in these moments of 'taking a break' that my brain starts to function better and come up some of my best ideas. And it is not just me, research shows that it is not about how many hours you work, it is about what you put into those hours, and how you look after yourself when you are not working. A study done by the Organization for Economic European Countries (OECD) shows that among European countries, Greece was number one in hours worked, Poland was second, and Hungry third. Their productivity rankings however, were eighteenth, twenty-fourth, and twenty-fifth (dead last). Working the fewest hours were the Dutch, Germans and Norwegians, who came in at fourth, seventh and first in productivity.  

But sadly we still live in a society where success is determined by stress, money and burnout. This idea is what used to make me feel so guilty when I took the afternoon off, or even when I had a lunch break. But after reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington I decided to change the way I work. Arianna talks about this issue in such a raw, and honest way, from someone who has experienced this world first hand. She is looking to redefine what it means to be successful in today's world. This has made such an impact not only on my business but also on my life. I no longer feel guilty for taking a random Wednesday off to go skiing (I did this last week) or taking the afternoon off to hang with friends. This is because I understand that living a third metric life is more beneficial for my business, as well as my well-being. 

Over time our society’s notion of success has been reduced to money and power. In fact, at this point, success, money, and power have practically become synonymous in the minds of many. This idea of success can work— or at least appear to work— in the short term. But over the long term, money and power by themselves are like a two- legged stool— you can balance on them for a while, but eventually you’re going to topple over.
— Arianna Huffington, Thrive

So if you are feeling as though you are working too many hours, and getting nothing done, then maybe it is just time for a break. Grab a copy of Thrive, pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee, and just relax. Trust me, your work will be better off because of it! 

 

 

 
Sarah-Jane Stringer