Do More, Work Less!
The “Work Hard” Myth
“To get ahead, you have to work hard!”
We’ve all heard this advice, maybe so much that it sounds like an absolute truth. But really?
Several years ago, I launched a career in the permanent makeup industry. I worked hard. I am a perfectionist, and the industry demanded perfection. I never settled for second best and it showed. Clients loved my work and depended on me. I did well. Very well. And yes, hard work played a big part.
But really…. Yeah, the car and the clothes were fabulous. The tired look on my face, not fabulous. The business card that had my name, one of the hottest names in my field, sexy, right? Ummmmm, not so much, since I didn’t even have time for a night out.
It was rather ironic. I was a pro at creating the illusion …the illusion of beauty. But I did not feel that I was living a truly beautiful life.
Should I work harder to get more? Absolutely not. I was already crazy busy. Should I walk away from it all and travel or spend time with family and friends? That was not an option either. After all, life is much better with a good income.
The more I thought about my next steps, the more I began to question the work hard to get ahead myth. It just didn’t add up.
I thought about extraordinary people, people who seem to have it all. Some of the most successful are worth a billion dollars or more. That is a thousand times more than someone with 1 million dollars. If hard work is the key, does that mean that the billionaire has worked a thousand times more than other people? Impossible. So how? Maybe a great idea, maybe some luck and yes, maybe some hard work. But, I think there are some things common to most successful people:
- They attract and nourish a talented team.
- They guard their time, not taking every call, every invitation.
- They focus clearly on what they want.
So maybe success is less about working hard, and more about working smart: engaging others to help you, managing your time, and staying focused on your true desires. The key is not more work, but making the most of the time and resources that you have.
So, how does the smart, successful savvy person live and work in a way that makes the most of what they have?
Don’t try to do it all!
2- Manage Time
It is your most valuable resource.
3- Assess Goals
Achievements are meaningless if you are not living the life that is right for you.
Let’s talk about each of those things…
Why do so many of us have trouble delegating tasks in our professional lives when we do not have that problem in our personal lives? Do you repair your car, fix your plumbing, cut your own hair and do your own pedicure? Chances are, for certain services, you hire someone else to do the job. Why not start doing that professionally? Yes, it costs money, but it can make you money too.
Once you realize that you do not have to do it all, a whole world of possibilities opens. Create additional income without working more, or even create additional income while working less. Start a business of your own while still working that full-time job, staying home with family or travelling the world. You can do things you never dreamed you could do, and, you do not need a large full-time staff. Need someone to make 200 phone calls? Need a web designer? An app developed, a blog written, graphic design, travel booking or just about anything…. you can find someone to help you.
To help you get started, here are some resources to explore:
Post your job and budget. Potential hires submit proposals. Upwork shows you their experience, how they have rated on previous jobs, how well they have done on Upwork’s skills assessment tests.
To find similar sites, google “hire a freelancer.” A good approach is to try someone out for a small job before offering them more work.
This classified advertising site allows you to post “help wanted” ads for free. Post for ongoing jobs or one-time gigs. This is a good resource for finding someone located in your area. To find the Craigslist site specific to your area, google craigslist and the name of your city or town.
Your friend’s college age son, that retired professional who lives next door, the person in your book club who is between jobs…all these and more are potential resources. Like great friendships, you never know where the next perfect work relationship might be.
For some tasks, you may not even need a person to save you time. As the saying goes, “there’s an app for that.” One that can free up a lot of time is Workflow. Workflow allows you to take tasks that require several button clicks or that must be repeated many times and assign them to a single tap. Workflow is available for iPhone X and iOS 11. New apps seem to appear daily, so do your homework and find the one that is right for you!
2. Manage Your Time
Unless you know how to live forever, your time is limited. Just as you budget your money, you should budget your time. Do you say “yes” to please others, allowing them to suck up your time? Do you get side-tracked in tasks or conversations, allowing them to take longer than necessary? If so, you are living life like a leaky faucet, dripping away your most precious resource, your time. Work smart. Make a time budget, stay on task, and review how you spend your time. Consider using a timer so you do not spend too much time on each task.
Some common tools that can help:
for Android, free. Great for budgeting your time!
for iPhone, free. Track and plan your time!
This is part of the clock feature included on your iPhone. Set up 10, 15, 20, 30, 45 and 60-minute timers. When you start that phone call or email session, start the timer to remind you when it is time to move on!
Use the calendar feature to plan and manage your time, share your availability with others and be notified when it is almost time for scheduled events.
3. Assess Your Goals
Goals are a whole subject of their own, so why mention them in a post about working smarter? Goals keep you going in the right direction. Imagine that the most beautiful place is ten miles from your house. The only way to get there is to walk. Would you simply walk all day in any direction? Would that be the best use of your time? Of course not, the goal needs to be clear.
I like to plan a couple of days twice a year to rethink my goals. Am I happy with my progress? Are my strategies working? What have I discovered along the way that inspires new goals? Today, I have managed to grow my permanent makeup business and begin other ventures that interest me, all while actually working less and enjoying time for travel, family and friends!
Once you have clarity, then the rest is easier. You can decide what to do, what to delegate, what is important and what deserves your time! You can truly work smarter, crafting a life that is beautifully effortless!