Should you work hard or is work hard?
This summer was quite a lazy summer in terms of business. I had some ongoing projects, some postponed projects, and no need to increase the workload I had. I wanted to paint a hallway, wanted to do fun things with my kids and prepare for our holiday trip. Not only that, but I felt absolutely no need to go on an 8-hour drive to France with the stressful feeling of having multiple pending projects and just-managed deadlines. But does that mean that I don't work hard? I don't believe so. I've already talked about emotional labour which I also like to refer to as the back office. In our household, I take up the lion share of things that just need to be done, arranged, fixed, organised or handled. This is something I don't mind at all, most of the time.
When talking about the more traditional interpretation of work (whether that's knowledge-based or manual labour), then work can be hard. And you know, working hard can be quite fulfilling. Actually, I love it sometimes when you have to work under a certain pressure yet manage to keep all the balls afloat, it feels like everything is thriving. But also you can keep that up because you know this is not a continuous thing, it's just for a certain period. Because work is hard, y'all. With it being hard, I don't even mean doing the work, but it's most often all the other things that involve work. Organising your day, managing different calls, meetings and most of all, expectations. Let's face it, it's the expectations that make work hard and make people hard workers. Not just the expectations of the "boss", the client, the co-worker, but also the bar you set for yourself.
Most people fall into the pitfall that if they just work hard enough, then the work will be less hard, and you won't let anyone down. Yeah but, no. There's nothing wrong with working hard, but work should not be about the amount of work you do. It's all about output. With the right output, you will be able to manage the expectations of all stakeholders and, most importantly, your own. So work hard on working smart - work in a way that allows you to keep a healthy balance. Challenge yourself, of course, but be smart about it. Think about the quick wins on how you can make your day run more smoothly, about the quick wins on how to please the client, your manager or your co-worker. Start each project by thinking about what the quick wins are, what the possible pitfalls are, what the main objective is and ultimate goals are. What's the outcome that'll make everyone happy? Don't just rush in, but take a step back, assess, and then you'll be able to do your best work.