Work Smarter, Not Harder

By Francisco Enriquez.

Minimum effort, maximum results; it is every student’s dream. Often as we grow up, we are told by our parents that as long as we work hard, we can accomplish any goal; after all, it is part of the American dream. Although there is nothing wrong with this particular philosophy, I have found a concept that has suited me well since junior high: the idea of working smart.

           What is the difference between working hard and working smart? A smart worker can perform the same task as their hard-working counterparts while saving time and energy, resulting in increased efficiency and the development of resourcefulness.

         From the visual, we see that the task is to move the cubes from one side to another. As the individual rolling the ball passes ahead of his fellow men, who are pushing cubes, the latter most likely wonders,” Why should I be working this hard? I’m smarter than that.” Let’s take a moment to analyze the situation. Behind the man with the ball are the carved off pieces of stone, inferring that the ball was once a cube. Although at first the people with the cubes started before the man rolling the ball, the latter took the extra time to analyze the problem and adjust the steps, which ended up not only saving time, but also energy.

           Throughout my time at Heritage, I have examined the concept of working smart and have concluded that there are five basic rules that can help any student. It is to set specific, measurable, attainable, result-oriented, and time-based rules, or SMART.

           For example, there can be a smart worker and a hard worker studying for the same test. The hard worker would be the type of student to put off all studying until the night before. By doing this, not only did this student lose valuable time, but now has to rush to memorize a whole test’s worth of concepts in a very limited amount of time. However, a smart student would have taken the time to plan the steps out. Starting with “specific,” the SMART worker would choose one section out of what needs to be studied and memorize that concept in a measurable or realistic amount of time. If set out properly, the goal will be attainable, unlike when other students spend a whole night studying before a test. When studying, it’s always important to be able to see the results and adhere to a set amount of time. Adjusting to a new method of studying may be difficult at first, but will pay of later on.

           At first, setting out goals may demoralize some because of the steps ahead, but by sticking to a process proven to work, it will eventually become habitual, and academic success will become evident.

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