This is a quote by Edgar Bergen. He’s one of the most famous ventriloquists of all time, but I guess he wasn’t necessarily one of the hardest workers of all time. By sharing this quote, I am not supporting the idea that we shouldn’t work hard…or am I?
We only have so many work hours in the day – hopefully we have some time for our personal lives and for sleep. But the work is still there to be done. The question is, how do we find ways to work less hard?
I’m not suggesting we find ways to be less productive or less quality-oriented or less customer-service oriented. I’m just posing the question: How can we find ways to work a little bit smarter and a little less hard?
Ask yourself a few questions:
- When do I write things on paper that I have to keep track of and manage (or rekey into a computer) which I could instead log directly into the computer and save?
- When do I touch a document or a project or spreadsheet or report or an e-mail 3-4 times, when I could touch it once?
- When do I copy 5 or 10 or 20 people on an e-mail who all now have to read that e-mail, when I could copy 1 or 2? Similarly, when do I get copied unnecessarily when I could reach out to those senders and let them know they don’t need to copy me under certain circumstances?
- Could I do a better job of planning my day today – and working my plan today – so I don’t have to constantly think today about what I need to be doing tomorrow?
- Is there a report or document that I produce once a week that I could stop producing and no one would ever notice or ever care?
- If I slept an extra 10 minutes or drank an extra cup of water or ate 1 less candy bar (Milky Way is my preference), would I be able to work a little shorter day and have the energy to get a little bit more done?
These are some simple questions, and if we can come up with answers to a few of them and implement solutions, maybe we would find ourselves working a little less hard and yet being a little bit more productive, more focused, more energetic, and producing a little higher quality work.