There have been a lot of success & leadership guru's who have said, "You have to work smarter, not harder." Now, on the outside that seems like a brilliant statement, but I am not sure it's practical for every level of leadership. As an executive you can somewhat determine your schedule, flow, meetings, and plan of actions, but as an employee you will be judged by the quality and quantity of what you contribute. "Oh, no, Todd, that's not how it is at my company." That may be what the boss sells you, I mean tells you, but the fact is every leader is driven by something powerful. It's called results.
According to Statista, the average American works about 34.75 hours per week. In the mid 90's the average American worked 39.2 hours per week. That may not seem like a radical difference, but that is a difference of about 250 hours per year. That actually equates to 7 weeks per year of less work and productivity. That means the typical employee gets 2-4 weeks of vacation plus an equivalent of 7 additional weeks of time off compared to 30 years ago.
But yet, many in the work force claim they are working too much or too hard, but the data does not back that up. I don't remember hearing that in the 90's. I am sure it was there, but I believe a generation was taught "if you work hard, execute, and keep your drive you will experience promotion and elevation. It's about working smarter and harder.
How do you work harder and smarter?
Do what you love.
Manage your life schedule.
Learn to say no to lateral distractions.
Delegate what you can - do what you must.
Take regular breaks.
Stay ahead, don't get behind.
Work hard now, so you can play later.
Celebrate the success of others, and yourself.
Outlast your critics.
Automate your tasks & to-do lists.
Throw away a bad attitude.
Work when you are working.
Stay focused on mission.
Compete against yourself - not someone else.
I believe that the human mind has a huge capacity to accomplish so much, but the lazy seldom achieve anything. You don't accidentally fall into success. It is intentional. If you want to rise in your organization you will have to work harder and smarter. An employer does not want to hear, "I am overworked," but you are underperforming.
Some young leaders believe that everything should be handed to them, even though they did not work to achieve their desired outcome. However, the quicker we can learn that nothing is just handed to us the faster we can push to our potential. Nothing in life is free. And the more you work for something the greater you value it. So work hard, but don't burn out - which means you must work smart too. They are not mutually exclusive.
So, my simple advice is work harder and work smarter. It can be done. In fact, it must be done. But only if you want to elevate your life and potential.