We have all been told by our parents, family and bosses that hard work gets you where you want to be and, while this is true, it is not the sole answer to success.
Getting sucked into long working hours, ticking off boxes and going to pointless meetings will definitely give the illusion of working hard, but it won’t necessarily help you achieve your goals.
I am a strong believer in hard work – it’s extremely important – but am an even bigger believer in smart work for getting the most out of your time and effort.
1. Let other people help you
In order to succeed, you need a little help from your friends. Or your family, business partners, mentors or husband or wife.
It’s a nice thought to be able to get to top and say “I did this all by myself” but the truth is no successful person got to where they are today alone. Not a single one.
2. Don’t burn the candle at both ends
Remember all those stories about how CEOs and successful business people run gigantic companies on three hours sleep a night? Well, I call bull****.
Sure, you might have periods of time where you’re working hard and barely sleeping, but there’s no way successful people can operate at 100% efficiency on something really important if they’re not well rested enough to concentrate. So, they’re either lying, or they’re not even fully living up to their own potential, even if they are already successful. Imagine how much more successful someone might have been with a full night’s sleep?
3. Be clear on your objective
If you don’t know what you’re working towards – and I mean really know what that is – then you’re more likely to fail. Ask yourself exactly what your end objective is and spend time mapping out a very clear path to meet that it.
4. Just breathe
Striving for success is extremely difficult and it can be easy to get caught up in the mayhem of trying to be the best and reach your personal goal.
When you’re freaking out about things not going to plan, cash flow, or the future of your career – just breathe. Honestly. Everything seems terrible until one day it’s suddenly not. You’ve pulled through bad times before, and you’ll do it again.
No one can do everything themselves, even if they think they can. If you’re running a business or managing a big team, delegate the smaller tasks to other people.
It sounds simple, but there are plenty of people out there who are scared to let go of the reigns. LET GO.
6. Hire people who are better than you
If you can’t do something well enough yourself, hire someone else to do it for you. Whether this is through outsourcing or acquiring staff for a new business, surround yourself with people who are better than you.
This will only ever reflect positively on you, and you will likely achieve your goals much quicker.
7. If it works, don’t change it (but always think about how something could be done better)
This sounds like conflicting advice, but what I mean by this is ensuring you’re not wasting time being a perfectionist, but you’re also not sitting pretty, happily watching everything tick along.
Stay alert, but be smart about your priorities. If something works well, don’t waste time being a perfectionist about it. But if something works well and you can see how it would truly work better, then look for ways this could be improved (without getting obsessed about the details).
8. Review your work regularly
The best way to ensure success is to review what you’ve done in the past to see how it might be able to be done better in the future. It’s up to you whether you do this every week or every month, but don’t get complacent about these reviews – they are necessary if you want to succeed.
Human Resources magazine and the HR Bulletin daily email newsletter:
Asia's only regional HR print and digital media brand.
Register for your FREE subscription now »