Hard Work vs Smart Work – Difference between Hard Work and Smart Work

Hard work vs Smart work - difference between hard work and smart work
Written by Aakif

Most of the time during our childhood, we learned that hard work is the key to success. But when we grew up, we learned that our elders tricked us by giving us the wrong key. In fact, people who worked smart opened the doors of success earlier than those who worked hard. Hard work vs smart work – both are tagged as keys. But which key works better and why. What is the difference between hard work and smart work?

Let us unlearn our old concepts and relearn something new with examples.

I remember my conversation with my friend. I told him that I was preparing for civil services exams to join the bureaucracy. Upon asking why I told him that those posts are really powerful and I will bring reforms to society.

When I asked him what he was doing. He smiled and replied that he was preparing for elections to step into politics. Upon asking why he answered to assign you different postings and positions when you would join civil services.

It was when I realized he is really smarter than I am.

Anyways that was just an example of how smart people make decisions and hardworking people end up serving under them.

Hard work vs Smart work | Know the Difference with Examples

Let us try to understand the difference between hard work vs smart work with the help of an example.

We always have more than one ways to reach our objective. Some ways are short, others might take a lot of time and energy. It is our choice which way to choose.

People who work smart will always choose the shortest way. While others – who are spoonfed that hard work is always a key to success – will waste their time and energy by taking the longest route to reach the same destination. This example is applicable to almost all walks of life.

For instance, two students preparing for the same exam will be different in their approach. One student – who is hard working but does not incorporate smart work -would read all the relevant, irrelevant, and semi-relevant stuff to prepare for exams. While the other student – who always works smart – will try to prepare those areas or questions first that appeared most frequently in the past papers.

How to Work Smart and avoid unnecessary Hard Work

When you work smart, that work might also include some degree of hard work too. Working smart might or might not include hard work. But working hard will always include hard work.

We should avoid making things complicated for us if we can do them in a simple way. Let us learn some tips on how we can actually adopt a smart work approach and avoid hard work.

  • You have different tasks at hand. Make a priority list by arranging things on the basis of their priority. Start with what comes first on a priority basis.
  • Do one task at a time. Avoid putting your feet in two boats. Do what you deem as important. Avoid secondary things.
  • Make a list of strategies or methods to get a task done. Always go for the easiest method. Never overload yourself. It would never do any good to you.

Pros of doing Smart Work

When we say smart work, we talk about hitting the bull’s eye with minimum effort involved. Smart work has the following benefits to offer.

  • Smart work saves time and energy.
  • With smart work, one can do more work in less time.
  • Smart work will always enhance your chances of early success.
  • Your life won’t be a mess. With smart work, you will enjoy a balanced lifestyle.
  • Smart people always rule and hard-working people always work for them.

Cons of adopting a Working-hard Approach

Working hard without acting smartly has multiple disadvantages.

  • You will do fewer things in more time. In short, a hard-work approach leads to a waste of time.
  • You won’t be able to compete with those who work smart.
  • Your life will be a complete mess with no balance in it.
  • Smart people will rule you and will make you work hard for them.

Real-Life Case Study on Hard-work vs Smart-work

Two candidates A & B started preparing for a competitive exam. That was a sort of exam where a candidate has to give multiple references of different books to support their argument and attain marks.

As A was a hard-working candidate, he bought multiple books and started reading them, underlining lines, collecting ideas, etc. His approach exhausted him and drained all his energy before the exam.

Candidate B was smart. So, he adopted a smart-work approach. He made a list of all such books that were important w.r.t references. But he didn’t actually buy those. Rather he simply Googled those books and took a printout of their short summaries.

During the time when Candidate A could hardly complete a single book, B was done with all.

This is how two different approaches made a significant difference in the outcomes.

Bottom Line

As you have understood the difference between hard work & smart work, we would expect that you will always work in a smart way.

Be easy on yourself so that your life would be easy on you.

About the author


A versatile human being with a passion for reading and writing - always striving for growth, living in the moment but trying to keep pace with the evolving world.

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