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Work Smarter, Not Harder [Infographic]

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Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 04/10/12

Comments (8)

  1. LadyFitzgerald

    I learned to hate the phrase, “Work smarter, not harder” at the job I get my pension from because it was so horribly abused. I remember a boss telling me once (and only once) that I needed to prioritize my work to get it done on time. My response, “I don’t care how you prioritize six gallons of water, it’s never going to fit into a five gallon bucket” shut up that nonsense. While there is frequently room for improvement, there is a limit to how much productivity one can get out of anyone.

  2. Jon

    So many contradictions. Beginning with smarter not harder.It is obvious that you have to work harder in order to work smarter. A very nice paradox; logic – none.

  3. mike

    working smarter and not harder is easier to accomplish when everyone is just working harder. too many times people avoid the root cause of a situation and just work around it. by streamlining processes and asking why are things done this way or that way instead of plowing threw just because it was always done that way is a perfect example of how working smarter and not harder can make your work life a lot easier. I have turned a 2 hour process in to a 10 min process just by taking a different approach to it ( thinking outside of the box).

  4. r

    This is all rather a bit silly. The notion of “working hard” suggests, among many things, that one should use a degree of intelligence when involved in any task. The problem here is that “work smarter – not harder” suggests that these acts are in opposition to each other. The reality is that oftentimes one needs to work harder in order to be smarter at what they do.

  5. Jordan

    I don’t see why “working harder” necessarily implies any degree of intelligence whatsoever. Or anything else, for that matter. It means exactly what it says, and I don’t think we should try making English any more complicated than it already is! Nor is it suggested that the two phrases are opposites of each other. They are complementary, but most definitely separate and distinct.

    Moving large rocks from one place to another is certainly difficult but is not particularly challenging intellectually. I can work harder; I can run instead of walk. Or I could build a machine that will move the rocks for me; a task that takes far more intelligence and in the end moving the rocks requires far less effort from me.

    I think the phrase should probably be “work smarter AND harder.”

  6. Bob

    You are not using the best of yourself if you just work harder but not smarter. If you work harder AND smarter, then it is ideal. For those refuse to think of ways to do routine job with new and better and perhaps more interesting ways, then they will fast become dead wood. There are people who even hate the phrase “Work Smarter, Not Harder”. If you had six gallons of water and you only have 5 gallon bucket and you stopped at thinking it would never fit! And if that’s the thinking then it won;t fit. Why not think? Why not think if you can find other containers? Or borrow more containers? or Evaporate water before filling? Or freeze water into manageable ice cubes? etc… etc… I don;t know the result but it does not hurt to THINK! This is called creativity. Don’t let your mind go stagnant or you would be out-smarted by others who don’t mind thinking.

  7. Paul

    @LadyFitzgerald: LOVE the water gallon response!

  8. mike

    I like the water gallon response but I would say work hard and smarter. If your working harder and harder then it is most likely do to either your not working smarter or you are severely under manned for what the job requires.

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