How many times have you told yourself:
I need to try harder.
You stay up late to finish the project, you force yourself to go to the gym, but willpower alone isn’t enough to drive positive change.
In fact, trying harder is not always the best solution. Working smarter, however, can create long-term results.
Making sure you focus on the right things and becoming better at what you do. Deep work helps you with that.
Getting to the bottom of why you behave the way you do is the first step to get better results.
How to get different results
To get different results in your life, you must first look at your beliefs. They are the root of all your actions, whether you are aware of them or not.
Look at the illustration below and see if you can:
- Identify a belief that holds you back.
- Change your attitude/mindset about the situation.
- Take an action that supports your new belief.
- Jot down the result.
Once you create a new set of beliefs, you start to change your mindset and your actions. This will, over time, lead to different results. As a real-life example, I often refer to my own business or when I took a statistics class in college.
Figure out what’s most important
Now that you know to challenge your beliefs, you’re probably wondering:
What exactly do I need to focus on?
Let me introduce you to the most useful time matrix I’ve come across. It’s retrieved from Stephen Covey’s book First Things First and looks like this:
When you look at this time matrix, ask yourself:
- Which quadrant do you spend the bulk of your time and energy in?
- How could you spend more time in quadrant II, the “important, but not urgent” activities?
I bet that the results you’re looking for (better health, stronger relationships, etc.) can be found in Quadrant II.
Working smarter, not harder, is about spending more time and energy in QII. That’s where you’ll get the results you’ve been hoping for.
Over to you
Don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made. Don’t do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome. (Hint: It won’t work.)
What will work is challenging your beliefs, trying new actions, and seeing what works for you. What “important, but not urgent” activity could you benefit the most from doing? Go ahead and carve out some time for that.
I know, I know. It doesn’t sound sexy or inviting, but it’s worth it. What are your best tips for “working smarter, not harder”? Please share with us in the comments!