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Don't Work Hard: Follow These 8 Rules Instead

By ideaman | Lets Grow | 26 Feb 2023

Are you tired of feeling like you're always working harder but not actually getting more done? It's a common trap many of us fall into, but the truth is, working harder isn't always the answer.

In fact, it can often be a cover-up for deeper problems that are preventing us from being productive and achieving our goals.

Here are eight ways to become more productive at work, practical ones.


Don't fool yourself

Working harder can be like a bear trap, and many of us have fallen into it multiple times. Sometimes, what appears to be working harder is actually fake work - work that looks like it is productive but really isn't. This fake work can disguise the real problems that need to be solved.

Things like meetings, emails, chatting in hallways, and using messaging apps like Slack can all contribute to this fake work. To identify it, we need to look at our list of priorities. If a task is not on our list of priorities, then it's likely just a way to avoid doing the real work.

It's important to ask ourselves why we're doing this fake work.

The answers may be uncomfortable, but they can help us regain control and focus on the real work that matters.


Seek the critical feedback

We all face criticism at some point (there are plenty of critics out there). But instead of shying away from it, we can use it to our advantage.

When we ask our critics to be brutally honest with their feedback, it can be a powerful tool for growth.

It allows us to see our blind spots and recognize areas where we need to improve.

Critics can help us understand why we work so hard and what we can do to change. So let's not be afraid to invite criticism and use it to our benefit.


Remove distractions

Distractions can be irresistible and make us lose focus.

To avoid getting sidetracked, try these tips:

  • Turn off all notifications on your devices.
  • Keep your phone out of reach while working.
  • Create a list of priorities for the day and focus on them until they're done.
  • Then reward yourself with a break. In the future, employers may evaluate you based on your ability to concentrate.

For now, prioritize avoiding distractions to work efficiently.

The more you let distractions control you, the harder you'll have to work to catch up. Choose to stay focused instead.


Seek Mentoring 

In some cases, it can be difficult to recognize your own delusions. You may deceive yourself by pretending that you don't work hard, even though you do.

That's why mentors can be an excellent tool for resetting your perspective.

Identify one or two mentors who know you well.

He knows me so intimately that it won't take long for us to identify the root of the issue. Once you know what the problem is, you can utilize your mentor as an accountability partner.

If you're really feeling ambitious, you could even try using time-tracking apps that automatically send reports to your accountability partner. And to really get serious, consider imposing a penalty for working too much. This approach will help you cut off the source of the problem, just like treating cancer. By working together, we can overcome this issue.


Act on the plan

If you don't have a plan, you'll end up working hard for nothing. To avoid that, spend some time planning at the beginning of each week. Set achievable goals and loosely plan out the next day before going to bed each night.

Write down some easy tasks that will help you gain momentum. And at the end of the week, reflect on what went wrong, so you can avoid overworking and burnout.

A simple plan can save us from unnecessary stress and exhaustion


Automate everything

It’s all too common for us to become addicted to manual labor.

We can all admit that we do tasks that could be automated. If it’s something done on a computer, then Zapier is the solution to save you from hard work. Zapier can automate nearly any task between various layers of software using a simple framework of “If This Then That.”

To identify what tasks to automate, keep a list of tasks that are just busy work.

These tasks are usually manual or repetitive. Then, you can either learn how to automate them yourself or hire a virtual assistant or consultant from Upwork to systematize it for you.

Jeff Bezos mastered the art of automation with Amazon. We can use the same principle to automate as much as possible.


Ask others for help

Hard work can often be a mask for a fear of asking for help.

It's tempting to put on a brave face and declare, "I can handle this." But success isn't about being a hero.

Collaborating as a team is more effective than one person toiling away. Working together allows multiple minds to tackle the problem, making the mental burden easier to bear.

Asking for help is perfectly acceptable. You don't need to shoulder the burden alone, as there are 7.8 billion people in the world.


Take care of your body

Our physical health is crucial to our productivity. If we neglect our bodies, our work will suffer. When our work suffers, we have to work even harder to maintain its quality.

To avoid this hamster wheel, we should prioritize our physical health:

  • Exercise daily in a way that suits our preferences.
  • Get outside and soak up some sunshine.
  • Keep our minds active by reading regularly.
  • Fuel our bodies with nutritious food and plenty of water.



Simply working harder isn't the solution to every problem. In fact, it's often just a way of avoiding the root cause of the issue.

Our bodies weren't meant to be pushed to the limit, to sit in front of screens for hours on end, or to remain glued to chairs all day.

The key to finding solutions is taking breaks and freeing up some time. By doing so, you'll avoid falling into the trap of overworking. Follow this simple blueprint to stay on track.


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Obsessed with self-improvement, a blockchain developer, and an extreme book reader. Love cryto❤

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