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Work Harder, Not Smarter

March 30th, 2005 by Bob Bly

Business book authors tell us we can succeed by ?working smarter, not harder.?

The problem is, many of our competitors are as smart as we are. And some are smarter.

Therefore, ?work smarter, not harder? is a myth.

The fact is, almost without exception, the very successful people I know ? all of whom are smart ? also work hard: 50 to 60 hours a week or more.

The people who regularly post on this blog are successful, so let me ask you ? how many hours a week do YOU work?

A. less than 40.
B. 40 to 49.
C. 50 to 59.
D. 60 to 69.
E. More than 70.

And do you work that hard because you want to ? or because you HAVE to?


This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2005 at 7:51 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

43 responses about “Work Harder, Not Smarter”

  1. Philippe Randour said:

    Usually, I work between 40 to 49 hours a week. And it’s part because I want to (I like it), part because I have to (work has to be done). If I would want to work less, I could find another job but I think I could get bored very quickly. As I’m married with a young baby, I don’t work more hours (with some exceptions when away from home) because I want to balance work and personal life.

  2. Bruce DeBoer said:

    Without exception, success equals hard work. I can honestly say that I am LESS successful than I could have been because I live a balanced life. Success for me must be defined differently I guess.

    Any who [blushing when realizing he’s a little off topic], I work about 40-50 hours but the extra 10 hours are on stuff that I WANT to get done, not the stuff I hate, like paying bills or writing proposals.

  3. Danny said:

    B. 40-49

    Of course, I look at that phrase a little differently. For me, it’s not about working smarter (or harder) than the next guy. It’s about working smarter today than I did yesterday.

    In that vein, if I work just as hard as I did yesterday, but work a little bit smarter (more efficient, more effective, more focused), then I’ll be more productive without having to put forth more effort. And, of course, if I work smarter AND harder, then the effect is multiplicative, if not exponential.

    Plus, people tend to be creatures of habit. I’m sure many out there are smarter than I am…but I have found that just because they are smarter, it doesn’t mean they regularly apply that intelligence to their work processes and patterns. So I do tend to be more productive in less time and with less stress than my peers, even though they aren’t my main motivation in doing so.

    It’s more about trimming the excess, automating what I can and learning from my mistakes.

  4. TonyD said:

    I almost never work more than 40 hours a week because I have a family and any more than that would be a serious strain. I’m sure I pay a price for that in success, but I make up for it in peace of mind. And then there are all kinds of things I do outside of my 40 hours that I don’t consider work, like write blog posts, read articles, and check out new interesting technologies.

  5. Bob Bly said:

    My answer is D. I work about 60 hours a week, basically 7am to 7pm, Monday through Friday. I usually come in late or leave early one day during the week, but make it up by working a couple of hours Saturday morning. Reasons: (1) I am a semi-workaholic, (b) at any one time I have a dozen or two projects on my desk, and (c) I like to earn a higher-than-average income.

  6. Jim Logan said:

    Most people would probably certify me a workaholic.

    Most weeks I’m in the D category, some weeks I fall into the E pile. A typical workday is working from home from 5:30-7:00AM, in the office by 8:00AM, out by 6:00PM, and finish with an hour or two after the kids go to bed. Weekends typically have a work hour or two both Saturday and Sunday.

    I have three problems with my addiction: 1) I really love what I do for a living 2) I’ve always worked with virtual teams across time-zones and date lines – time has never meant anything to me when it comes to work 3) most things I do involve electronic communications – anywhere there’s an Internet connection or a computer…I can work. When an idea hits me I jump to capture it, fire off an email, update a project, etc.

  7. Susan Getgood said:

    I’m probably all over the map in terms of total hours, but I can say with certainty that during the week, the day begins around 8 and ends around 10pm. I may do “non-work” stuff in that time (like eat dinner with the family or play with my dogs) but I am pretty much on most of the time. Some days I do more personal things durng the day than others, but it is always a long day. On the weekends, I probably put in 2- 3 hours on Saturday morning and a couple hours on Sunday.

    Yes I am a workaholic 🙂

  8. avi said:

    D. I have a full time job in an hi-tech company and I also freelance a little.

  9. steven streight aka vaspers the grate said:

    I’m starting to like this here blob, I mean blog. Mr. Bly are you a former direct marketing copywriter or poet? Your nomenclature rings a seme bell seemingly to me.

    I work 16 to 20 hours a day. Sleep 3 hours a week.

    If you think I’m lying or crazy, just ask my wife.

    Nice captcha.

    How much do those widgets cost?

  10. Martin Alak said:

    I’m working exactly 40 hours a week because the company I work for won’t let me work more. I wouldn’t mind working more so I could actually afford to buy things, but its hard find a second job that’s only one day a week.

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  17. Kalsriv said:

    I work some 50 hrs a week, even if I have pressure from the upper management. This I do not to get caught unprepared when the circumstances are bad. I suppose even those working smarter now had worked hard in past or have undergone great deal of boot-camping.

  18. rahimi said:

    hello, well as a student maybe it is quite hard to say how many hour did we really work coz every day full of assignment, project, tutorial and a lot more. maybe more than 70 hours a week.

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  21. ProCopywritingTactics said:

    Success and hard work go hand in hand. I think we shouldn’t be quick to be seduced by the ‘work smarter’ myth and think that if only we can find some magic way to ‘work smart’ we will be able to achieve success whilst resting on our laurels.

    It’s the same myth sold to overly busy parents, where they are told that they don’t need to spend a lot of time with their kids, as long as they spend quality time with them. To kids LOVE = TIME.

    The same way SUCCESS = HARD WORK.

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