"Working hard" is a virtue that is often praised in our society. It is considered to be a great compliment to refer to someone as a hard worker. And while we are sometimes cautioned against overwork, most people would rather be thought of as workaholics, rather than slackers. For many, being thought of as lazy ranks right down there with being a liar or a thief.
But what exactly do we mean by the phrase "working hard"? Do we mean always doing physically or mentally ardous work every moment of every working day. Does it mean working to the point where we drag ourselves home physically or mentally spent and drop into bed exhausted at the end of every work day? Does it mean we always work as fast as we possibly can? Does it mean searching out more work, even busy work, when there is nothing productive to do, so that every minute is spent "Doing Something", even if it's pointless labor?
And this brings me to the point of this entry, the difference between "working hard" and "working smart". Someone working smart will attend to necessary tasks in a timely fashion in order to meet specific productive goals and at a steady, though not necessarily, frenetic, pace. Work done is always toward a useful goal and is not engaged in merely to "keep busy". Work is seen as but one component of a balanced life, where rest and leisure are seen as equally important, as someone who gets enough rest and leisure usually tends to work more productively. Work is seen merely as a means to an end, rather than an end of itself, so anything that can make a job easier is seen as an advantage.
Someone who works smart realizes that above all, we are paid for the time we give up for the needs of our employers, apart from the actual labor we do. Time is our most important cmmodity as , once spent, we can never have a particular block of time back in our lives to do over. In other words, once June 11, 2010 is over, I'll never have another June 11, 2010 to spend again doing different things.