Hard Work versus Working Hard
There is a fundamental difference in the energy it takes when we are facing the Hard Work factor or Working Hard. I like to describe the energy levels of these 2 elements as follows:
- Hard work – ENERGY (vitality) OUT
- Working hard – ENERGY (vitality) IN.
The distinction comes in the intent behind each of these statements and where and how we choose to spend our time and perspective.
1. Hard Work
If you find something hard work – then generally it takes a lot of effort to achieve, action, think about or do. It can be mental, physical or emotionally hard work. Which is often why people avoid opening pandora’s box and discussing to working on known and unspoken issues, because it’s just too exhausting and too much “hard work”.
- If someone is described as hard work, it’s not generally a compliment.
- If something is described as hard work it doesn’t come easy, is energy sapping and un-motivating.
Let me be clear – I am not making a distinction about which tasks come under these categories – for example some people LOVE numbers and find admin and accounting energising and interesting, while others labour through it and usually avoid spending time in that area as it’s too much ‘hard work’.
Digging holes can be hard work to some and therapeutic and energising to others. The message here is we must apply our own thinking on where we spend our time and energy based on what lights you up or dims you down.
2. Working Hard
I work extremely hard – but it GIVES me energy as I am passionate, driven, engaged and inspired by what I do, who I work with and HOW I work. I’m not afraid of hard work as in my context I have a “roll up your sleeves” type approach and the #getthisdone philosophy.
- There will be things that you can do from dusk till dawn as it is motivating, engaging and interests you.
- There will be other things you do that you find a grind, exhausting and down right energy sapping.
That’s a part of life. The trick is to understand and define those elements to plan your week and actions with the most efficient approach to personal performance and potential.
Overall we need to ensure we find a blend of doing tasks that enable us to live a fulfilled life and career and not leaving tasks that drain us to the last minute
The first step is being clear of things that add and detract energy
The second step is applying a practical approach to the elements that detract energy
- Can you delegate any of these out?
- Can you be more informed so that you perform these tasks quicker and more efficiently?
- Is there someone in your team and family that loves these tasks and you could share the workload with them?
Importantly – I always try to pause before jumping into something and consider
a) Is this going to have a positive outcome, contribute and make an impact (it could even mean finishing admin for the week)
b) Is this a drag, not really on strategy and just something that is not going to serve me, others, the purpose and am I the best person for that job.
c) How can you approach tasks, work and details differently?
A good friend of mine and guru for big business performance, Rowdy McLean, says he likes to have as many conversations on the golf course as he can. So he’s taking the Walk and Talk philosophy a step further with some awesome coaching sessions on the green. Blending his work with what he loves to do.
The Prescription. I distill all this down into a Vitality Bank™ balance:
So how do you personally make the distinction and a plan of action to shift from hard work to working hard on things that matter?
– What are you working on that gives you energy and builds your VITALITY BANK
Let’s call those DEPOSITS
– What are you working on that detracts from your energy, drags you down, exhausts you and decreases your VITALITY BANK?
Let’s call those things WITHDRAWALS.
Here’s my VITALITY BANK™ model I often use when coaching or running workshops.
Take this as an example and draw up a left and right hand column on a sheet of paper.
- Left Column – Working Hard – deposits
- Right – Hard Work – Withdrawals
5 points for each item. These should cover tasks, people, projects, your personal goals, admin, career and elements you do for others. What’s your Vitality™ Bank Balance?
From work, tasks, admin, people you hang out with, wellbeing, ME time and where you are giving back.
From all these elements – which things give you energy and what decreases your mojo?
Download your copy of the Vitality Bank Balance Sheet here – YES PLEASE!
What is your vitality bank balance?
Are you having more deposits than withdrawals on your mental, emotional and physical energy, where can you make changes? Use your list as your guide to change the balance into the black and not mortgage your time and your personal vitality by doing things that stress you or ask yourself how can approach them differently.
Wrapping this up:
How we manage our energy levels is all about personal choice. We need to understand the ‘must do’ tasks in our life and know where to put our energy for the ‘want to do” tasks and activities. There is always a blend.
The important distinction is knowing what lights you up, what decreases your personal hard drive and how to find a seamless balance between the 2. Start planning your winning weeks, identifying your non-negotiables and being very clear where you put your time, focus and fortitude.
After all we must be the CEO of our business and career as well as life.
Thanks for joining me today on the blog and I hope you get to read more, do more and be more with these tips.
Yours in Vitality