Working Smarter not Harder

By Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo

I know of a manager of a water pump company in Manila who was such a hard worker or as they say in America a person who, “works his rear off”.  The reason why he became a manager was because of his work ethic.  But it was also this same reason he got sick and landed in the hospital for work burn out.  He lost all the additional salary he got for getting promoted and for working overtime, to pay for his hospital bills. I came to the conclusion that he worked harder  not smarter.

First rule in working smarter is to prioritize your health.  The manager of our story, put up so much overtime work that he came home late and was sleeping late.  He lacked adequate sleep that became a ticking time bomb for his health.  The lesson here is you should be willing to trade off any extra money you could earn rather than sacrifice your body.  Otherwise, you might easily become the perfect example of the tagalog saying, “Aanhin pa ang damo, kung wala na ang kabayo” (What is the grass for, if the horse is dead).

Second rule of working smarter is learning how to delegate.  When you have a reliable assistant your work output and efficiency would easily double and will give you extra time to work on other things.  The key is to train well your assistant or assistants to do your other jobs.  The mistake of self-made managers is to look at every problem as their own.  Meaning they take their work challenges so personally that they work hard on solving the problem themselves and forget about a good work multiplier: delegating.   Here’s John Maxwell’s practical five stages advise in delegating:  1) I do it, 2) I do it, you watch, 3) We do it together, 4) You do it, I watch, and 5) You do it.  The idea here of leadership guru John Maxwell is to simulate the job first with your assistant so that there’s a clear reference for him or her to follow.  Remember that you are delegating a job and not dumping it on your subordinate.


Third rule is to plan your day well through daily meditation.  This would sound like a spiritual activity and it is.  It is hitting two birds with one stone.  You are able to get in touch with God at the same time you are able to plan your day well.  I am a firm believer and practitioner of this great spiritual and time management exercise because not only could you see your daily tasks ahead in a calm and objective way, but you also get to ask God to help you with your plans.  Without silent reflection, your day will just drift to nowhere much like a banca that is at the mercy of the force of the waves, if the boat man will not struggle to paddle.  The paddling would be your daily prayer and planning.  If you don’t pray and plan your day you will end up wasting your day without accomplishing anything.  A minimum of 15 minutes of prayer-planning would do.  Of course, the topic of your prayer is not only your daily activities but also your relationship with God.  It has worked wonders for me because you get to see which activities to prioritize that would make your day a winner. This habit is the key in helping you reach your career goals and ambitions.  “In silence and hope shall be your strength.”  (Isiah 30:15)