Working Smart: Adding Value without Adding Hours

Kieran Kesner for Endeavor.

If you founded a company or are part of its team, the whirlwind and adrenaline of a scaleup environment are part of your day to day. The pressure to rapidly expand at all costs is constant. However, developing yourself as an entrepreneur should not be a passport to burnout.

According to Alejandro Melamed, CEO of Humanize Consulting, international speaker, and Endeavor mentor, working hard is an old concept defined by long hours that start early in the day and end late in the evening. 

However, the definition has shifted and hard work is no longer measured solely by the number of hours worked but by taking into account other indicators of results, such as performance. This updated definition is linked to the quality of work measured by the way we apply our time to achieve results. Turning hard work into smart work.

Do you feel that you are working more and it is not seen in the results? Do you think you are performing worse but you are working the same as always? We review some characteristics that define smart work so that you can evaluate how you are using your time. 

Maintain a Healthy Time-Effort-Impact Relationship

Most people are caught in an “activity trap”, says Melamed. That is, doing, doing, doing, without asking why. The moment we decide to question something and take a step back, we realize that some activities do not contribute to our goals and therefore can be eliminated or postponed for another time. A good way to start working smart is to ask, “Of all the tasks we complete in a work day, what really generates impact?

Review how Tasks are Completed & Propose a Change

A valuable smart work practice is to analyze how activities are being carried out by your teams and determine when a change is needed. Make time for brainstorming sessions with your teams. Listen to the opinions of those who carry out tasks and apply their input, this is key to developing smart processes. Place importance on the quality of the work and not so much the hours required to complete the tasks. Ask yourself these questions – does your team need an extra hour of planning to execute long term projects more efficiently? Are there tools to automate tasks that are currently done by hand? 

Don’t give up on Good Habits

Smart work requires conscious awareness of the objectives and processes that lead to efficient work. However, there are many that feel more comfortable leaving everything last minute, working “against the clock” or “under pressure” because it gives them good results. In some cases this can work, but doing this continuously will inevitably lead to burnout. In fact, it’s been proved that working in a more structured format leads to higher productivity. While it is difficult to work in a truly structured way in a scaleup environment, setting aside time to design routines to achieve goals, create personal calendars, and assigning time for breaks will allow you and your team to work smart long term.

This article is a translation of “Agregar valor no es sumar horas: la alta exigencia puede estar afectando tu negocio” by Endeavor Argentina. Translation by Endeavor Staff member Eric Marroquin with additional support from Laura Ginebra.

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