There's no substitute for hard work, they always say.
And it is so true! But do you ever feel like you're working extremely hard and not seeing any benefit or reward from it? You may be placing your efforts into the wrong place.
When I was a little girl, I remember learning how to put my seatbelt on by myself, and getting super frustrated with that thing. It would get stuck when I was trying to pull it, so I would pull harder, then it would get stuck once again! I would pull and yell, then it would somehow scratch my face and the whole thing would turn into one big mess. I remember one time in particular when this occurred and my dad patiently came over to help me out. I couldn't have been more than five years old, but I still remember the words he told me. "Joanna, work smarter, not harder." Simple statement most of you have probably heard before. But as a five year old child, this was the first time I had ever that said. And it blew my mind! I remember realizing that pulling the seatbelt harder wasn't going to do any good. I had to slow down, let it go, then slowly pull it over and around to the buckle. I've had seatbelt success ever since! ;)
My point in writing all of this is to remind you to put your hard work and efforts into places where they will be used to the best interest of you and others. When pulling doesn't work, just pulling harder doesn't do any better. If you are working really hard at something that just doesn't seem to be going anywhere, it may be time to re-examine some things. Now the question - ok, that's cool, but how do we do this? Well lucky for you (and me!) I've written down some tips on ways you can start working smarter, instead of burning yourself out and working oh so much harder.
1 // Examine your day. How do you spend the precious 24 hours you are given? Are you spending hours and hours on achieving the perfect text effect in Photoshop? There's definitely nothing wrong with that. But have you tried Googling shortcuts or tutorials on how you can achieve the same effect in half the time? I just discovered a shortcut in Illustrator (an Adobe program) the other day that will save me tons of time in the future. I was spending lots of time working to create this effect, not knowing there was a button I could press that does it for me! A perfect example of working smarter. Google is your bff.
2 // Slow down and think. Take a break. Even if it's just for 10 minutes, to think about your day. What do you need to get done, and how are you going to achieve that? Figuring this out was huge for me. I used to say to myself, "I can't take a break, there's too much to get done, I don't have 10 minutes to stop and plan!" But in all reality, those 10 minutes you take to do some planning and thinking will save you tons of time and help you get things done much faster! You may be slowing down for a minute, but in the long run, you're saving so much of your precious time!
3 // If something isn't working, change it up! Einstein said that doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is insanity. Not saying anyone reading this is insane, but if what you're doing each day isn't getting you the results you need, it's time for change! Change isn't easy, especially when you've set yourself into a pattern. But change is vital for growth. Do you have a business but are having a hard time getting the kind of clients you want? Maybe you need to start attending events where your ideal clients are hanging out and get to know them. Reach out to your favorite blogger whose audience is similar to the clients you want, and see if they will feature your work! Do you have a ton of traffic coming in to your site but no one is buying what you're selling? Maybe you need to re-examine your product and how your site is set up. (Good design is key!) Examine what isn't working, and think about how you can change that. Also examine what is working, and how you can make it work better! Change is good my friends, and you won't be able to grow in whatever you are doing without it.
4 // Learn from the mistakes around you. There are tons of people who have ventured out and done similar things to what you are doing now. Take a look at them. Did they succeed? How did they do that? Did they fail? What mistakes did they make that you can avoid? Mistakes are made everyday and if examined, you can figure out how to not waste your time making the same ones. There's no need to re-invent the wheel and start from scratch with something that has already been figured out. Learn from mistakes. Yours and others. It will save you time and stress in the future!
5 // Take advantage of technology. There are so many softwares and apps that are created to help you do things better. Everything from keeping a calendar, to bulk editing those weddings you shoot every weekend. Don't slave over things that can be done quicker. Use your resources, and if you don't know how to find them, ask around. (Hello Google!) Follow tech blogs. There's so much out there to help you save time and do what you do better. Take advantage!
These are things I'm currently learning as I continue on my journey as a small business owner. As I write these things I'm really talking to myself! I hope this can help you in some way in your journey, whatever that may be!
Happy Thursday friends! The weekend is almost here! AH! So much to do!