How To Avoid Working Hard And Still Be Successful; Practical Ways To Work Smart

They met in their third year at the university. Uche  and Jude got along so well due to the fact that they had same interest; entrepreneurship. In fact Dayo became jealous of Uche because he felt Jude no longer spend time with him the way he used to before meeting Uche. Dayo has no interest in entrepreneurship.  He believes he doesn’t have the efficacy to manage business. “I don’t mind working under somebody. Once I am being paid well,  I am okay with it.  Not everyone was designed to be a CEO.” Dayo often say. 

Jude and Uche fortunately desire to be “agricultural entrepreneurs;” cultivating, processing and selling farm produce. It was a clear vision to them because they sort counsel and are relentlessly updating themselves with the most demanded produce in the market. They both plan to fan into flame their blueprint once they are through with the university.

After university, they both were posted to the same place to serve, as they selected during  their NYSC (National Youth Service Corp) registration. Immediately after the one year mandatory service, Uche decided he was going to stay back at Kwara state Nigeria, and start up a poultry before going into mechanized farming, while Jude decided to leave for Benue state Nigeria, which has always been his choice when it comes to agricultural entrepreneurship. His Childhood friend Lawrence, works there and he regularly visit him, which offers him the leverage to survey the state before he finally move in. 

3 months later, both friends were doing good as starters in the entrepreneurship journey. Uche makes at least N10, 000 ($27.59) every week. While Jude makes at least N15, 000 ($41.38) weekly. Uche made a decision to settle for poultry for the next two years before going in to mechanized farming. He decided to employ two people, so as to have time to increased his proficiency in his business and the subsequent one he will begin in two years. Uche’s poultry productivity increased and this correlate with his sales.  He made trice his initial amount weekly but due to the fact that he had to pay his employees, attend paid coaching sessions and Masterclass and save for his mechanized farming,  he had less amount coming for his up keep at that time. But he was glad because his budget was intentional. Jude on the other hand was overwhelmed by his income hence,  he decided to employ one person because he felt he won’t earn more by employing much people. Often,  he goes home exhausted but will need to get up early the next day and leave for his farm.

Fast forward to three years later,  Uche was doing great at his poultry and has a plantation of variety of fruits, which he mostly supply to beverage companies. He got to connect with some of the beverage companies he supplies through meeting with some of the employees and managers at seminars and masterclass he was attending. Uche’s farm grew to accommodate 466 workers and was patronized nationwide. 

Jude’s farm was well patronized though not as much as Uche’s. He has few employees, which makes it hard for the farm to meet it customer’s demand. Uche had advised him to get some machines that can substitute manual labour since he doesn’t want to have more employees but he disregarded the advice. “I haven’t triggered them to work hard that’s why we are not meeting our customer’s demand. But I am setting up a plan to pay them for working overtime. I often work overtime as well. So don’t worry about the machines. In due time I will buy it when I see the necessity.” Jude said. 

“Okay if you say so. But I  see the necessity now. You barely have time for yourself. Always in the farm,  when you can delegate the work that is keeping you in the farm. I just hope You See the necessity now, Man! because your sense of hard work can affect your health and relationships. Body no be firewood ooo” Uche said.

In the story above, we see how two people with great visions nurture their vision to success. It’s such a beauty that they could see their hard work paying off. Even though we could see the “hard work paying off,” we could also notice something different about the two friends, which is “Smart work or working smart.” Both friends worked hard but only one worked smart. 

Working hard and working smart are two scenarios that resonate success. Let’s see their definition;

Hard work means putting in long hours and effort in doing a certain work, which aims at the quantity as well as achieving the desired goal. Whereas, Smart work means spending less amount of time performing the same amount of work, which aims at quality and achieving goals with ease and faster. 

Working hard is a requisite for working smart but a lot of people still hang on to it, not projecting into working smart due to ignorance. It was obvious that Uche began working smart after he had worked hard to a desired point. Uche knew to improve his business productivity, he needed to delegate (employ workers), sort business consultants (coaching and masterclass appointment) and gain more relevant knowledge in his sphere of business (seminars) and he did all these to enable him achieve more success in less time and offer him time to commit to other things necessary to him. Jude on the other hand, felt he would attain greater success with same number of employees even when it’s obvious he needs to delegate, sort counsel and use mechanized method of farming to attain greater success. Though he was attaining success, it was at a slow pace compared to Uche’s.

This illustrate the fact that; hard work utilizes the traditional or manual form of working, involving little or no change.  A typical example is Jude. Most individuals work hard and don’t succeed or don’t easily succeed because they keep on working with an “analogue mindset” when a more efficient and easier format can be employed. It has often been said that when you keep doing the same thing, you will keep on getting the same result until you change what you are doing. It’s just like using a bicycle to cover 10km when you have a car available to cover that same distance. On the other hand, smart work involves using old ideas and transforming them to yield more efficient and faster result. And one of the qualities that inspire working smart is knowledge. 


GAIN KNOWLEDGE: according to Wikipedia, “Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning.” The necessity of gaining knowledge to inspire working smart cannot be too iterated. Making extra effort (working hard) to gain knowledge, by reading books, attending seminars and seeking consultations in whatever you do will give you an edge to work smart rather than just keep working hard.  Uche did this that is why his business is by far, productive, compared to Jude’s. Gaining knowledge helps you develop time management skills. Jude spends more than 18hours at his farm a day which makes him have less or no time for leisure. This is an attribute of lack of knowledge. There is a high probability that it will affect his health and relationship with his loved ones

EFFECTIVELY DELEGATE: To delegate means the ability to empower or choose somebody or people to carryout what “must not” be necessarily carried out by you. If you want to work smart, then you have to let go of some duties to be done by someone or people while you spend time doing what must be done by you. This is in itself an attribute of smart work. Brian Tracy in his book,  “Eat That Frog!” wrote; “A manager who cannot delegate properly is held back from using all his or her other skills at the maximum levels of effectiveness.” If you don’t delegate it only means that you won’t have time to explore your other potentials.

CULTIVATE TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS: Working smart isn’t about spending long hours doing what could be done in a couple of minutes. Gaining knowledge by reading books on researching on “time management skills” gives you guide on how you can work in less hours and still be successful at what you do. Cultivating time management skills does great to your personality, health and wealth because it gives you strategies to spend less time and be successful at what you do, helps you gain time to rest your body as regards to your health,  and helps you create time for God,  Family and Loved ones.

  • It saves time and give you opportunity to explore other potentials within you.
  • Better health condition and balanced life.
  • Makes you more productive, satisfied and builds up your self-esteem.
  • It makes you more valuable and creative.
  • Helps channel your energy to the right medium.

Alfred A. Montaper said, “Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.” It’s just simple, you can be working hard and not making progress but you can never work smart and be stationary. This doesn’t mean that hard work isn’t significant. Not at all.  In fact as I have highlighted, it’s  a requisite for working smart. But if you keep working hard without working smart, you will definitely be missing on it benefits. 
Here is a simple model; “Working smart is directly proportional to progress.” because  many people work hard but only few become successful.


  • Utilizing the social media to advertise your stock rather than only moving around with your stock.
  • As a student, taking time to study yourself and knowing which study format works best for you, then applying it. Rather than adopting what works for others.
  • As a programming language literate, using that knowledge in designing programs that makes it easier to perform tasks that could take long hours to manually preform them. 

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