The mistake in the work smarter not harder adage was highlighted to me by my 9 year old son.
I had been moving his music practice from 15 minutes a day to 20 and he didn’t like it.
Mr 9 works best when he has control of his life and changing the amount of practice he did took his control away. My solution was, if he couldn’t control his practice, let him control mine. He got to decide how much practice I did with my recently acquired guitar.
I suspect you can see where this is heading.
The good news, the problem was solved, Mr 9 did his 20 minutes happily and set me 20 minutes a day.
A week and a half later he decided to flex his muscles.
I did 1 hour and 20 minutes of practice that day.
The following day it was 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Then 1 hour and 20 seconds. His reign of terror had begun.
After 4 days of practice he wasn’t reducing his demands, but something unexpected had happened. Because I was practicing so much my guitar playing was improving much faster than it had. I decided I liked it and, much to the surprise of my sons, voluntarily kept to his 1 hour a day regime.
I’ve seen the same thing work in sales.
People condemn mindless activity, but I’ve found once you work smart enough, often it’s better to just increase the volume of the core activities rather than spend time tinkering to get things just a little bit better.
Preparation can be procrastination.
The funny thing with the increased activity is if you are alert, think about what you’re doing and assess for improvements, the increased volume means increased opportunities to learn. So by working harder you end up working smarter as well.
I didn’t forget to thank my son.