Hard Work vs Smart Work: What’s Better?

8 minute read
Smart Work or Hard Work: Which is Better?

Is hard work better or smart work? We are always taught that working hard can help us achieve our dreams and aspirations. But finding what’s better between hard work and smart work is quite a debate. Often asked in interviews or group discussions, we often look for the question of ‘how to answer: the difference between hard work vs smart work’.

Read this blog to know about which is better in the battle of hard work vs smart work, along with an interview answer, essay sample, as well as the key to blending both hard work and smart work and becoming efficiently effective.

Difference Between Hard Work vs Smart Work

Hard Work vs Smart Work

Check out these 20+ Daily Used English Words with Meaning

While working hard puts essential emphasis on putting in hours, smart work aims to find better and more efficient ways to tackle different tasks. Check out the most important differences between hard work vs smart work:

Basis of DifferenceHard WorkSmart Work
MeaningSmart work refers to finding effective and efficient ways to complete one or multiple tasks while also managing time and quality.Smart work refers to finding effective and efficient ways to complete one or multiple tasks while also managing time and quality both.
Essential FocusLargely on quantity rather than qualityEqually on both quality and quantity
ApproachThe conventional approach to handle any task without finding any other flexible ways to complete itExplores effective ways to accomplish work, be it delegating, prioritizing or organising the working process more smartly.
ProcessA simpler process is used with a direct approach to complete a certain amount of work in a particular amount of time.A flexible process is opted for with an essential emphasis on planning, delegating tasks, organising a team in a particular way and prioritizing schedules to achieve the set objectives.
Goal AccomplishmentWhen it comes to time restraints, hard work might not be the perfect way to achieve a set goal.Since smart work aims to manage time effectively, it can achieve end goals within the deadline and without compromising the quality.

Smart Work and Hard Work Examples

Hard Work vs Smart Work
Courtesy: Pinterest

As discussed, hard work is the key to success only if done smartly. However, to bring more clarity, let us understand it through some smart work and hard work examples:

Working HardWorking Smartly
You simply perform a taskYou get your job done in an efficient way
Follow only one way to do workLook for multiple ways to complete the task
Start with the task before planningYou first evaluate, plan, and then work
Work with dedication but results are not visibleEven with small inputs, results are visible
There is more physical stressMental techniques are used more, hence, less physical strain

How To Answer ‘Difference Between Hard Work And Smart Work’

Being one of the most common interview questions, you might be asked to elaborate upon the difference between hard work and smart work by the interviewer. Here is the best answer for ‘hard work vs smart work:

Answer #1

“I believe that hard work and smart work are both essential to bring effectiveness and efficiency to a task. While hard work makes sure that we are putting in the hours needed to accomplish certain things within time, smart work focuses on bifurcating the quintessential factors like who is the best person to do a particular task, when is the right time for doing it and what kind of hurdles we can anticipate. So, when blended, we can find the best way to complete a set task within time and ensure its optimum quality.”

Answer #2

“I prefer smart work over hard work and the reason for this is smart work has a more holistic approach to tasks than hard work. Despite yielding results, working hard incurs lots of time and energy while working smartly includes more work in a lesser amount of time. Working smart includes having better judgment, knowing what component of the work takes the longest time, and trying to reduce it creatively and rationally. Thus, smart work uses the key principles of management while also finding the best creative ways to approach work.”

Hard Work vs Smart Work PPT

Courtesy: Sarswat Malaram, Slideshare

Hard Work vs Smart Work Quotes

Hard work vs Smart work
Courtesy: Life Marbles

Here are some of the most popular hard work vs smart work quotes:

  • “I don’t believe in luck or hard work without the so-called “work smart”. It’s not all about how you work hard but it’s about how you manage your time, resources, and mind to work together for a better output.” ― Jayson Zabate.
  • “You ain’t get nothing for staying low, lazy. The world only trembles at the feet of the few craziest doers ever lived.” ― Olawale Daniel.
  • “Hard work pays off and pays the bills.”
  • “Nothing in this world is handed to you. You have to go out and get it! Nobody said it would be easy but hard work always pays off.”
  • “Successful people are not gifted; they just work hard, then succeed on purpose.”
  • “Beautiful pictures come to mind when eyes are closed. They can be realistic too when opened. It’ll require a blend of hard work and strategic moments.” ― Adeyemi Taiwo Eunice
  • “Work hard, and you will earn good rewards.
  • Work smart, and you will earn great rewards.
  • Work hard and work smart,
    and you will earn extraordinary rewards.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo
  • “The early bird gets the first worm, but the wisest bird gets the fastest one.”― Matshona Dhliwayo
  • “Be humble, ambitious, and always strive to be the most competent worker wherever you find yourself. Don’t just work hard; think smart, work smart.” ― Emmanuel Apes

What Does Smart Work Mean?

Way back in the 1930s, Allen F. Morgenstern said, “Work smarter, not harder”. However, the discussion on hard work vs smart work arose even more, when Gordon B. Hinckley said, “ Without hard work, nothing grows but weed.” So, which one to choose? Hard workers are people who are goal-focused and study in-depth, without realizing the limitation of time. Their rigorous concentration often misleads them as they do not realize how dynamic the circumstances can be. Here is exactly where smart work comes into play. Sharply using your brain and by administering your analytical reasoning skills you can achieve your target in comparatively less time with minimal usage of resources and energy consumption.

A job that takes hours to complete for someone who works hard, a smarter individual can finish in less time. One of the classic examples of working smartly is Aesop’s Fables’ story of “The Crow and the Pitcher”. Smart work doesn’t indicate the absence of work but it is the ability to be spontaneous and use creative strategies. This boosts growth and also leaves time for other activities and creativity. However. “Smart work” is highly subjective and varies according to each individual. 

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”-Bill Gates 

Source: Sandeep Maheshwari

Elements of Smart Work

There isn’t any secret strategy that one can use. Even though some people are born/raised with certain qualities, developing skills for smart work is possible but takes substantial time. Here are a few points that can help you build yourself. The elements of smart work include:

  • Coming up with creative and rational ways.
  • Being adaptable to situations.
  • Being spontaneous in your actions and thoughts.
  • Updated Knowledge of various prospects of your work.
  • Being bold but not rebellious with your moves.
  • Knowing the networks.
  • Being able to make appropriate decisions at uncertain moments.
  • Improvisation
  • Knowing how and where to invest time and money.
  • Knowing who’s who of your work or similar industries.

These were a few elements of smart work. We are given abundant resources to know the current world affairs/issues and learn newer things. We must utilize these to deliver ‘Smart work’. To build qualities one must read books, newspapers, articles, and blogs; research in the relevant fields; watch related movies/ series; understand what tactics are being used. 

Is Your Approach Smart?

Are you looking to understand smart work vs hard work? Merely working smart would not fetch you fruitful results in the long run. It is essential to work hard first because then only you will understand what you are doing and accordingly construct a smarter plan. Unfortunately, people tend to switch to smart work without putting in additional effort in this fast-paced world and it might lead to a downfall. Just like preparing for competitive exams like the GMAT, SAT, GRE, etc. students directly jump to problem-solving instead of focusing on the concepts that would require a little hard work.

Learning Skills For Students & Working Professionals

When fighting for hard work vs smart work, let’s take a look at the main ingredients of smart work that would guarantee you speedy success when combined with hard work:

Working Hard Plus Intelligent Decisions
Do you think working round the clock would ensure you successful returns? When you want your hard work to pay off, it is equally important that you make smart decisions so that you get efficient outcomes using minimal effort and resources.  

Know About your Goals
Before you even start working hard, it is of utmost importance that you have a clear vision of what your objectives are. When you do not know where your hard work is going, you end up wasting your time and energy. Always prepare a list of your short-term and long-term plans and trace your progress accordingly.

Manage your Time
Time is always precious and you have to be able to identify and schedule all your tasks precisely. Everything you do, ensure that you’re hampering your time and be aware of what type of tasks take the maximum time to complete. You would not want to ruin even your seconds doing anything wasteful, would you?   

Know the Impact of Your Work
Your aim should not be to achieve your goals anyhow but to ensure fruitful and productive results. Do not execute your tasks blindly, rather know the impact of your work and how does can help you accomplish your targets. Keep track of your working techniques and progress for profitable results.

Imbibe Smart Work as a Prominent Quality

Ever wondered how Elon Musk became the richest man in the world today? He was a game-changer and believed in working smartly and wasn’t a trend follower. In the contemporary world, with various opportunities and areas of work, competition is equally fierce and companies require efficient workers.  To reach the top of the pyramid of excellence, one must possess qualities that make them stand out.


Q1. What exactly does “brilliant work” imply?

Finding more straightforward and efficient ways to finish your chores in the allotted time while maintaining quality is what brilliant work entails.

Q2. Which is better, effectiveness or efficiency?

The truth is that effectiveness takes precedence over efficiency. Task completion, activity completion, and goal attainment are all characteristics of effectiveness.  Efficiency is defined as the most optimal or cost-effective way of doing a task.

Q3. Is intelligence the most important factor in achieving success?

Intelligence outperforms personality attributes like being kind, diligent, and generous in terms of success.

Q4. What are the elements of smart work?

The following are the elements of smart work:
Coming up with creative and rational ways.
Being adaptable to situations.
Being spontaneous in your actions and thoughts.
Updated Knowledge of various prospects of your work.

Q5. What are the tips for a smart work approach?

The following are the tips for a smart-work approach:
Know about your goals
Manage your time
Know the impact of your work

We hope you liked our blog, where we tried to cover the difference between hard work vs smart work. To read more informative articles like this one, keep following Leverage Edu!

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  1. I love this blog because the blog clearly defines smart work and hard work. Thank you so much for giving us a clear definition.

  1. I love this blog because the blog clearly defines smart work and hard work. Thank you so much for giving us a clear definition.