Hard Work vs Smart Work: Definition, Which One Is Better & Differences

Hard work Vs Smart Work

Hard work vs Smart Work: Do you prefer working hard or working smart when you are asked to do a given task?Most times, you might assume that these two concepts are vague and meaningless, but we will analyze hard work and intelligent work so that you will understand when to apply either of them in completing your task.


The central question we will focus on now is: are you a hard worker or a smart worker?

The term working smart and working hard are two different ways in which we employ to solve a given task successfully in the course of our career. The primary dilemma you will likely face is choosing between the two approaches you will use because they are both excellent ways to accomplish a given task.

The choice is mainly dependent on the job’s objectivity and the time frame in which you are required to deliver the task. Whichever way it is, there are no cutting corners, as you must work diligently and efficiently, irrespective of your chosen approach.


It is correct to say that working hard is dependent on the time frame required to deliver a job or for you to reach a set goal. On the other hand, working smart is adopting a more efficient and quick means of achieving your goal.

The level of difficulty and the time factor is to be considered when making your choice on which one to use. It is proper that when you have ample time, you work harder and exert more energy to ensure that your client is satisfied with your job.

However, if you are running against time, it is wiser to find the quickest and most efficient way to make the work easier and deliver it on time.

For example, a student is given a mathematical task to solve a problem and submit it in the next class in 4 days. In this scenario, that student works hard to deliver the task because of the time frame and will most likely adopt the analog means of calculating the mathematics problem.

This is unlike a student who is asked to add up some figures quickly. It is smarter to do the work using a calculator or other device to give an accurate answer quickly.

Furthermore, as much as these two ways are legit ways of completing a task, it is essential for work diligence and customer satisfaction.

In this article, we will explain the difference between hard work and smart work, and we will give you our recommendations on how to work harder or smarter more efficiently and productively.

What is the Meaning of Hard Work?

Hard work generally entails the use of your strength and your endurance level to perform manual labor or a primary mentally demanding task that you are given. In this field, you are required to use more of your physical energy, especially those laborers working in the construction field or doing related tasks.

hard work

Hard work has a more descriptive meaning than a conceptual meaning, and the meaning is more or less relatively tied to the individual performing the task. Notwithstanding, we will adopt a standard explanation of what it entails in various circumstances.

If you work in an office, hard work is more inclined to how a person performs his task, and it has some qualities in it. This includes when the person comes to work, how quickly you deliver a task, and when you leave the office at the close of work. It all sums up your dedication in your workplace.

Summarily, working hard has a variety of definitions, as it all depends on your work environment and job description. However, employers will usually compulsorily require that you work hard to be promoted either in the office or in the field.

What is the Meaning of Smart Work?

We will give you a scenario-based definition of what working smart means. When you talk about working smart, you should consider a guy using the latest technology equipment to deliver his task and achieve his aim.

Working smart indeed requires more intellectual energy than physical strength because it requires you to be more creative to devise means to deliver the task given.

The concept of working smart differs according to your various field. For example, there are educational apps that have made learning smarter and more accessible. Moreso, programmers who work smart no longer needs to write those long codes manually. Instead, they can quickly adapt the drag-and-drop template from various websites, making website creation more straightforward and effortless.

Summarily, it is not invalid to say that working smart is likened to using an automated way to do a task. For example, one programmer writes codes manually, and the other uses automated means to create the website. They all do the same job but in different ways and deliver the same product, but it might be within different time frames.

Hard work vs Smart Work: Which is Better

Comparatively, there is no specific way to distinguish between working hard and working smart to determine the one that suits you more, and the most crucial factor influencing your decision depends on your work environment and job responsibility.

Hard work Vs Smart Work

According to Allen F. Morgenstern, one has to work smarter and not harder, and which makes working smarter better, because your profession will intrinsically need you to be a smart worker. For example a lawyer in the courtroom or carrying out a soliciting task for their client will be more of a smart worker than a hard worker.

Work in a factory or a construction company as a manual laborer. It would help if you understood that you must work hard to assemble products and mix raw materials with the machine operation. Therefore, the job requires you to be a hard worker and excel naturally. On the other hand, if you work in an app development or software company in the ICT department, you are supposed to be a smart worker.

The best way to appreciate and take advantage of it is to understand the two processes. It would help if you learned how to work hard first as you will realize some manual procedures. Then you can move on to become a smart worker, making your work delivery very efficient and accurate because you can apply both means to be more productive.

Differences Between Hard Work and Smart Work?

Irrespective of the differences we will highlight below, hard work and intelligent work have the same common goal and objectives, which are geared towards making the company or business a success. If it is an individual task, it could be to ensure ultimate client satisfaction with the job given to you.

Notwithstanding, we must consider some of the significant differences so that you will know the best that you should always adopt when working on a task.

1. Different Expectations

Smart workers have a complete understanding of their tasks and can develop a quicker and more efficient way to deliver and reach the target easily. So when you are required to be an intelligent worker, you are expected to be a problem-solver, and your team can always rely on you to help them fix the issues. Indeed, a smart person always has ideas on various ways to tackle problems.

On the flip side, working hard means you have to use your physical strength more than your mental power to accomplish the task given to you. In addition, it requires you to be patient, committed and enduring to see it to the end, in as much as smart work takes only a little time to complete as compared to hard work, which takes a longer time for you to finish it.

2. Process

If you go to a factory or a construction company, you will observe that the workflow there is already determined and is more or less a daily routine. This aim is to increase their production of goods or complete a construction project according to the contract time. So it is like you already know that you are operating a machine today, and everyone knows their daily task.

Smart work, on the other hand, is very flexible and does not have a daily routine template like hard work. The essence of intelligent work is for improvements and developments of new products with new ideas.

It might take time for competent workers to come up with a final result of their task against hard work that delivers efficiently. This is because intelligent work involves testing processes to ensure they fit the standard.

3. Concept

Hard work is built on using a simple method to perform a particular task and produce the same expected result. If you go into a factory, you will find different machines and engines at various stages of production. Those machines have been designed to produce the same result. Thus, it goes from mixing raw materials to finishing and packaging the goods.

Smart work, on the other hand, is concerned with how to make improvements on the machines and products to make sure that the device works more efficiently and customers are more satisfied with the outcome, which increases sales for the company. Innovative work will always look out for where the problem is and find a solution to it.

4. Personality

As we have said earlier, the personality of those who work smart differs from those who work hard. This is because smart workers are usually very creative and innovative and are more inclined to problem-solving and develop products. But, on the other hand, hard workers love to follow a particular rhythm of work every day, like a manual that directs them.

One of the advantages of hard work is that the constant repetition of the task makes it easier to be a master in the field, unlike smart workers who do not do a particular job daily.

5. Experience

There is a standing perspective, which is the proper position of things that hard work gives you experience, but it takes experience to be an intelligent worker. So you can look at it from the angle that you necessarily, in most cases, do not need an academic qualification to be a hard worker.

The project managers on the site will only ask you if you are ready to work, and they do not consider any prior experience that you have before coming for the job.

The case is different when it comes to being a smart worker. You need training and experience to become a smart worker. We are not equating smart work with an academic qualification, but you need to have the requisite balance in your mind before you excel as an intelligent worker.

For example, in Hard work: If you are required to find the measurement of a string, you can use the logic of the program, while smart work will only use the string functions to find the measurement of the string.

How to Become a Productive Smart Worker

Now that we have taken you through the differences between hard work and intelligent work, let us give you some tips on becoming a smart worker that would help you be more productive.

1. Be a problem solver

As we highlighted above, the core strength of smart work is the ability to develop and improve products and services for better satisfaction or ease of working. So if you are keen on being a smart worker, you should be willing to seek and identify the problems and possible improvements that can be made.

One of the ways to do this is to use the data report from the marketing department to know the current trends in the demands of the products in the market and the competition level.

2. Be a value-based worker

One of the ways to always remain relevant is to offer a value that you can always provide constantly. For example, to become a smart worker, you must be entirely concerned with creating more value for that business and your clients. The value could be in how you deliver your work, and it could be in the satisfaction your client gets from patronizing or buying your products, and it could also be benefits or the problem that the product solves for them.

The value can be applied to carving out a well-laid-out plan to develop product creation, delivery, and communication to make sure that your customers’ complaints are solved or reduced reasonably.

3. Conduct Research

If you want to solve problems and create value for your business and your customers, you should research and gather enough data from the public. The data we are looking at is the market trends( what kind of products are users looking at currently), what is consumer behavior, and the economic factor that affects the buying factor of customers.

Consider looking for untapped products in the market, developing them, and making them more presentable to customers; then that is innovative work. It takes a lot of planning, strategizing, and commitment to complete this kind of task. That is why we said that smart work isn’t about delivering a job, but they believe in providing value.

4. Make a Good Career Choice

Working in a good place can only be traded for something, especially when you want to grow and develop yourself. Therefore, when choosing where to work, it is advisable to pick an industry that will help you grow and give you a flexible environment to make input.

The above, if done correctly, will position you to be value-driven, and it helps to boost your confidence level, and then you can comfortably work on problems and offer solutions to them. However, suppose you find yourself in an office that does not regard personal development but is only interested in hard work.

In that case, you should reconsider your career and move to somewhere else where the work environment is amicable.

5. Understand Time Management

It is easier to work hard compared to working smart because being smart requires some skills and training and even to the extent of some principles. One of them is the art of time management. Time is precious, and an exact value cannot be placed on it, but the value depends on how well you were able to use the time.

If you find it challenging to manage your time effectively, use an app or a calendar to help you deal with distractions. Additionally, if you are dealing with time management, you should also deal with time wastage equally because if you are guilty of procrastination, you will lose on time management.

How to Become a Productive Hard Worker

We will also give you tips on how to become a hard worker and be more productive with your hard work to gain promotion and expertise in your field. The information below will assist you in making sure that you are on the right track and will always keep you in check.

1. Self-Motivation

It takes a lot of commitment and motivation to keep being a hard worker because you can quickly get drained physically and mentally. You always have to maintain a smile while you work because if you are grumpy, it will indeed affect your output and productivity.

One of the best ways to stay motivated is always to be positive and give yourself short and long-term goals, which you should be focused on achieving them.

But, more so, you should also understand that if you want to start working smart, you need to learn how to work hard first so that you always have the energy and driving force that keeps you flowing at all times.

2. Set up a Daily Routine

If you follow up on a particular task in the same manner consistently daily, you will become a master of the task you always do, and it becomes a habit for you. In addition, the daily routine is more precise and more defined if you have a goal you want to achieve. The daily routine is just like a road map toward achieving that task.

Example: If you want to solve a global problem, you should have a plan on how to do it, understand the problem, the causes, who the victims are, and if they are alternative solutions.

3. Stay Focused

Once your goal is clearly defined, the next task is to fix your eyes on it until you achieve it. That is what we mean when we say that you should be focused. Staying focused requires you to avoid distractions and concentrate on being more productive at your workplace.

This is because once you are distracted, it takes a lot of time for you to concentrate again on the same level as that task and remember that you have already wasted the time that you allotted to it initially, and you will surely need to make up for it.

4. Take A Break

It is imperative that as you are working hard that you should also have a work-life balance. It would help if you gave yourself time to rest, travel, and go on a holiday to refill the energy you have already exerted. You should make sure that you strike a balance between your work life.


We have gone through the discussion to distinguish hard and smart work for you. Go over it, know the choice to consistently make, and ensure you strike a balance. It pays to work hard and work smart as well, and they are just different methods of meeting your goals.


About Abayomi

Abayomi is an education student and a certified content and prolific writer in Nigeria who is concerned with serving scholars across all nations with in-depth research and quality content.

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