I hate to say it but working hard may be the worst financial mistake you are presently making! In fact, those who struggle financially usually work harder than the rich but still end up making less money and achieving a lot less financial success. This is because the secret to making more money is not necessarily working harder and here are seven reasons why that’s the case!
Reason #1: Working hard leaves no time to think
The first reason why working hard will keep you poor is that working hard leaves no time to think. Working hard usually results in stress and this is one of the major factors that dampen creativity. It’s also often the reason why you’re unhappy when you come home from work. Stress is a major indicator that you’re drained mentally and emotionally and it’s also a sign that you need to get some rest. Even if you are able to think when you’re stressed, it is often difficult to implement the ideas because your creativity is at its lowest.
Furthermore, working hard usually leads to a loss of concentration and focus. Doing difficult tasks are very demanding and there is a limit to how much stress the body and mind can take. Therefore, when you work too hard, you push yourself beyond the limit and become less creative. For instance, it is often difficult for you to find something you’re looking for when you are stressed. Your mind also works similarly. When you are working too hard, your mind becomes stressed and it becomes difficult for it to process ideas.
Therefore, if you want to increase your productivity and think clearly, you must avoid working hard and work smart instead. Productive people are always looking for means to reduce the amount of work they do by working smart. Most of the innovations in the world today wouldn’t have been possible just by hard work. You think clearly when you are more relaxed that is why it seems the best ideas usually come early in the morning when you are taking a shower. This is because your mind is still relaxed at this stage and performing at its best. So what should you do if you have no time to think because of hard work? First, reduce the amount of work that you’re doing right now. Next, take some time to analyze your job and look for ways to work smarter. Remember, smarter, not harder.
Reason #2: Working hard ties effort and not quality to financial results
The second reason why your hard work is keeping you poor is that working hard ties effort and not quality to financial results. There are several people working in organizations but they are not all paid the same amount. The reason why they are paid differently is that they do not contribute the same amount of value. Many of the hardest working people in a company earn the least because the culmination of their hard work still doesn’t amount to much value.
To give you an idea of what I mean, let’s compare a dishwasher and a manager. A dishwasher works hard to keep all the utensils clean at all times while the manager works on other tasks such as developing a new product. If you compare the amount of energy that these two put into the work, you would expect the dishwasher to be paid more but this is rarely the case. The dishwasher ties the effort they make to the result that they obtain. However, the manager understands that the quality of their work is more important. The manager could develop a new product that will make the organization more money than all the efforts that the dishwasher could ever make.
Another way to understand why people who work hard are not the richest is to go back in time to when humans still depended on hunting and gathering to have food. The hunters were required to have enough physical strength because of the danger that awaited them in the deep forest or jungle where they hunt for animals. Sometimes, they could go for days without having anything to show for their efforts. However, humans soon realized that they could grow their crops and raise their animals instead of going into the bush to get food. Because of this, they started getting more results without working harder.
Therefore, the secret to making more money is not working harder but increasing your value. Look at the most paid people in your organization and the amount of value that they contribute. Start by learning how they provide the same value and very soon, you would be earning as much as they do.
Reason #3: Working hard leads you to burnout
Again, working hard keeps you poor because it leads you to burnout. There is a limit to how much work you can do but most poor people don’t pay attention to this. They try to work as hard as they can because their earnings are tied to how long they work. On the other hand, the rich don’t necessarily work for longer hours to make money. They have developed systems that make them work effectively without burning out. How do you think rich people still find time for fun and to do things they love? The answer is that they don’t work harder but they create systems to make them work effectively.
Another reason why working hard leads you to burnout is that you are not taking care of yourself. Many people develop bad habits such as eating unhealthy food and skipping workouts because of their work. They spend so much energy working hard forgetting that they won’t be able to perform at their full potential if they aren’t healthy. As a result, the law of diminishing returns sets in, and their productivity begins to dwindle.
So how can you reduce the amount of work that you do to avoid burnout? The first thing that you must do is to avoid working too hard. I know this sounds too simple but you can achieve this by creating processes that make you work more effectively. For instance, you can take advantage of technology to automate most of your works. A good example of this is creating an automatic email responder to reduce the time you spend going through and replying to several emails. Also, your mind becomes less productive when you stop doing the things that you love. Therefore, engage yourself in fun activities like spending time with your loved ones or going for a vacation.
Reason #4: Working hard means doing low-value activities
It’s entirely possible to be busy and working hard without having much to show for it. This is because most of the time, working hard means doing low-value activities and it doesn’t matter how much time you invest in low-value activities, you’re going to end up with poor results.
According to research from Harvard Business review, some workers spend about 41% of their time on activities that have little or no value. In other words, they spend about half of their time on activities that drain their energy and performance. Low-value activities make you work hard and consume a lot of valuable resources without a reasonable result to show for it. One of the best ways to avoid wasting time on low-value activities is to carefully analyze all your activities and separate the low-value activities from the important ones. For instance, if you are the manager of an organization, you shouldn’t be the one attending to all the emails and other administrative tasks. These activities are necessary but they don’t bring the greatest value to you.
Next, there are 3 things that you can do to the low-value activities once you’ve identified them. The first thing is to identify the activities that you can automate. This gives you time to focus on other important activities. The next thing to do is to delegate as many responsibilities as possible. And finally, delete any activity that doesn’t contribute any value to you.
Reason #5: Working hard means selling a limited resource
Another reason why working hard keeps you poor is that you are selling your time for money. Time is a limited resource and one of the resources that everyone has an equal proportion of. However, the rich understand how to buy more time from the poor. The problem is that we’ve all been taught that the only way to make money is to go to school, get a good job, and work hard. But this method of making money limits how much you can earn.
I’ll give you a practical example to show you what I mean. There are 24 hours in a day and the average adult sleeps for 8 hours. Out of the remaining time, you’ll probably spend 2 hours commuting to and from work and another 2 hours to get ready for work every day. Now you’re left with 12 hours to work and earn money. Out of these 12 hours, you might spend 1 hour going for a break and another 2 to 3 hours with your family. So you see why most jobs are 8 hours per day?
Assuming you earn as much as $50 to $100 per hour, you’ll still not have enough money because employment income has the highest tax and there are several bills waiting for you at home. Therefore, if you want to become rich, you have to work smart like the rich instead of working hard. Start by changing your mindset about work and increase your expertise and authority in your industry.
Reason #6: Working hard makes you more risk-averse with your money
Again, another reason why working hard keeps you poor is that it makes you risk-averse with your money. People who sell their time for money often find it difficult to make money through easier means. The disadvantage of this is that you will keep passing over opportunities because you are scared to take risks.
For instance, every investment involves a level of risk but people working hard may find it difficult to invest their money because they are afraid to lose it. Therefore, they miss every opportunity to grow their wealth by constantly being afraid to take risks. They prefer to keep their money in a savings account because they believe that it is safer that way. However, this isn’t the case as the money will eventually lose value over time because of inflation therefore making their aversion to risk just another cost of working hard!
Reason #7: Since everyone works hard you won’t stand out because of it
Finally, working hard keeps you poor since you won’t stand out because of it. Working hard does not require any specialized skills, therefore, the competition is very high. Let’s go back to the example of a dishwasher and a manager that I gave earlier. To become a dishwasher, you don’t need to go to college or have a special certification to wash dishes. However, to become a manager, you must be qualified and have some level of experience. So you see how difficult it is to stand out if you only work hard.
Again, it is often difficult to earn enough money if you’re doing a job that can replace you easily. Since most of these jobs do not require any level of skills, there are always more than enough people ready to work. However, if your job requires special certification and skills, your employers know that they cannot easily find someone to replace you so they would likely pay you more. Identify a skill that doesn’t require working hard today and start learning it if you don’t want to remain poor.
So, as you can see, hard work may not be all it’s made out to be after all!