Boost Your Business: What working smarter really means

There was a time when the sun was the time clock. You worked from daylight until dusk to produce a successful harvest. There was no understanding of working 9-to-5. No populist “need to be balanced” explanation for working less.

You weren’t smarter because you worked less. There was only one reason why you didn’t put in the effort required to be successful. Because you were lazy, right?

But then we got sophisticated and learned that only stupid people need to work hard. If you could study hard and get your college degree, you could find a job where you didn’t have to work from dawn until sundown. Hmmm.

Then we learned that with even more advanced education and specialized training you could work as a manager and receive even better perks.

But over the last few generations, we’ve lost track of the real essence of achieving success. We’ve become confused. We’ve replaced success with a simple formula that says if you work smart you can live comfortably without working hard.

If you don’t want to sweat from sun up until sundown doing backbreaking tasks, then you need a college degree or specialized training.

Wrong! You still need to work hard. A degree will likely earn you a place in a cubicle instead of behind a plow. Book smarts might put you in the boardroom instead of the barn. But it’s not, by itself, the secret to success.

It’s just a better way to work hard. You have more options. More understanding. More creativity.

Successful people don’t shy away from hard work. In fact, everything we’ve been taught is a reminder that achievement is conceived simply through massive amounts of focused personal effort. If there was actually a Holy Grail of working smarter, it might simply be the belief that the smartest thing you can do is to work hard.

You don’t work hard because you’re stupid and don’t have any other options. You work hard because it’s the fastest way to get to where you want to be.

Whether you’re behind a plow or in front of a whiteboard, working harder is the smartest way to work.

** The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of Chadds Ford Live. We welcome opposing viewpoints. Readers may comment in the comments section, or they may submit a Letter to the Editor to


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About Maria Novak Dugan

Maria L. Novak Dugan is president of Marketing Solutions & Business Development, a firm in West Chester, PA, offering creative marketing services and goal implementation for small & medium sized businesses. For more information, contact Maria at 610-405-0633 or or visit She has more than 20 years experience in the Marketing & Sales Industry...13 of those as the sole Sales Representative for a Pennsylvania payroll company growing their client base by over 500 percent. Maria Novak Dugan is a member of the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce, Latino Luncheon Group of West Chester, Neighbors in Business of the Glen Mills Area, News4Women, and The Associated Press. She is also the former Managing Director of the Delaware Chapter of eWomenNetwork. Creating, developing, and conducting this division of a national organization strengthened her knowledge of networking, event planning, fundraising, and small-business development.



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