Crypto de’ Medici recently tweeted that “Working hard is overrated. Working smart is underrated.” I agree, but I feel there’s a little more nuance to be found in that statement. And as I thought about the statement, and the concept in general, a hierarchy emerged. The previous statement posits that smart work is better than hard work. It places smart above hard. But there are more than just these two types of work. In fact, there are six.
Minimal work is the barest possible effort. For example, it is what an employee does if their aim is to avoid being fired. Average work is what the average person does. For the most part, this consists of doing enough, and only occasionally, more. Hard work is consistent over-spending of the most scarce of resources; time, energy and attention. Smart work is the evaluation of how you spend your scarce resources and the returns accrued, and their mindful use. Smart and hard work is what happens when all of your work time is optimised for maximum leverage. Smart and hard work, 24/7 is when your work is your life, and thus, your entire life is optimised for work. Think Elon Musk. Think someone whose recreation is designed in order to maximise the quality of their labour.
This is the hierarchy of work. Where within it do you fall?