Hard Work

After I was done with college, I’ve always struggled with staying focused on my own businesses, websites and various projects. When you don’t HAVE to wake up early in the morning and work, sometimes you don’t.

I’ve always had some sort of excuse for not working or being distracted. Even my recent stint at the loft was mainly an effort to be more productive. At one point I blamed the place I was living for being “too boring” and not stimulating enough, and then in another place I blamed it for being “too distracting.”

I would often go to coffee shops or various places to “Liven up the atmosphere” to get more work done, but most of the time the difference between staying home and going elsewhere was very little…and when you go elsewhere, it often means transportation time, buying coffee, being distracted by happenings around you, making a stop to a restaurant for lunch etc. etc. etc..

After a while of doing this and only being semi-productive each day, I got used to not doing much work each day. So what I THINK is a lot of work really isn’t even 3 solid hours worth.

So as of the last few weeks I’ve come to the stark realization that there is no substitute for plain, dumb, hard work. All the people I’ve seen who’ve really accomplished something have simply just worked harder than the rest. The big trend in business books now is to say “Don’t work hard, work smart.” From what I’ve seen, most people who’ve achieved greatness have done both at the same time.

Of all the little tips and tricks and motivators I’ve used over the years, the only one I’ve stuck to for a substantial length of time is making a to-do list the night before. So if it’s Wednesday night right now, I should already be whipping up Thursday’s to-do list.

Blog posted on: August 30, 2007

12 comments on “Hard Work

  1. William

    Trust me you’re not the only one who can’t focus. Recently I’ve noticed that I spend alot of time thinking up good ideas for businesses and then just keep putting them off to the point where they never get started.

  2. Roi Avinoam

    I agree with every word. I’m suffering from the same thing, laziness. Being smart and resourceful can only get you to a certain point, past that you’ve got to put some effort.

    I tried using a To-Do list too a while ago, and wasn’t very successful. If you have any better ideas, please share :-)

  3. tcrice

    I’m not huge on making plans but I can’t leave without my planner with me. I feel more comfortable knowing what I need to do without the possibility of forgetting. a to do list/ planner is a relatively recent discovery for me that has made life so much more simple I wonder why everyone doesn’t do it.

    -Christine, certified networked advisor (CNA)

  4. Chris O.

    I definitely agree with this: “The big trend in business books now is to say ‘Don’t work hard, work smart.’ From what I’ve seen, most people who’ve achieved greatness have done both at the same time.” Those who work hard AND smart are rewarded.

    Also, I once had a friend whose father told me two pieces of advice: “Whatever you’re doing, do it 15 minutes longer than the next guy, every time,” and, “Whatever you’re doing, do it like you’re being paid $1,000,000 for it.”

  5. Marco

    The funniest part of all is that when I first stumbled upon your blog, it was a HUGE motivator for ME! I would check your site hoping you would post something to “keep me going” with my own goal setting and ambitions. I saw all the things you were doing and it was a huge motivator, I thought “damn this guy has got it together” You still do as far as I am concerned, my only point is that your past posts that spoke on the subject of motivations and goals are needed for us and possibly for yourself!!!

  6. Jill, housewifery.wordpress.com

    Holy Smokes! Your positive attitude and drive come through — plus good ole accountability. I just started a videoblog on personal finance and life balance (…husband and I just had some big reality checks prompting us to get it TOGETHER!). And thus I just stumbled on your blog. Your tone and sense of order, whether you realize these traits or not, really transmit. So thanks for the work-hard-is-worth-it reminder. -Jill F.

  7. lsg

    I feel the same way. A to-do list the only way to keep me on track during a normal day. In addition, it gives me an idea of what I have accomplished as well. In regards to motivation, I agree with Chris in that I found this blog to be a personal motivator.

  8. Mike

    Bravo Neville,

    I’m semi-retired (at 62), and it’s a bad idea. I have just the same feeling— pretending to work on certain pet projects and taking all day doing it.

    I have started to worry that perhaps I’m pre-Alzheimer’s, but your admission causes me to think that perhaps I just need a lifestyle adjustment.

  9. Cuckee

    Success definetely does not come cheap. Discipline is one of the pre requisites for that. I also create a to do list and try to ensure that i stick to that. Blogging on a daily basis at http://www.cuckee.com is one of those to-do basics that i follow sacrosacntly.

  10. Jonathan Ouellet

    I just recently started a blog (ouelletblog.com) 3 weeks ago in order to document the building of my apparel business, and I have to say that it has helped keep me really motivated. I link all my posts on my Facebook account so that my friends can see what I’m up to. I am finding that I am holding myself accountable during times of distraction to what ever I post on my blog. This is due to the the social pressure of making sure I keep my word based on what I post.

    Jonathan Ouellet


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