“Hard Work” is Different than “Hard-to-Do-Work”!

30 JUL, 2014
by Bikash Mohanty

Whether we’re a student or well-to-do in our career, if our goal is to build a remarkable life, then busyness and exhaustion should be our enemy. If we’re chronically stressed and up late working, we’re doing something horribly wrong. We’ve built a life around hard-to-do work, not hard work. 

The solution suggested is as simple as it is startling: is to do less. But do what we do with completeness and hard focus. Then when we’re done, be done, and we go enjoy the rest of the day with rest of our time.  We’ve seen this phenomenon time and again. A comparison/observation of life-style of high achievers, with that of average achievers. How they are different or what do they do differently! It is often found that:

  • An average person; works just as many hours as the efficient person (around 40 hours a week).
  • But the average person do not dedicate these hours to the right type of work (spending almost 3 times less hours than the efficient person on crucial deliberate practice.
  • And furthermore, an average person spread this work haphazardly throughout the day. So even though they’re not doing more work than the efficient person; the average person ends up sleeping less and feeling more stressed. Not to mention that they remain worse at the work.
  • Perhaps; one of the real observations is about taking more naps. Efficient people are better performers. Perhaps they engage in behaviours that are greater learning challenges (hence deliberate challenging practice) and enhance these efforts through neural consolidation via more sleep -naps and dreaming.

There’s a difference between hard work and hard-to-do-work:

  • Hard work is deliberate practice. It’s not fun while we’re doing it, but we don’t have to do too much of it in any one day (efficient people spent, on average, 3.5 hours per day engaged in deliberate practice, broken into few sessions). It also provides them measurable progress in a skill, which generates a strong sense of contentment and motivation. Therefore, although hard work is hard, it’s not draining and it can fit nicely into a relaxed and enjoyable day.
  • Hard-to-do-work, by contrast, is draining. It has the people practicing the same, running around all day in a state of false busyness that leaves them, being average/achieving average, feeling tired and stressed. It also, has very little to do with real accomplishment.

The basic activity here is to wiring our brain through training, expansion, integration, and development. Anybody would be horrible if they were regularly sleep deprived. Rest and relaxation is incredibly important to cognitive and creative development, and not just sleeping at night. Naps and relaxation periods are when we engage in free association and imagination. where we make NEW connections.

Everyone knows this; that children, who are learning the most must sleep the most. If we want to learn more, really extend what we know, we will be sleeping more for the same reason that children sleep more. We have to recharge and build our brain network.

Neural pathway formation is very sensitive and dependent on neuro-chemistry. But once pathways are formed, they are much more robust and less sensitive to neuro-chemistry. e.g. learning to ride a bike depends on mood and feeling. But once we learn how to ride a bike our moods and feelings are irrelevant to our ability to do it.

Mood and feelings are primarily driven by neuro-chemistry. This is why we do training for intense situations in non-intense situations to build pathways unaffected by the impacts of intenseness.  The efficient performers likely have a much more integrated approach to their life-style that involves rest and down time as well as focused time.