Make Hard Work Count With “Smart Work”


“What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.”

– Dwight Eisenhower

Christina Wodtke uses this Eisenhower quote in her book Radical Focus.  This quote sums up my personal failure to work smart, and I tie it directly to my emotionalism.

Emotion is one of, if not the most powerful force at work in our daily lives.  Whether we are giving our emotions free rein or suppressing them, they are a powerful force.

Something our emotions lead us to do is focus on the urgent at the expense of the important.

When we focus on the urgent instead of the important, we might be working hard, but this effort cannot compensate for our failure to work smart.  We must all learn to maximize the impact of our hard work by working smart.    If you are like me, one path toward an improved quality of life, and greater productivity without increasing stress is to work smarter.

Here are my top reading recommendations for developing a smart work ethic!

  1. The Effective Executive – this classic tome is deep substance about “smart work”
  2. The 12 Bad Habits That Hold Good People Back – Chapter Three, “Doing Too Much, Pushing Too Hard.
  3. Deep Work – this book has done the most to help me work smart of anything I have read in the last 5 years, although I am still chasing the vision.
  4. 5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Work Smarter not Harder – Unlike the books above, this is an article about pace (in my opinion), and the importance of taking breaks to sustain focus.
  5. We Need to Work Smarter, Not Harder – Another article, but with a focus on managing your time.
  6. Working Hard is Not Enough, 18 Ways to Work Smarter –  Comprehensive article and sure to give you 3-5 ideas of how you can transform your life by developing a “smart work ethic”
  7. Work Smarter Not Harder: 17 Great Tips – I like this Time Magazine list best, so saved it for last, because it covers everything in 1-6 succinctly.

There is no way for one individual to teach another person to work smart, so I hope you avail yourself of these and other resources, and work hard to develop your own customized “smart work ethic.”




5 Questions about Social Stories?

I was inspired when Tim Carmody wrote “What’s Wrong With Education Cannot Be Fixed with Technology” for Wired Magazine.  He outlined some of the ideas Steve Jobs had about textbooks.  This was before iBooks Author was in the mainstream.   I hoped parents of special needs children could use this tool to develop Social Stories.   This is my quote from the story.

Let’s take just one stakeholder example: students with disabilities, as well as their teachers and parents. Autism advocate and software developer Russ Ewell from the Hope Technology Group is excited. “Apple could unlock another door for autism with this breakthrough,” Ewell said. “Parents could create social story books.” So could special education teachers or therapists, tailored for each student.

Today I write as much to remind myself as anything.   The vision of parents with special needs children developing simple rich engaging stories must be kept alive.   In the days to come, I hope to find answers to these questions.

  1. What is the simplest and best application for creating social stories?
  2. Has anyone used iBooks Author to create social stories?
  3. Where are the best resources for understanding the how and why of social stories?
  4. Does anyone have  a website where someone could download social stories?
  5. Who are the biggest names in social story creation?

I will be seeking these answers and hopefully learn how to make my original vision become a reality.