www.wealthandfinance-news.com 22 Wealth & Finance International - Issue 11 - 2018 The notion “work smarter, not harder” is attributed to Allan F. Mogensen, an American industrial engineer and the creator of ‘work simplification’ in the 1930s. In those days work processes tended to more physical, aided by vast machines and long assembly lines. Today we are in the middle of a technological revolution which has transformed both the size and scale of the machines, and our ability to process and share information or data. Steve Jobs, one of the fathers of that revolution, has said: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” However, the fact that Jobs died in 2011 when he was only 56 suggests that he did not grasp the importance of smart working – and he was reputed to be obsessively hardworking. How you work undoubtedly affects your health. Modern-day 24/7 communication is likely to impact on your mental health as much as your physical health. You have to agree with Jobs that ‘great work’ in developing and selling ideas and products /services cannot be achieved without hard graft. Rarely does that happen with effortless ease. And Mogensen’s phrase now goes hand in hand with ‘work-life balance’, which dates from the 1970s and 1980s. There are ways to be smart and to achieve work- life balance. Here are 5 wise ideas to consider and adapt to suit yourself. 1. Your savvy character. Start by getting to know yourself – if you don’t already. What are you good at and what do you enjoy? Those two characteristics often go together. What do you hate and what do you find challenging? What are you capable of and what are your limitations? Can those be expanded by practice and training? If you know what you love and do best, you will work smarter. Learn and practice Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as advised by Daniel Goleman in his book of the same name. Goleman wrote that EQ is defined by: awareness, emotional understanding and self-control, empathy (taking account of the feelings of others), skillful relationships, and motivation (with the drive to succeed for the sake of it). He said that these assets could be acquired and learned. 2. Your smart communications. This is not about what mobile, tablet or apps you use. It’s about how you conduct yourself in conversations and meetings. Are you a confident talker? Are you a good listener? Do you ask questions and give feedback? These questions are relevant at home as well as at work. 3. Your informed work life. Do you work in a place where you are familiar with and accept company policies and practices? Can you and do you make your voice heard? Can you say ‘no’? If you don’t or can’t, you need to start communicating. And, if you can’t make your voice heard, you need to consider whether you are in the right job. 4. Your balanced life at home. If you take work home that may interfere with your relationships with your spouse or partner, and your children, you may not be working smart. Do you have hobbies and include your family and/or friends in those activities? ‘All work and no play make Jill / Jack a dull girl / boy’ is a hackneyed but meaningful proverb. 5. Your wise use of technology. Email and messages can be dangerous methods of communication, because they can be misunderstood and cause friction. When there is a problem to discuss at work or at home, it is much better (and braver) to have a phone conversation or a meeting. Avoid using technology at certain times of the day to achieve clearer and cleaner communication. Finally, here’s a warning: it is vital that you look after your health, especially your mental well-being. Major research by the Mental Health Foundation shows that “most people suffer such problems some time. In England one in six people experience the symptoms of a mental health problem in any given week.” This is an age where we are under mental and emotional stress as never before, because of our ability to have constant contact through 24/7 connection. That makes it even more important that we avoid disconnect and meltdown by being smart and by striving for work-life balance. Nick Keith suggests some wise ways for working smarter and achieving work-life balance in the new technological world Five traits of the smart and savvy Nick Keith is the author of “Feel it as a Man: a fool’s guide to relationships” where the fool is Shakespearean, acting as a commentator and teller of his own individual truths. The book is published by Panoma Press, £14.99, available online at Amazon and in all good bookshops.