Working hard vs. working smart

Tristan, with his frustrated look!

Tristan, with his bored look!

Yesterday, over breakfast, one of my nephews was throwing a tantrum. He was frustrated because he couldn’t watch TV before going to school (he’s 6 years old, by the way). One of the rules given to him was that he couldn’t watch TV on a school day. He was complaining about having nothing to do, because all his toys are stored in a cabinet and he didn’t have any new books to read.

This was all happening before my first cup of coffee and before I even had the chance to open my Bible, so I was beginning to feel my head cave in. After a deep breath, I said, “Okay, I have something for you to do. Why don’t you get a piece of paper and a pen, and write down 5 things that you want to learn? Then let’s see if we can find a way for you to learn them when you have spare time so you won’t be bored, okay?”

He must’ve been REALLY bored, because he jumped at this idea, and after 5 minutes, he handed me a paper.

Me: “Okay, can you read to me what you wrote?”
Tristan: “Okay, number 1. I want to learn how to cook. Remember, I helped you when we made brownies?”
Me: “Yes, I remember, and you were really good at it. Okay, we’ll do more of that. What’s next?”
Tristan: “I put…I want to learn SINGING…and DANCING!”
Me: “Singing and dancing? Really?!”
Tristan: “Yes! Diba…I’m good at it when we play Rockband?”

He had a point. He’s quite the rock star. :-D

Me: “Okay, that’s 3 things already. What are the last 2?”
Tristan: “I want to learn how to read…”
Me: “You can read really well already…but I guess you want to read more?”
Tristan: “Yes…and the last one is…I want to learn how to work hard!”

*INSERT LOOK OF HORROR HERE*

Here’s the thing…I’m not completely against the idea of working hard, but in this generation, the term “working hard” has taken on a whole new meaning! Maybe a couple of decades ago, “working hard” meant being industrious, but today, lots of people don’t have time to rest, pursue hobbies, learn new things, and build relationships, because they’re busy “working hard!” So this is what I said…

Me: “Okay, wait…I’m not sure you want to learn how to work HARD…maybe…you need to learn how to work SMART!”
Tristan: “What’s the difference?”
Me: “When you work hard, you spend a lot of time at work…sometimes, too much time. We might not see you anymore! It’s much better to learn how to work smart. That means you need to be smart with how you use your time, so you can get more things done in the time you set aside for work. So if you have 1 hour to finish your homework, you won’t do other things in that 1 hour. You’ll focus on your homework so you can finish right away, and then you can do other things after, like you can read your books or play Rockband…so you can practice your singing and dancing…and have fun, too!”
Tristan: “Ohhhh…okay…I want to learn that!”
Me: “Don’t worry, I’m learning that, too, so we’ll learn it together, okay?”

I love talking to kids. :-D

If you could work smarter and free up more time in your days, what would you do with your time?

If time, money, and resources would not be an issue, here are just some of the things I would do (in no particular order):

1. Take a photography class
2. Learn how to play the guitar
3. Learn how to use Adobe Lightroom
4. Learn to cook more dishes (and get Tristan to help me out!)
5. Take my nephews out on more dates
6. Take my mom out on more dates
7. Take up a new sport (I really should do this!)
8. Solve the Rubik’s cube (I’ve never done it–and I have one in front of me right now)
9. Archive all my photos properly
10. Learn how to play golf (so I can hang out with my dad and my brother more)
11. Write a book
12. Doodle more
13. Have some doodles and photos framed
14. Write more letters and cards to send to friends all over the world

How about you, what would you do? :)

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