Allan Mogensen coined the phrase in the 1930s suggesting simply working harder wasn't necessarily the best choice. By working smarter, people can see an increase in productivity and efficiency.
Daniel Pink, author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, suggests it may simply be a matter of timing.
In a recent podcast with Success Magazine, Pink tells us that Chronobiology, the branch of biology concerned with natural physiological rhythms and other cyclical phenomena, should be analyzed and maximized to increase productivity to work smarter.
He identified three chronotypes:
- Larks - early birds
- Owls - those that do best at night
- Third birds - those that fall in between
According to Pink, larks and third birds peak at the start of the day, experience a trough mid-day, then have a period of recovery late in the day. Owls are the exact opposite in that they peak at night, recover early the next morning, and experience their trough in the middle of the day.
Why does this matter?
If you happen to be a third bird, you should use that knowledge to plan your work day. Big projects should be tackled first thing in the morning when feeling sharp and fresh. Mundane task such as emails or more administrative duties can be done mid-day when you may not be as sharp, returning to more important projects toward the end of the day.
What if, as you plan your day, you accounted for your chronotypes and planned your tasks accordingly? You would in fact be working smarter rather than harder.