What does it mean to “work smarter, not harder”?
Leading research has the answer. It is this: unconscious (or otherwise subconscious) thought is often better at making inspired decisions than our conscious thought.
In that way, those who work smarter, not harder, let their subconscious go to work. They don’t sit in front of a perplexing problem for prolonged periods of time, forcing themselves to find a solution, even if they’re not in the right mental state to solve it. They let their mind breathe.
Let me give you an example. I was recently faced with an important personal decision that seemingly needed to be made immediately without accurate information being available. I was feeling social pressure to make a decision that very afternoon.
Instead of doing that, I went for a walk by the river without directly thinking about the concern. I took a break, both consciously and presently. When I returned 20 minutes later, I felt refreshed. My mind felt clear. Only moments after arriving home, I decided what to do (something I hadn’t first realized) and I felt confident in my decision.
In hindsight, I believe I made the smarter and right decision. But only because I allowed my brain to work smarter, not harder. As we temporarily walk away from our problems, we let your unconscious mind do much of the heavy lifting. Doing this actually allows faster problem solving, while avoiding the “wheels spinning in the mud” syndrome that too many people succumb to.
At least that’s been the case for me. You should try it. All the smart kids are doing it.