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Working smarter, not harder

By May 29, 2020February 7th, 2023Law Practice Management, The 80/20 Principle

The 80/20 principle is the key to working smarter, not just harder.

Everyone knows what hard work is and how important it is.

But, many people don’t know how to work smarter. And they also don’t understand the 80/20 principle.

So they spend extra time, energy, and money doing things that don’t matter much in terms of getting results.

The 80/20 Principle

The 80/20 principle is a tool for strategic prioritization.

Some people develop a knack for this kind of thinking. Many others do not.

Technology use alone is not enough

Merely using technology is not the key to getting more done more easily. You have to use it effectively, which means using it systematically or strategically.

Focus your efforts on the areas of your practice where technology can make the biggest difference.

In other words, use the 80/20 principle to find places where a small change can produce a big result or benefit.

This is what it means to act strategically.

Learn the value of strategic laziness

Consider the insight of German General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord.

He is somewhat famous for his classification of military officers into four basic types, which he explained as follows:

“There are clever, hardworking, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and hardworking; their place is the General Staff. The next ones are stupid and lazy; they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties.

Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the mental clarity and strength of nerve necessary for difficult decisions.

One must beware of anyone who is both stupid and hardworking; he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always only cause damage.

Hire People Who Use 80/20 Thinking

You should hire people who are clever enough to work smarter AND who are highly motivated to avoid wasting energy (i.e., they’re sort of “lazy”).

Clever lazy people make great decisions.

The greatest of which is not to waste valuable energy doing unnecessary work.


P.S. If you want to better harness the power of technology, check out this Special Assessment . It will provide specific recommendations for improvement based on your specific situation.

One Comment

  • Some good points on why and how to leverage our time. It is definitely a trap to spend our lives working hard on less important tasks, and really not getting much benefit from our efforts.

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