Work Smarter, Not Harder

Communication / January 4, 2013

(Thanks to Mike Miller for suggesting this post. Your Brand Bat is finally on its way!)

I was at the salon recently and the stylist next to me was working with a client who had a particularly difficult haircut. After a while another stylist stepped in to help her. As he came in trying to save the haircut, he said, “My mama told me to work smarter, not harder.” With that, he pulled out a fancy pair of scissors and finished the job in no time flat.

Working smarter often times comes down to the tools and techniques used for the job. Like these fancy scissors, it took more investment on the front end, but was worth it in the time saved. It doesn’t always require a financial investment, but often a significant time investment to determine the tools and processes that will help you. Here are the top 3 tools we’ve found that have helped us.

  1. Basecamp This is by far, the best tool we’ve found for project management. Rather than sorting through emails to find project details, we keep everything organized in Basecamp, so anyone can be added to a project and know exactly what’s happening. It’s great for projects that have multiple parts and due dates.
  2. Evernote Our team uses this for everything! From audio notes from meetings, to personal projects to recipes, Evernote keeps all our notes in one place, synced across all our devices, and is searchable. The best part is it’s free. There is an upgraded paid version as well that has a few more features, but the free version has been sufficient for us.
  3. Apple Mail (or any other desktop mail program)  – This one seems obvious, but it’s surprising how many people still access their email through the web interface, using Gmail, Yahoo, etc. Just takes a little time to set it up and get everything organized, but this will definitely help get your email under control.


There’s no better time than the start of a new year to find some ways to work smarter. What are some of the tools that have helped you?