‘Never let go of your dreams’. Well, we have often heard that ‘Work smart and not hard’, but what really is smart work. 

Does only smart work brings you success, and if so then why are so many of us still busy putting our blood and sweat in working hard to reach our goals? 

Whether we should opt for smart or hard work, and which will bring us more efficient results is one of the topics we often hear being discussed among people. 

This is a another common interview question, which the hiring managers use a lot to dig deeper on the candidate’s work ethic. Let we see on how to tackle this tricky question like a ‘Boss’.

Well let’s break the ice and talk about SMART WORK vs HARD WORK.

Difference Between Smart work and Hard Work

When talking about the difference between smart and hard work it’s pretty simple to explain what working hard means, If you want to be successful in the long run, you have to put long hours into work. 

You have to start early, before all other people, and you have to stay up late, when everyone else is already enjoying their afternoons and evenings.

On the other hand, it’s really hard to find very clear guidelines on what working smart really means and how it’s different from hard work. 

It’s very obvious that even if you’re determined that nobody will outwork you, you still have maximum limits regarding working hours that you reach pretty fast; and there’s always someone who’s willing to sleep less than you. 

On top of that, many people work hard, but only a few become really successful. That’s because smart work is what makes the difference.


When we work for a given task depending on its worth and put our effort and apply our brain in order to produce maximum result by using minimum labour then it is known as Smart Work.

Whereas Hard work is all about consistently working towards a particular goal irrespective of its worth and not being worried about the result or by not using any means to reduce your effort.


While both methodologies have their pros and cons, it is normally seen that an amalgamation of both gives perfect and efficient results.

Hard Work – Work Forms

1. Commitment:

Hard work is not an easy one to follow. It requires commitment and sincerity.

A hard worker needs to consistently work towards what he perceives to be worth it, no matter how challenging the situation is. 

Success for the Hard Worker comes after putting in long hours at work which deprives him/her the comforts of life.

2. Traditional format

Hard work sticks to the traditional form of doing work and there are not many changes that are incorporated in the pattern of working.

3. Tedious

Being a traditional form of working pattern, hard work requires a lot of effort and consistency and thus it becomes tedious and tiresome. 

An overnight success in not ensured by hard work.

4. Monotonous

Hard work aims at the quantity and may become monotonous and boring for some. But if done with heart and soul, it can give you the best results.

Smart Work – Work Forms

1. Requires in depth knowledge:

One of the pre requisites of smart work is having an in depth knowledge of the work in hand as that will make your work easy. 

You can look for efficient ways to do the work in a more planned and organized way.

2. Saves a lot of time:

Being a smart worker saves a lot of time as you can find ways and means to reduce your work by using logical and innovative ways to achieve your goals. 

This not only saves your time, but it also gives you enough time to learn a new task while completing the present one.

3. Faster realization of goals

Not relying on traditional ways and using improvised ways of working, smart work is a faster method which helps you reach your goals earlier.

4. Builds your strengths:

When one acquires in-depth knowledge about any work and finds ways to improve the working pattern in order to achieve the goal efficiently and in lesser time, it really builds up your strength and helps you become a master of the work in hand.

5. Need of the hour:

In today’s era of technology and fast moving times, smart work is the need of the hour. It provides an easier way to do a certain task and provides similar results in lesser time frame.

6. Result of hard work

While we have seen that the smart work is a better option, but what we forget is that smart work is the fruit of hard work. 

Only when you work hard you gather the expertise and the knowledge to understand the work in hand and efficiently improve on it and work smartly.


“So having discussed both hard and smart work, what do you think should be preferred?”




One can attain great heights and lead a better and comfortable life if one incorporates both smart and hard work together. Such a person in due time attains all the accolades and recognition. 

If you are not smart your hard work will never pay. Just like a donkey only does hard work, whereas a horse does hard work but uses his smartness whenever and wherever needed.  

In a similar way smart work is the result of hard work, to master the quality of smart work one really needs to work hard. 

Through hard work we gain experience which helps us discover new things which in turn helps us to work smartly. Effort is important, but where to make that effort makes a difference.




5 Best Sample Answers from Naukri for Interviews

Answer #1:

The difference between hard work and smart work is based on how I approach my task. Hard work would mean spending long hours to complete my work without any shortcuts. 

It definitely ensures results but the process is long and stressful. 

Smart work would be aiming for the same results but with planning and prioritization of tasks. In College/Law School, the trend of examination questions was repetitive. 

The questions asked in the last few years would be asked again. I realised this after my first semester. 

Since then, for the examinations, I would only study the previous 5 years’ questions. For the rest of the year, I would focus on studying everything else. 

Therefore I worked hard to study the entire syllabus for my own knowledge and worked smart to score well in my examinations. A combination of both has guaranteed me the best possible results always!

Answer #2:

I think to answer this question, in today’s world, one has to redefine the terms ‘smart work’ and ‘hard work’. 

Most of us think of hard work to be a ‘physical activity’ and smart work to be a kind of ‘mental ability’. 

Although this was true before the age of the Internet, it no longer holds true. Excellence is all about doing smart work day in and day out. This in itself can be considered as hard work. In this industry, there is a lot of competition.

 The entire idea is to deliver fast and deliver the best to the clients. To keep delivering great work every day is hard work, but my agency has been winning the ‘Best Agency Award’ for the past few years and this is a commitment to excellence I carry with me too.

Hence, I am sure I fall into the category of hard workers.

Answer #3:

I think that smart work and hard work together make a genius. I am deeply inspired by three famous personalities – Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan and Warren Buffet. 

In their stories, it is clear that they spent years working hard in their respective fields and were able to produce results, that the world had never known before! 

Today, Warren Buffet can make smart judgments in the field of investments because he has worked hard to gain those skills. 

I do not shy away from hard work as I see that the end result will be my ability to work smartly and be the best in a particular field. My current manager would definitely say that I am a hard worker. 

Besides, once I pick up a new skill, I am quick to apply it to get quicker results, which kind of makes me a smart worker too!

Answer #4:

I feel hard work is synonymous with bull work, while smart work is logical effort! Hard work scares me and hence, I have always strived to be a smart worker. Since childhood, I have discovered that I cannot concentrate on one task for long periods of time. 

Rather than considering this as a weakness, I worked on achieving more in short time spans. I have developed my own process to work – as soon as I am assigned a task I spend 15 minutes researching about the same. 

Then I take 5-10 minutes to note down any questions that I might have. Over the next 20 minutes, I try to break down my task into 1) actionable steps to be taken 2) goal to be achieved. 

If my supervisor has a few minutes to spare, then I try to get clarity on my questions. If not, I focus on steps which I have the most clarity on and start there. It allows me to start a project feeling focused and positive. 

To avoid being non-productive, I plan short breaks in between my work schedules to stay engaged. 

Hence, I am a smart worker.

Answer #5:

I believe, hard work and smart work are two different tools to complete a single task. Or you can say that they are two faces of the same coin! 

It depends on the duration of the task or the level of difficulty, on the basis of which a measurable amount of hard work and smart work should be put in – together! I have learnt to adapt myself accordingly to situations and accordingly apply myself. 

If the deadline is 2 days away, I am a smart worker. I focus on various aspects of the task, which clients need and which will have long term impacts. If we have 2 months to complete a task, we spend time on the details and work hard to gain results. 

Hard work always guarantees amazing results but requires more effort and time. I work hard or work smart depending on the situation.


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