Kwik Brain 064
July 11, 2018     |   2538 VIEWS
Work Smart – Not Hard

Kwik Brain 064: Work Smart - Not Hard

"The most important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing."
Jim Kwik
This week’s podcast is all about working smart!

A common question from the Kwik Brain community has been how we can not just work harder, but smarter. In our fast-paced world, there’s bound to be times where you find yourself overwhelmed by your workload—with a long to-do list, not enough time, and a whole load of pressure. All these action items may appear to be high priority tasks, and this can lead to a sense of unbearable weight. If you’re feeling tired of the pressure and unsure what to do about it, today’s podcast is for you—it’s all about helping you to become more efficient and smart in not just the way you work, but all areas of life including relationships, health and finding joy.

In today’s conversation we talk about a parable that is a great example of knowledge as power and profit, the activities that provide the most return in your life, why many people procrastinate on the tasks that could change their life, and why you should keep your focus firmly on your “most important thing.” I’ll give you a list of questions to help you examine the way you’re thinking about your goals and success, and help you determine what you can do to create more impact and success in your life.

Show Notes


  • An expert called in to fix the big-name package distribution center after the conveyor belt stopped and they were losing money by the minute
  • The expert placed an “x” on the correct electrical box and turned one screw a tiny amount, then charged $10,000—turning screw=$1, knowledge of which screw to turn= $9,999
  • Knowledge isn’t just power, but profit
  • Today we live with an expert economy where the mind has become the source of wealth
  • More you can learn, more you can earn
  • Formula: Learn, earn, return


  • Ability to assess and determine where to put the “x” in your life—this is the determinant of the success you achieve in life
  • In today’s age you’re no longer rewarded for the hours you put in, but what you put into those hours
  • You probably already work hard—now it’s time to identify the right screws to turn
  • What are the activities that give you the most impact and return in your life? In the areas of health, relationship, business, joy


  • Magnifies abilities—similar results with fewer efforts
  • 80/20 rule: 20% of your efforts yield you 80% of the results
  • Most people procrastinate on the top 20% of the to-dos—this is working hard, not working smart (focusing on the 80% that give you only 20% of return)


  • The ability to assess and determine where to put the “x” in your life is the determinant of the success you achieve in life (or don’t achieve)
  • The ability to choose the correct time, place and activity has more impact on your life than any other factor
  • Quote: “The most important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing.”


  • If you could accomplish only one of the goals on your to-do list today, which one would have the greatest positive impact on your life?
  • Where’s my focus right now?
  • What needs to happen for today to be a success?
  • What can I do to raise the odds of having a successful day?
  • What’s the one thing I can do today that will lead to meaningful progress towards my goal?
  • What one project, if completed, would likely have the most impact?
  • What is the best use of this moment?
  • What matters the most right now?


  • The things that matter most should never be at the mercy of the things that matter least. Keep calm and think carefully about your answers to these questions.

Related Kwik Brain Episodes You Might Enjoy

Episode 19: Speed Study Secrets (Not Taught In School)

Episode 40: How To Stay Focused (And Fix A Wandering Mind)

Episode 49: Fast Focus & Flow (Q&A with Steven Kotler)

Episode 58: Burnout To Balance


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