• Planning ahead of time what it will take to achieve a desired outcome
  • Thinking through the priorities, resources, and methods necessary to achieve a specific result
  • Working smarter, not just harder, by leveraging knowledge, experience, team skills and available tools

Everything has a purpose, designed for a particular reason to fulfill a particular need. At some point someone came across a problem and figured out a solution. Whether they invented a new widget or utilized someone else’s, they discovered a means to an end. The key is being mindful of the outcome, understanding what resources you have at your disposal and most importantly how to use them. Otherwise you’ll probably be left running in circles, wasting time, energy and never reaching your goal.  

Three years ago, I developed a wild hair that wanted to start running. My goal was to improve my health and try to get in shape. I’d tried various workout programs, but nothing stuck. I never enjoyed running in the past and like most had only done so when being chased or a high school coach made you. Nonetheless there I was clicking an enrollment button to join a newbie running program to train and complete a 5K race. Hold up, that translates to 3.1 miles. Did I mention I never really ran before? Come to find out, this program embodied the “Work By Design” philosophy and laid a foundation to keep you in the game and reach your desired outcome.

I soon found out there is more to running than meets the eye. To do it successfully often means not getting injured. Now practically anyone can go and knock-out a couple miles without a keen awareness of their limitations. Pride tells you you’re in decent shape and by gosh you are determined. That’s all well and good, but what you soon discover is your body, particularly everything from the knees down, is not conditioned to withstand the impact and you’ll soon be back on the couch with a stress fracture. 

This is where working smarter and not harder comes into play. Sure, you can go out there and keep pounding the pavement but following a plan and leaning on those that have gone before you will set you up for success. I still remember our first program workout: 8 Intervals, 30 seconds of jogging followed by a minute and a half of walking. Total time: 16 minutes. Distance covered: didn’t matter. A mantra we learned during the program is, “It’s your race at your pace.” The goal was conditioning and setting you up for the next workout, not simply to see how far or how fast you could go in the 16 minutes. Distance would come. Speed would come. I thought I was going to die that first week. It just took baby steps and over the next nine weeks we slowly increased our jog time, reduced our walk and made it across that 5K line. 

Working by design has purpose and is intentional. You can’t just default into the outcome. Thinking through the priorities and feeding off those around you will help you go further than you ever dreamed. Take me for example, once a newbie running my first 5K, my eyes are now set on a full marathon this December and you better believe I’ve leveraged every bit of knowledge and expertise I can to get me to that starting line.  

Key Words and Phrases
Skillful use of time and energy; Good use of resources with little waste; Produce desired result effectively; Work smarter, not just harder; Potent; Fruitful; Efficient; Productive

Opposite Terms
Wasteful; Ineffective; Unproductive; Ill-planned

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