• 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

Work smarter, not harder. It doesn’t really rhyme but helps make better use of time.

Work by Design is one of the more elusive GuideMarks to master. You’ve likely heard the phrase “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” and that can often be the case, because stuff happens. But taking the time at the outset of whatever task you’re trying to accomplish to think that project through before you start can pay huge dividends in the efficiency and effectiveness of the outcome.
The Work by Design GuideMark relates to planning for the task at hand by thinking through the task or project before you begin. One effective way of doing this is asking questions that can help make the task more efficient and effective. If you understand the need that is being addressed, identify what resources are available to help you accomplish your task, and figure out how to leverage strengths (yours and/or others) to maximize effectiveness, then you can use Work by Design to your advantage.
Here are some examples of questions that can be used to help think through the task before you start. 
  • Can I articulate the need that I am helping to address? Why it is necessary to accomplish the task or project?
  • Am I being intentional with my efforts, or am I wandering and stumbling around?
  • What skills, knowledge and experience may be useful in this situation? Which do I possess? What about others?
  • Are there existing methods that can be leveraged? What other resources are available? 
  • Has this wheel already been invented? Are we using the right wheel?
  • What are the various approaches I can use to achieve the necessary outcome? What are their advantages and disadvantages?
  • What will success look like?
Taking five minutes to apply these types of questions to your task before you begin could be exponentially beneficial if the answers identify ways to do the task more efficiently and effectively.
Understand, though, that simply thinking about something beforehand doesn’t necessarily mean you’re applying Work by Design. Work by Design is being intentional – focusing on how best to use resources and focusing time and energy on only productive actions. Taking time to analyze the situation in order to make decisions that will help make a task’s process and outcome better both in terms of the way you go about the task and the quality of the outcome produced is Working by Design. 
Next time you have a major project or a minor task, utilize the principles behind the Work by Design GuideMark before you start: begin with the end in mind and think it through. You should come out with an effective outcome or an efficient process, or both, which will help you better accomplish your goal.

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

GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

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