Over the years what has become abundantly clear to me is that there is a distinction between working hard and working smart. It is not simply a play on words. One of the indicators of working too hard is when a certain task in your day take up so much of the day that you are scrambling to get other important tasks done. By the end of your work day you are over tired and drained.
Without doubt there is always a better way; the question where to find the answer. Now you can research online there are plenty of online communities out there. There are “Ask an Expert” networks where you can submit your problems and for a negotiable price someone will take on the problem for you. You might decided to do a Google search and see if the problem has been solved by others; which usually takes time. First you research the problem then as you find the answer you usually will find difference as no two problems are the same. Now you will need to add to the discussion thread and wait around for more answers. Which sometimes leads nowhere.
Depending on the scenario, you might in fact find an answer in some cases. However, that is only half the battle. What you really need is to learn how to leverage your skills better so that you can solve your own problems. Like so many these days, if you work for yourself and your time is limited; you are probably concerned about managing your expenses. You need a solution that you can implment yourself. One that will pay off beyond the initial cost. This is where I make the argument for training and consulting services. You want someone that will do more than just solve the issue. You need to know how to solve the issue yourself. The next time you have an issue that needs resolving; think about finding a trainer that also has consulting skills to help you learn to think on your own feet. There are some basic skills that a trainer/consultant can help you master. Then future bottlenecks can be dealt with without calling in someone outside your organization for help; unless the scope of the problem is outside your knowlege. In which case calling someone in would be both cost effective and necessary.
In conclusion the difference between working hard and working smart is knowing how to solve your own bottlenecks, identifying which situations require you to call in an expert for help. You must be ready to constantly adapt to the changing technology picture and have the courage to make changes when needed.