How to Work Smarter


There has been a lot of coverage about Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, and her concept of The Third Metric. Money and power are the first two metrics—the essentials in the traditional work environment.

What women may bring to the mix, and these elements comprise the Third Metric and are deliberately loosely defined—are wisdom, wonder, and the concepts of giving and well-being. 

One of the key points made by Arianna Huffington at her talk in Toronto before a large group of women gathered for a Women of Influence event is that women may not need to mimic the typical accepted work ethic that one needs to work 24/7 and compete diligently, and for very long hours, to succeed.

Women may not need to devote good chunks of their lives to getting ahead at work, but can choose to have a different life and work balance, because we operate in a different way and bring different things to the table. What works in a traditional workplace--may not be the best choice for now. Women are more and more often crafting their own definitions and redefining success and how to measure and achieve it on our own terms.


Continuously adding more items to our To Do lists isn't the route to well being. You don't have to follow through on every idle plan or half-baked project—you don't have to learn Spanish or how to ski. Arianna's advice is to assess our tasks and then drop them if they're not that important. This frees time and leaves more energy for what is most important to you. You can say no.

The key word here is YOU. We don't like to think of ourselves as quitters. So we  go on and on, long after we've lost interest. Or we may be working so much overtime that life has lost its  pleasure. Many of us forget that “life is not a dress rehearsal.” A weekend spent staring at a computer screen instead of with your friends or family—is still a weekend that's gone forever.


Another comment that will probably stick in many memories from the talk in Toronto was the comment by Arianna H. that NO is a sentence. Women tend to say, “No, because...”  Men rarely do.  The strong take home message was that saying no should be enough for not adding to your To Do List. Stop making excuses or thinking up reasons. No is sufficient.  However high we may have advanced career-wise, most of us still say, “No, because..., as in, No, I can't finish that project at home tonight because the computer is on the fritz and my husband and the kids all have flu...” Try just saying no.

Working smarter instead of harder or longer or more, as we now tend to do, may be the best route to the top for women.

On Changing Direction
“I was very interested by the idea that dropping a project can be the way forward,” says skin care expert Maxine Warsh. “I've been guilty of letting distractions get in the way of what I really want to do. You don't have to batter your brains out trying to finish or learn something you no longer have time or need for—simply stop doing it. I'm so aware of the value of being aware and incorporating all the elements that help you live a better life, feel better and, of course, look better.... sometimes, it's simply making the right choices (big and small!) that plays the key role in your well-being.”

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