Working Hard vs Working Smart
One of the challenges faced by working moms is managing all the logistics when work conferences roll around. When faced with working hard vs working smart, which is the better option?
Let’s say you just found out there is a 3 day conference for work you need to attend. Before you begin to self-destruct, your boss tells you not to worry–the conference is in your town and they’ve put you up in a hotel! You pause for a minute and then continue on with operation self-destruction😫because you and I both know that work conferences go from sunup to sundown.
Before you melt into a puddle on the floor, here are 5 tips to help you decide if you should be working hard vs working smart.
1. Get all the details you can
In order to conquer the beast (in this case, the 3 day work conference), you have to know what you’re up against.
If you want to work smart, you’ll proactively reach out to the meeting organizer to find out the conference dates, start/end times each day, scheduled breaks, off site events, etc. Be sure to get the name of the hotel so you can research the amenities and determine how far away it is from your child’s daycare.
If you want to work hard, you’ll just wait until the agenda is published and cascaded out to the attendees. You’ll be working harder because you’ll have less lead time to be able to plan effectively. However, some moms work better under pressure so this may be a more suitable option for them.
Based on what you’ve read, which camp are you in? Do you have a preference when it comes to working hard vs working smart?
2. Acknowledge that this could potentially be a logistical nightmare
While it is advisable to remain optimistic in times of stress, at times we need to be realistic and admit that this is a pretty crappy situation.
Once you’ve had your pity party, move on to step #3, so we can see if it is better to continue working hard vs working smart.
3. Connect with your boss
Now that you are armed with all of the meeting organizer’s notes, it’s time to connect with your boss.
If you’re focused on working smart, share your findings with your boss and determine which activities throughout the week are optional. Do you really need to be
at happy hour ‘networking’ all 3 nights? Can you skip the breakfast power hour on Tuesday? If you’re trying to work smart, you’ll see how you can make your days shorter, while still being present for essential business.
If you’re focused on working hard, you will figure out how to attend all pre and post conference events. You realize the value of networking and you want to be there for it all! Now, you’ll just need to make sure you have childcare covered. We’ll tackle that in step #4.
But first, are you more clear on whether you prefer working hard vs working smart?
4. Make childcare arrangements
If you don’t have a friend or a family member available to watch your baby while you’re participating in conference activities, it’s time to pick up the phone and start calling/texting your babysitters.
If you’re on team ’working smart’, work quickly to see who is available on what nights and lock it in. If you feel comfortable with their driving abilities (and you have a spare infant car seat), you might consider letting them drop off or pick up your baby from daycare one of those days.
If your hotel is quite far from daycare, it might make more sense for the babysitter to set up shop in your home, versus transporting your baby back to the hotel.
At home you have a working kitchen and everything you need; at a hotel you’re confined to a smaller space and a new environment might prevent your baby from sleeping soundly.
If you’re on team ’working hard’, you might handle drop off and pick ups yourself. You also might prefer to have your caregiver come to your home each evening so your baby’s routine won’t be disrupted.
Regardless of your strong preference toward working hard vs working smart, you’ll still have to decide where you and baby will be sleeping each night.
5. Sweeten the deal
If your hotel is in a swanky part of town, you might consider letting your caretaker have the hotel the last night of your stay, especially if they live farther away! They might enjoy having quick access to a gym, cafe, pool, sauna, or being in the heart of the city.
Plus, if they are on the fence about helping you out throughout the week, this might seal the deal. The room is already paid for, so why not?!
(Finally you’re presented with a situation that doesn’t require you to spend hours deciding between working hard vs working smart!)
Pro Tips for Working Hard vs Working Smart:
Identify which meeting rooms will be vacant where you can pump in privacy.
If you want to work smart, get this information the moment you find out where the event will be hosted.
Many meetings have short breaks and you don’t want to spend all of your time running back and forth to your room!🍼
If you are staying at a resort, check to see if they have on-site childcare.
If you’re looking at a 13 hour work day, consider having your baby nearby so you can spend your breaks nursing, snuggling or just checking in on them.
Check to see how close your hotel is to a grocery store.
You’ll want to stock your fridge and have everything you need from the get go. You might go to the grocery store yourself or opt for a grocery delivery service.
Or, you might feel more comfortable taking a stroll downstairs to the hotel’s mini mart. If you’re staying a resort, there might be more plentiful options. Just keep in mind, the chances that they will have your preferred brand for baby products is slim.
So which is the better option for you? Working hard vs working smart?
Final Thoughts on Working Hard vs Working Smart
Today we looked at how moms approach work obligations that extend beyond their typical workday. We looked these situations through the lens of working hard vs working smart.
There is no right or wrong answer when faced with these situations. Because a baby is involved, you’ll have to prepare either way, but when you begin to prepare is completely up to you.
Once you’ve been in this situation a handful of times, you’ll be more confident the next time a calendar invite for a conference pops up. The stress may still be there but you’ll know exactly what you have to do. Once the event is over, give yourself a pat on the back (or book a stress-relieving massage), for a job well done!