March 2006: Work smarter, not harder

Thank you for reading the March 2006 L’Epée Coaching & Consulting Newsletter.

It’s likely that most of us made one or more New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of 2006. You may have only casually thought about your resolutions, joked about them at a party or diligently wrote them down on paper. Unfortunately, too often it only takes a matter of weeks before these resolutions become lost and forgotten.

If you haven’t yet abandoned your New Year’s resolutions, congratulations! For those of us who may be struggling, perhaps its time to have a second look at our goals and the strategies we plan on using to achieve them.

If you are determined to make your goals a reality in 2006, the following coaching tips should help:


Align your goals with your values. Let your goals be a reflection of who you are and what you want.

Identify your strengths

Identify the qualities that make you special. Determine what you’re most passionate about and you’ll find your strengths.

Live with joy

Pay attention to what brings you happiness. Listen to what makes your heart sing — not just to what your brain says is in your best interest.

Overcome your fear

By acting on our fears, we overcome them and empower ourselves. Challenge yourself to take action whenever you feel fear and you’ll find yourself growing by leaps and bounds!

Don’t hold back!

Everyone has reasons to avoid expressing their thoughts and ideas. Stop worrying about why not and just speak your mind. So long as your opinion is tactful and honest, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Toastmasters Division Contest in Speech Giving and Evaluating – April 8

Do you want to overcome your fear of public speaking? Do you want to learn to speak in front of an audience with maximum impact? Toastmasters International is a worldwide organization with a mission to promote communication and leadership skills and is inviting you to take part.

The Prague Speakers Toastmasters Club is a member of Toastmasters International and the District 59 European Toastmasters. The club was founded in September 2004 and hosts a diverse mix of Czech and international members. This culturally rich environment allows people to improve their communication, speaking and leadership skills, as well as meet new people and profit from new experiences. All meetings are in English. It is not necessary to be a native English speaker to join; in fact, Toastmasters encourages non-native speakers to attend.

Join us for the Division D Toastmasters Conference in Prague on April 8, 2006.

See experienced Toastmasters from Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic compete in the International Speech and Evaluation contests. You’ll meet dynamic, interesting people and become acquainted with Toastmasters International on a personal level.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this excellent learning and networking opportunity, visit the Prague Speakers Toastmasters website at

To register or get more information, visit or contact Sonja Kosman at

February 28 Networking Power Lunch: Networking across cultures Part I
March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Toastmasters in Prague (
March 6 WIB – Women in Business dinner at Mlynec
March 15 Prague Speakers Toastmasters Contest in Prague (
March 21 Networking Power Lunch: Networking across cultures Part II
March 25 Toastmasters Area Club Contest in Hradec Kralove (
April 3 WIB – Women in Business dinner at Mlynec
April 8 Division D Toastmasters Conference in Prague (

Communication Tip of the month: Work smarter, not harder

“Work hard and you will succeed”. With that maxim in mind, many of us spend long hours in the office struggling to get ahead in our careers. But is working harder the only way to get the results we want? What if instead of working harder we start working smarter and were even able to achieve better results with less effort?

Working smarter means being clear about our goals and what we set out to achieve. It also requires that we spend more time planning and thinking ahead rather than just diving headfirst into every new project.

Here are a few tips that may help you learn to work smarter rather than harder.

#1 Distinguish the times when you are productive from the times when you are just busy

We are most productive when we spend time building our careers or businesses. For example, time spent meeting clients or calling new prospects often leads to results that we can see and appreciate. In contrast, busying ourselves with low-value activities such as answering e-mail or sitting in long unproductive meetings can often be counter-productive or even just a waste of time. Though e-mail often gives us the feeling of productivity, if we really think about it, how often does time spent writing and answering e-mail boost our bottom line?

Therefore, it is vital that we identify those activities that really do add to our productivity and devote the majority of our time to them.

#2 Think and make choices

Spending most of our time on activities that produce these tangible results forces us to reexamine the tasks we select as our top priorities. As difficult as it is, we need to realize that there is a limit to how much we can accomplish during the course of a day. Making the distinction between important tasks and those that can be put off until tomorrow is key to staying productive and maximizing our time.

#3 Learn to say “No”

The sad truth is that most people are afraid to say no to colleagues or clients for fear of appearing lazy, unreliable or even rude. However, because we want to maximize our productivity, it is often better to say no at the outset, rather than saying yes to everything and then finding ourselves unable to deliver quality work because of a lack of time or energy. Learn to say no now and you’ll have more time later to devote to those activities that have the biggest impact on your career or business.

Finally, it is important to remember that most people achieve 80% of their results from just 20% of their time. Knowing this and saying yes to those tasks that lead to the biggest results is fundamental to making the most of your time and energy.

Are you working harder or smarter?

Yours truly,