Input vs Output

What’s the difference between working hard and hard work? Well, one focuses on the input and the other focuses on output.

If you’re a hard worker, you focus on the input, putting in long hours and you’ll often be a “defensive worker” – making sure you get everything done within deadline and that you don’t get in trouble.

If you work hard, you’re doing something that adds value, coming up with a new idea, innovating, creating businesses and you could be defined as an “offensive worker” – you’re proactive in your thinking.

Many people at our level (mid/entry level) in PR are trained to be hard workers. To put in the hours, to respond to requests as quickly as possible and to have the creativity ground out of us.

Until we get promoted. Until creativity is needed again. Until we need to be an offensive, attacking thinker. Until making media lists and coverage reports are no longer “mission critical”.

When I was getting started, I was determined to get my head down in the trenches and be a hard worker. As a result I was working some crazy hours and was talking about my schedule with a housemate from Uni. I said I was working 12 hour days and he said, “Ed, it’s about output, not input.”

Wise words – thanks Tom.

So what should we do about it? Why not take 15minutes everyday to think about your clients. Not think about the upcoming media tour or the next news release. Think about ways you can get them to connect with their customers. Be proactive in your thinking and let that “lightning bolt” hit you.

It’s important to be a hard worker; it’s just as important to work hard.

Thanks to Seth Godin’s Small is the new big for crystallizing this thought I’ve been having for a while.


2 Responses to Input vs Output

  1. Jill Pyle says:

    You’re so right. Producing “maximum” outputs as a newbie often requires overtime. If you can maximize your outputs (probably not possible — keep pushing for more) and contain your inputs between 9am and 5pm, consider yourself way ahead of the game.

  2. Lisa Popplewell says:

    Lovin the philosophy here, must spread the word amongst the juniors here..

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