Work Hard and Smart (Part 1)

People have been debating whether we should work hard or work smart, and I say, we should Work Hard AND Smart.

Both styles have propelled successful people to where they are now. So, why should we choose one when we can do both? Through the course of my professional career, I and most of the people I have worked with have experienced that working hard and smart is the way to go.

Working smart means making smart choices when you are doing your work while working hard means you should exert the right kind of effort to finish the tasks and goals you have set for yourself.

In this 4-part series, I will give you general tips on how you can work hard and smart to achieve your goals. This part is all about managing your time and workload.

themed schedule

  1. A Themed Schedule for Everything

It is not enough to have a schedule, it also needs to be coordinated into a theme. Just like with color themes, if a color does not go well with the one next to it, it can be an eyesore and can ruin the pattern. The same goes for scheduling your tasks and workload. You need to have a sinuous transition between one task to the other. Grouping similar tasks lessens the fatigue on your brain since you do not have to jump between dissimilar thought processes and ideas abruptly. The flowing movement from your tasks gives you a smoother transition and prevents your momentum from slowing too much.

Time theming can also be done on a weekly and monthly basis. If you have fixed points in your calendar like weekly or monthly reports and meetings, you can anchor tasks on those points and work backwards. Remember not to overbook yourself when making a themed schedule so you can maintain your flexibility should an important task arise without prior notice.

who what

2. Knowledge is Power (What, Who, When, Where, Why, How, and How Long)

Knowing all the details about your workload can give you power. It just means that you can prioritize and organize your work better if you know the essentials of your tasks. Nothing spells inefficiency more than going back and forth in figuring out your task while you are in the middle of doing it. Before starting any task, know the following items first:

  • What the task is;
  • Who are the key stakeholders;
  • When is it due;
  • Where is the project/task location;
  • Why is the task needed;
  • How should it be done and what are the processes involved;
  • And, How long it will take you to finish the task.

This simple list of information can make or break your performance in delivering the task.


3.  Make Lists (Master, Top Priority, For Later, Needs Clarification, and Finished) 

Segregating your tasks into different lists can help you track what you need to do at any given time. This can also help you maximize your 8-hour working schedule without unnecessarily spending more time in the office.

  • Having a MASTERLIST can give you a complete picture of what you need to accomplish. Have a bulleted format for your list so you can see if there are groups of smaller tasks that you need to perform before you can tick off a bigger task. It is also a good practice to break down big tasks into smaller ones so you can see if there are similar items on your list that you can do together.
  • As the name suggests, your TOP PRIORITY list should include tasks that are essential and is due soon.
  • The FOR LATER list, will house all the tasks that can be delayed. Just make sure to check this list often so you can avoid missing out due dates.
  • Your NEEDS CLARIFICATION list will include all those tasks that needs additional information or would need assistance from other people. This can also include TOP PRIORITY items that can’t be finished without invaluable help from other stakeholders.
  • Of course, let us not forget the FINISHED list. This can give you the much-needed confidence boost especially if you see that you have accomplished a lot. It can also give you the details that you need right at your fingertips whenever people call on you regarding finished tasks.


  1. A Note to Yourself

If a task cannot be completed within the time allotted and needs to be rescheduled, make a note for yourself giving you a quick overview of what you have done so far. This prevents wasting your time backtracking what happened when you last worked on the task. It will be more helpful if you share the task with another person because they can start from where you left off without having to consult with you too much about what has been done.


Do you have other tips in mind? Comment your ideas below and share it to us. If you like blogs like this, Share and hit Like so I can make more for you.


Thank you and talk to you soon!

– Tiya Meri

Titas of Manila: ARE YOU ONE OF US?

Tita is the Filipino term for our aunt, or our friend’s mom, or any middle-aged family friend. Titas are also our second mothers who sometimes substitutes for our parents in PTA meetings or chaperones us to birthday parties or any event that our parents can’t attend with us. Recently though, there is this new classification for the Titas out there and it is called ‘Titas of Manila’. Nope, it is not a sorority nor an organization, yet.

It is a new label for women out there who have developed certain traits or habits that people associate with a ‘Tita’ who lives in or around Manila.

So, what does it take to be called a ‘Tita of Manila’? Let us count the ways:

Happy Place = Grocery, department, and home improvement stores.

Nothing beats the happiness we find in scoring great deals in buying by bulk or finding those fancy ingredients for our new must try recipes. We also love to check out what’s new in the linens section or maybe see the latest storage organizers. It is pure and unadulterated bliss when we shop at these stores. #HappyPlace

Night caps start at 10 P.M.

When we were much younger, drinking till the sun rises is a skill and we still manage to have the energy to come to work later and bring our A-game. These days though, we have our dinners at 7 or 8 and start finishing the night at 10 P.M. because we either have to finish some things at home or have an early morning the following day. Gone are the days when we were wild and free. #CinderellaCurfew

Catch-up lunch dates with the girls is a must.

Since our days are now shorter, we have less time to see friends so having a weekly catch-up lunch is the next best thing. This is also our time to get current with the latest chismis about old friends. Seriously, most of the time is spent ‘catching up’ than eating during these lunch dates. #MoreChikaMoreFun

Mani, pedi, and spa visits is a form of team-building exercise.

Building bonds with our female colleagues is best done in a nail salon where we are pampered to our heart’s content while discussing the new ideas for work.  A good sign that the bonding experience is going well is when you finish your meeting/team building with a snack in a coffee or tea shop to polish your plans. #CuticlesIsNextToUgliness

Your hobbies fall in one of these three categories: Cooking, DIY/Crafting, or Gardening (for the Super Tita, it is all of the above)

Nothing keeps us at night more than waiting for the next morning so we can try to recreate the video we saw a few seconds ago. It might be a new recipe from Tasty or Tastemade, or a craft/DIY project from Pinterest, or reassembling your succulents in the garden to create that perfect Real Living worthy pocket garden. And sometimes, just sometimes, you crave to do all three because you are that skillful in slaying the ‘Tita’ game. #LifeHacks

Keeping up with the social media trends is a hassle we try to overcome on a daily basis.

Remember when we use to be the hip and cool guys with our very modern vocab? Unfortunately, we have been replaced because listening to kids these days as they use the words like ‘go’, ‘lit’, ‘woke’, and other seemingly ordinary words leaves us dazed and confused. Believe me when I say, nothing will make you feel older than when you sit there not understanding what these kids are talking about right in front of you. #anodawyun

Titas like shopping… a lot!

Whether it is a mall-wide sale or in an organic market or even pop-up bazaars, expect to see a tita there happily fleeting around finding their next haul. #ShopPaMore

Titas also like it quiet (shhhhh…)

Parties?! Loud music?! We have been through those and are happy that we’ve had our fill. These days, we just want the peace and quiet of coffee shops or zen-like restaurants so we can enjoy our lunches and snacks with friends and family. #RelaxModeOn

Elegance is the KEY.

If blending is the key for make-up, Elegance is the key for your favorite Tita. Just like with rave parties, we went through those fashion fads on a weekly basis. Now that we are much older and wiser (hopefully) we opt for classic and timeless styles. Don’t forget comfortable and practical since we are more on the go these days just because we have the time. #MadamnaMadam

We can smell where the grub is…

Just like shopping, we live to hunt for those quirky and new eating places. Food parks? Secluded restaurants? Sky high bars? We’ll see you there for sure. #FoodGoals

More Travel More Fun

Planning fun daytrips or weekend getaways is also a must for a Tita of Manila. This is one of the perks of having worked for some time already. A daytrip in Liliw, Laguna hunting for locally made wedges or dipping in the crystal blue waters of a Santorini-inspired resort in Batangas. You name it, we got it covered. #TaraNa

Last but definitely not the least, We LOVE our Families and Friends to bits!

We do most of these things with our friends and families because we love them. Most of the times we plan our events and trips with our loved ones and we make sure that they enjoy it as much as we do. We try to share our happiness as much as we can to those close and special to us because that is who we are.

So, are you one of us?

-Tiya Meri

If you like this blog, please don’t forget to SHARE and LIKE.

Photo Credit: KESanBuenaventura