One thing bothers me about this whole WorkHard / WorkSmart / BeProductive meme: it focuses too much on “the competition”.
I know my approach is heresy in some parts, but bear with me…
I understand that there’s always “some” potential competition, but I choose to not pay much attention to it. The only thing I compete with is another version of myself in another universe. “What would that other Ed have done?”
And that’s awfully hard to measure. I’ve tried all kinds of metrics to keep my projects going, but the only one I use now is how much progress I make each day on my most important task. Pretty subjective.
I have seen tons of good software and services and have done a lot of work deploying them. What invariably happens is that there is no solution for something the consumer wants, so that’s what I write. I like to think, “If I had good competition, I would just go out and sell it for them. But since I’m writing something no one else has, I won’t worry about competing with anyone but what I would have been.”
This may sound a little silly, but it works for me. Provide something that no one else is providing and working harder or smarter than the competition suddenly doesn’t mean so much. I just have to be a whole lot smarter and better than doing nothing at all.