There’s a famous (and often misattributed quote) going around which goes something like:
If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first two hours sharpening the axe.
Either way, the point stands: It’s better to prepare and ‘sharpen the axe,’ rather than to waste strength swinging a dull one.
I think this analogy bears for many aspects of our lives.
Why brute-force your way through, when you could spend some minutes initially to save hours later?
This is what it means to work on, rather than work in.