I have come to realise that when the word count available is rigid you have to make each word count.
I've just edited a short story for a competition and I can't get the smile off my face. If I say it myself (and lets face it no-one else will...yet) I did a good job. I am very satisfied with the results and the story is much better for it.
I was pretty close to my word limit and there was something else that I wanted to introduce into the story so I knew that I was going to have to do a bit of pruning. By really setting my mind to it I was able to get rid of the odd word here and sentence there. In some cases I changed two words into one that meant the same thing. The result of my pruning was that it gave me the spare words to introduce another element into the main character's life.
A productive hour I think. In fact I think I might have earned a piece of cake with my coffee (just a small one of course.)