Many entrepreneurs you meet will tell you about the hours they put in.
They tell you that they put in 80+ hours in a week and it’s like they’re boasting about it.
Here’s my take on things…
If you’re working more than 50 hours in a week then something is wrong…very wrong.
If you have been working that many hours let me ask you a question:
Do you enjoy it?
I guess that’s the important question. I don’t talk to too many people that put in more than 50 hours a week that really enjoy working that much.
They might say they like their job and that could be true, but they often complain about the hours (sometimes even after they’ve boasted about the hours they work).
I see two issues with working so many hours.
First, it’s unhealthy. A study found that those who put in more than 55 hours each week are more likely to have heart issues and much more likely to have a stroke.
Second, for professionals and entrepreneurs I think that putting in that many hours cuts into your ability to produce good work and shows an efficiency in the way you work.
Why We Work So Many Hours
I can’t put my finger on why some entrepreneurs and professionals put in so many hours. There are likely a number of factors at play.
Some probably feel the pressure to keep their job. They put in the hours to impress their bosses so they can keep moving up in the office. There is a mix of motivation and fear in this situation. If you keep doing it the boss will certainly be prone to giving you even more work and the cycle might never end.
There is also pride in play for some. It’s the idea that in our culture today it’s not about what you achieve as much as it’s about the hours you put in. It can be a badge of honor to some to talk about the hours they work.
And for some entrepreneurs it might simply come down to the fact that you need to work hours because hours directly correlate with money earned. And if you have to work long hours just to pay the bills then that has to be done.
Is it really your goal to work more than 40 or 50 hours in a week?
For most people it’s not a goal.
The solution starts with identifying the reason that you’re working so many issues.
Are you getting pressure from your boss?
If you are the boss are you struggling to prioritize and eliminate tasks while also making your business more efficient?
Look at your situation and figure out how you can cut back on the hours you work.
If you’re in a situation where you feel pressure from a boss get back to figuring out how to work based on your achievements and not your hours. Have a conversation about resources and ways you can figure out how to do things more efficiently. Just about every boss would love to have their employees achieve more while putting in less time.
And if you are the boss then it’s up to you to make difficult decisions about what needs to be done. You’ll have to figure out if each task you’re doing is really necessary. Prioritize everything you do. Cut out things that aren’t necessary. Create procedures for what is necessary and a top priority and hire people to take on some or all of the tasks.
My final thought is that it comes down to your vision for your own life. Do you want to spend it putting in tireless hours in the office taking years off your life and doing subpar work?
Or would you rather put in efficient hours where you’re accomplishing great things and leaving time to enjoy life outside of you work.
It’s totally fine if you love your work. That’s a good thing, but there really isn’t a reason to be putting in so many hours especially if you look at things for the long term.
Take a step back and think about your life today. Think about what you want your life to be.
Identify the issues with your current schedule and from there you can build the solution that will transform the way you do things.
You might still have to step in from time to time and work the occasional 60 hour week, but the goal should always be to focus on making sure that doesn’t happen in the future.