The problem with working 13+ hours a day
I have come across many individuals who work hard. Some work 10 to 15-hour days. Some have told me they went to the hospital thanks to overwork and regretted it. And many still aren’t rich. They fall everywhere in the spectrum:
- minimal wage
- entry level
- six figures
- 7 figure successful CEO
Likely, you’ve heard someone successful emphasize how hard they work and how it’s crucial for success. True hustlers. But is working as hard as possible always the right path? That’s what we’ll explore in today’s podcast episode.
Work smarter. Not just harder. Of course, do both. But if you have to choose, work smart. I’d rather be the guy who works 4 hours a day and makes 10 times more than the people who “work hard.” This dream is possible. Tim Ferriss’s famous book The Four Hour Work Week details his journey from overworked business owner to lifestyle entrepreneur and world traveler.
I admire hard workers. I would say about 1 in 50 to maybe 1 in 500 people I meet work hard. But that still makes “working hard” a commodity.
It’s rare but not rare enough.
With 7+ billion people in the world, that’s still millions willing to work just as hard as you.
Working hard definitely shouldn’t be underestimated. There are many who claim to work hard but you catch them spending 7 minutes here on Facebook chatting and 19 minutes here on Netflix, and it adds up to 5+ hours of their day wasted. (Honestly, I’m working on this myself) Usually, you see this most often with minimal wage workers.
From observation, I have seen how many of them function: they track their working hard hours by the time between when they clock in and when they clock out. As long as they don’t get caught off task on duty, anything in between that time is a free for all. It’s not really working hard but “how many hours can I say I worked hard today on paper so I can brag about it?”
Now, this isn’t everyone, but it’s just an example for you to avoid.
Working hard can definitely increase your success. There’s plenty of people who probably live a quarter of the life you can live because you work hard when they don’t.
But it definitely hits a threshold: there will hit a point where you are working at your max before you end up dying or collapsing from exhaustion from lack of sleep or lack of any more time in a day.
The world is more complex than that. You must turn to other things beforehand. Sleep is a critical part of our life. Contrary to what most people assume, it doesn’t work like some direct correlation where the less sleep you get and the more time you spend working, the more productive you are.
There is a gray area where sometimes it’s better to get more sleep so you’re more focused and energized rather than sacrificing that for more time but making yourself drunk during that time from lack of sleep.
Arianna Huffington’s book The Sleep Revolution does a great job with this. The major takeaway for me is that 7 to 9 hours a night is ideal.
Finally, to emphasize one last time for importance, I would take a drop of working smarter over a bucket of working harder.
Many hard workers live less than ideal lives financially or lifestyle-wise. Despite the 13 hour days. I guarantee you there’s someone out there who’s been more efficient and achieved the same results without being stressed to death on a 24/7 hour basis.
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