I think so. A nice article on Market Watch delved into the topic of working massive hours, and the tough, machismo aura often associated with those that do that. Not just hard work, but really hard work can be a perceived hallmark of those who make it big. Or so the perception is, which the article seemed to brush aside – and I agree!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that most people can realistically expect to work just a few hours a day and live well much less prosper. That might be a goal or desired state, but it takes work to get there! This work is often hard work, and as a part of that we can say that there is an association between being persistent and making money. If you really want something, being smart and strategic and truly working for it can go a long way to helping you reach stretch goals.
That being said, what’s so great about working incredibly long hours in order to make that happen? I’ve written about how it can be really unhealthy to work long hours. I’ve done it before, and who knows – I might have to do it again for short time periods. But I know that it isn’t a long-term, sustainable thing to do.
Now, when right out of college, I can see how it might be okay. Put in some really long hours of work when you don’t have bigger responsibilities like a family, but you do have the very high level of energy that you won’t have later in life.
From my own experience, there have been times where I worked really long hours and was even known for it. I was practically known as “Mr. Late Night” at one job, where I’d be totally willing to stay beyond the time others would – often until 10pm or later – to get projects done. This despite coming in at 8:30am. Keep in mind this happened quite a few times, including many later than midnight.
It probably helped me at the time, but it’s not sustainable and I don’t do that anymore. There were other people that achieved similar progression at work, and they didn’t necessarily work those hours. So why should I?
Beyond that, life is about balance. There’s so much more to it than a single-minded focus on career and income. One my original posts was about the role money has in our lives, and I go back to it when I feel like I need more balance with what’s truly important: health and relationships.
The thing is, if we do have balance, we might actually do better in our work. I don’t know about you, but I can be much more productive on work or other projects after I’ve had a chance to disengage for even a short while, and completely think of other things. Constantly checking email on your phone to see what’s happening at work is like an addiction. Thankfully, I don’t do that.
Also, aren’t you more productive when you get a full night of sleep? I’m convinced that there is a correlation between sleep and wealth, and that being properly rested can give us more energy to succeed at our work. When I hear or read people talk about staying up super late and getting just a few hours of sleep on a frequent basis, I just think that it can’t be good. The great thing is that by working less and taking care of oneself though sleep and balance, we can actually do more!
I say all this knowing that I can get obsessed with work or other projects too. Still do. Once it reaches 9:30-10:00pm, I get this wave of energy and focus where I can concentrate for hours. The thing is, I try to stop myself most of the time now. Just getting more done within reasonable time frame by following tips on how to be more productive (especially those that I write about) seems to better for overall balance and fun!
My Questions for You
Do you go along with the notion that being a workaholic has major downsides, or do you just push the pedal to the metal and drive toward your goals?
What do you think of the notion that we genuinely need balance, and can actually get better results anyway by embracing it?