If you’re an early-stage entrepreneur, chances are you’ve been working at least 60 hours a week (if not more) and you still get to hear people like Elon Musk pushing for 80 hours a week!
We had this discussion on Woomentum and our members shared some amazing insights. But then, the argument is, how much effort should an entrepreneur really put in? For early-stage entrepreneurs, who are usually managing every task themselves with limited support, what should be the right way to get things done?
Before we get to talking about the perfect schedule, we need to understand one crucial fact – entrepreneurs already have a stressful life.
According to Megan Bruneau, in her article for Forbes, ‘We’re easily trapped in a “never-not-working” mentality, forgoing opportunities for fun and connection and thinking about work even when we’re not actually working (remember vacation? LOL). We’re notoriously sleep-deprived, undernourished, over-caffeinated and financially constrained – with little emphasis on self-care and adaptive coping strategies such as (healthy) exercise and fun.
If you’re already in this state of mind and you’re still working 60 – 80 hours a week, you’ll be wrecking your health, your productivity and even your personal life. So here’s what you can do to ensure a flexible schedule.
1. Try a 5 Hour, 6 Days a Week, Work Schedule
Sounds way too drastic? But before you shake your head and let out a long, ‘NOOOOO,’ you should give it a try. There’s a logical and psychological reason to it! In an 8-hour work schedule, you already have two hours deducted (one hour for lunch, one hour for any other miscellaneous activities like browsing the internet, chatting with a colleague, bathroom and coffee breaks summed up). This leaves you with 6 hours which you would spend one hour probably in a meeting or in a call. The ideal work time then is the first five hours of the day. Consciously train yourself with two and a half hours of uninterrupted work followed by a break and continue with another two and a half hours.
It has been proven time and again that the 8-hour work day is an outdated and ineffective approach to work. It was appropriate at the time when it was used for industries and manual labor, but in today’s age when everything is digital and automated, you really don’t have to give in 8 hours if you manage work smartly. Apart from the ineffectiveness of the routine, it is also exhausting and psychologically counter-productive. You’ll be amazed by how much you achieve if you really focus on getting things done within 5 hours with no interruption over 8+ hours with interruption and multiple breaks (or in some cases no breaks at all, which is even worse).
2. Consciously Give Yourself the Break You Need and Practice Smart Time Management
This cannot be emphasized enough – give yourself a break and it needn’t be in the form of a grand vacation. Every day, give yourself time to go to the gym, to spend time with your family, to read a book or enjoy a meal WITHOUT the distraction of emails, cellphones or messages. You’ll notice that when you return to work the next day, you’ll feel more recharged and productive. If you’re constantly on the phone trying to resolve everything ASAP, you’re just constantly giving yourself stress.
There are multiple time management strategies out there. Choose any one relevant to your scope of work or life situation and try to make it part of your daily routine. Woomentum is proud to have a number of wellness experts as Robin Liu, Sandra Shih, and Delphine Supanya who can help you deal with stress, personal development, mental health and much more. Get in touch with them and get the help you need!
3. Avoid Adopting the Energy and Pattern of Someone Else
This is a critical point raised by Sandra.
These formulas for what works – 80 from Elon Musk (120 hours he works himself), 4 hour work week from Tim Ferriss, getting up 5am with Robin Sharma … I don’t think there are formulas and effective habits that work for everyone, all the time. Following someone else’s energy pattern, whether it’s healthily expressed or not does not work for any job or lifestyle. Especially as entrepreneurs, we must follow our own natural rhythms of yang and yin, of activity and stillness, of outer and inner activity. By defining success, productivity, failure, commitment, values etc for ourselves, we find our own path, stopping to reorient to our True North.
If you really want to be successful, observe your strengths and weaknesses, find your own pattern and either stick to it or improve it. See what works for you and make it your strength.
You are highly encouraged to make the change to your life now and avoid the typical stress factors afflicting entrepreneurs. Consciously work towards smart management and you’ll see a positive change in your life. Ready to take the challenge?
Now it’s *your* turn:
Share your tip with us or your experience with any of the tips mentioned above and let us know your thoughts below! 💪