Do you remember when people talked about four-day work weeks? What about “Freedom 55“, the idea that you could comfortably retire at 55?
These days, however, everyone seems to be working more, not less. With the focus on productivity, efficiencies and higher profit margins, we’re expected to do more in less time. Need to jump-start your stock price? Here’s an easy solution: fire a bunch of people and make the survivors work like dogs.
In the tech world, working long hours is accepted as the norm. If you’re only working nine to five, it’s just not good enough. This philosophy is exacerbated by people such as Gary Vaynerchuk, who believes success happens when you work hard and work faster.
It probably explains why many entrepreneurs burn out.
And if working hard is enough, we’re led to believe that everyone needs to hustle – something that Mark Schaefer railed about recently.
Not only do you need a full-time job but spend time working on entrepreneurial projects and ideas. In other words, you need to be working on something all the time.
Yes, it’s an ultra-competitive world. The question is whether working so hard is healthy and productive. As much as we like to argue about work-life balance, all work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl.
Right now, we live in a world in which entrepreneurship is the Holy Grail. Working for yourself is cool and exciting while working in a cubicle is crazy.
But entrepreneurship is always challenging and people believe they’ll succeed by working harder. Personally, I think it’s a recipe for failure. I don’t believe success or happiness happens when your life is imbalanced. It is challenging to be creative, engaged, inspired or productive when it’s work, work, and more work.
As entrepreneurs, we need to think big-picture as opposed to day-to-day. We need to think about what’s important, other than entrepreneurial success. At the end of the day, no one says they should have worked more hours.
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