When it comes to business, words like “hustle”, “the grind”, and “beast mode” are sexy.
You’re not really in the game unless you’re working yourself to blood, sweat, and tears. And there’s nothing wrong with putting your heart and soul into your venture. It’s your baby, and it needs to thrive…whatever the cost.
This is where the problem lies. “Whatever the cost” doesn’t just refer to money, resources, and relationships.
More often than not, “whatever the cost” is your health. It’s your state of mind, it’s the strength in your body, and it’s your life.
When you put everything you have into your dream, your idea, you often forget to put something back into your own wellbeing. This is a problem!
Health Dangers of Overworking Yourself
I know what you’re thinking; “If I neglect my exercise routine and diet, I’ll get bigger around the edges and I won’t win the marathon.”
I wish that was it, but the consequences are significantly more serious.
In 2007, Arianna Huffington woke up injured in a pool of her own blood. Building the news and content powerhouse that is the Huffington Post had her working brutal 18-hour days, Monday to Sunday with no rest.
This is the hustle that we blindly respect, but this is also the hustle that she cautions against.
The non-stop grind is clearly unsustainable. The average human body cannot power through months of unending work. Eventually it will give out.
In Ms. Huffington’s case as well as with many others, severe exhaustion is the first major sign. There is also anxiety, mood swings, stress, frustration, and depression.
Physical responses to the non-stop grind include a weakened immune system, which comes about through unhealthy nutrition and a lack of exercise. A study by the University College London also shows that people who work 50+ hours a week have a 13% increased risk of coronary heart disease and a 33% increased risk of stroke, when compared to people who work between 35 and 40 hours each week.
But I’m Getting Results from my Grind!
This is a common misconception that entrepreneurs have. But long hours do not always equal increased productivity.
In fact, a Stanford University study by John Pencavel shows that:
1. The output of a worker will begin to fall after 50-hours worked per week
2. Productivity is almost zero after 55-hours worked each week
3. Those who work 70-hour workweeks produce as much as those who work 55-hour workweeks
You’re now thinking one of three things:
1. I can probably use caffeine to stretch my hours and my output…in that case re-read the health dangers outlined above
2. I am probably one of those few people who has the ability to grind it out non-stop with no adverse consequences…not likely
3. Oh shit…now you’re on the right track
As an entrepreneur, you need to be responsible not only for your business, but also for your health.
That’s why you need to determine when you are at peak performance and when you hit plateau; this might be at 35 hours, or at 52 hours. Whatever time it is, note it down.
Once you have this information move on to the next section.
How to Optimize Your Performance and Witness Success
Now that you know how long you can perform at peak levels before you hit a period of no activity, you need to figure out how to get the most out of these hours. You need to become productive with the little time you have, instead of killing yourself trying to work every minute of every day.
Here are 4 quick tips for you:
1. Cut out distractions: If you’re working 40-hours each week, none of those hours should be spent focusing on non-essential matters. Block social media, ignore texts from friends, and stay away from the water cooler.
2. Organize your time: You should plan each minute that you have available. When you know what you have to do, and how much time you have to do it, you won’t waste time trying to get your head on straight. Plan your week in advance, cross off your least enticing tasks in the morning, and spend the most time on your most important tasks.
3. Exercise and eat right: A focused exercise routine and a healthy diet will relieve stress and anxiety, boost happiness levels, increase focus and creativity, improve your immune system, and skyrocket your energy levels, among other excellent health benefits. What more do you need to know?
4. Take breaks: Take short breaks during the day, especially when things are hectic. Taking 5 minutes to meditate, shut off from the world, and just breathe, will help refocus your energy and calm your nerves. You can also listen to soothing music or break out in a dance…just let loose for a bit.
The 30-Hour Work Week
If you’re still unconvinced about more work being done in fewer hours, I have one more piece of news to share with you.
Nearly 100 years ago Henry Ford implemented the 40-hour workweek into his business, which went against the 48-hour workweek everyone else was used to. He witnessed significant increases in productivity and profit margins as a result.
Despite the advancement of technology, we have retrogressed to a 50+ hour work week.
However, Sweden is moving towards a 6-hour work day, which means 30–42 hours worked each week. The results have been overwhelmingly positive, with reports of increased productivity, stamina, motivation, focus, and efficiency coming from numerous businesses.
You can get more done in fewer hours!
As an entrepreneur, I understand that you won’t be limited by conventional working hours. But as we’ve proven time and time again in this article, you can be more productive with fewer hours, and you can succeed without sacrificing your health.
I hope you take this advice to heart.