This cannot be overstated. I will say there are times and emergencies that will require more of the highest use of your time but these are the exception not the rule.
With respect to the Elon Musks, Grant Cardones, and Gary Vees of the world, I respect their willing to work hard. Hard work does pay off to a point.
Michael Phelps comes to mind. He decided to take work seven days a week instead of taking one day off like most swimmers. For him, it worked. The question becomes what would happen to all the other swimmers who took one day off if they decided to work seven days a week?
It’s possible, even likely, a decent percentage of them would excel even more. The problem arises with the remaining swimmers who would succumb to injury or mental burnout. It’s an opportunity cost, which doesn’t pay off for everyone.
The issue is confirmation bias. You see people working hard who are successful, so some people will think success requires working 100 plus hours a week.
Hard work is required, especially in the beginning. However, boundaries are critical in maximizing your effectiveness.
Understand what’s required, then delegate and outsource the bottom 80% of the activities that yield the 20% of the results. When you increase your output to a defined level, do it again.
Workaholics will often succeed, but many will not. It’s also impossible to see the lost effectiveness and output from overwork. Perhaps Gary Vee would own the NY Jets if he better outsourced his work.
Anyone is capable of great things if they focus on deliberate practice, deep work, and the top 20% of their actions instead of superficial tasks that provide minimal results. Outsource the rest or burn out and accept lower rates of effectiveness.
My guess is that the three people mentioned do a good job of reducing superficial work, but accept more deep work on top of their existing work load. But I believe they could leverage their existing work by focusing on the 20% of the 20% and then use the extra time for rest and thoughtful contemplation on strategy and vision.
There is also the issue of personal choice and passion. I applaud people who pursue a vision with gusto. Work doesn’t seem like work if you find your calling. As long as you respect your bodies limits and don’t forget other aspects of your life, an 80 hour work week can still be effective.
But if you get less than seven hours a sleep, don’t respect what your body needs to maintain your energy level, or forget the other parts of your life where you find fulfillment, you’re asking for trouble.