I would have been one of the people that pushed back on this – but I’ve changed my view for a couple of reasons:
1) The 80 hours mentality has had a bad impact on both my mental and physical health. Because you think you have to work 80 hours, you then feel mentally horrible if you aren’t working or you take an evening off. For me, this then has a knock on impact on my relationships with my partner and family. Moreover, it means I don’t take any time for me – to read or exercise. I notice that when I take focussed time for myself or focussed time with loved ones, the quality of my work and the speed of delivery is far greater. I also find that I solve problems better.
2) If I know I’m going to be doing a 14 hour day, it encourages me to go slower throughout the day. I’m definitely not as focussed at 10am on getting the task done because I subconsciously and consciously know I can still be working on it at 9pm. Then at 8:30pm, because I’ve pissed about all day, I’m much less productive and have to force myself to get it done. I then feel the quality of what I deliver is reduced.
I’ve therefore started doing highly focussed daily to do lists and i’m going to start forcing myself to stop working at 7pm. I’m also going to try and stop doing low productivity work on the couch at night and instead use that time for reading, exercise or loved ones.
There will definitely be days where I need to pull a longer day and night – but my hope is that if I focus more on high quality delivery during normal hours, I’ll actually have less tight spots near delivery deadlines.
My hypothesis is that taking that time will mean what I deliver during the day is equal, or even more, to the amount I would deliver over a longer day, but to a higher quality and I’ll feel more satisfied and happy.