Working Harder Is Stupid. Steal This Blueprint to Get More Free Time and Work Less.

Best tip: Quit fake work.

Tim Denning
The Startup
Published in
5 min readJun 1, 2022


Photo by Adam Jícha on Unsplash

As our boss pushed his head harder into the pavement, he worked harder.

That’s all he knew how to do.

I worked with him for two years. Every crisis led him to work harder. Pretty soon, as things got rough, he’d worked seven days a week. From 7 am all the way through to bedtime.

He hardly saw his family. His kids became a distant memory. When he finally missed a family holiday to the beach, his wife had enough.

She cracked it.

“No more working hard. It solves nothing. Time for you to get a new job.”

Working harder gets you nowhere. If you can relate, try these things instead.

Quit fake work

Working harder is a bear trap. It’s one I’ve stepped on plenty of times.

A lot of what looks like working harder is simply fake work. Work that looks like work but isn’t. Fake work helps hide the real problems that haven’t got solved.

Meetings, emails, hallway gossip, Slack chats — can all become fake work. The way to expose fake work is to look at your list of priorities.

If the work task isn’t on the list of your priorities, it’s bullsh*t work you’re using as an excuse to avoid real work.

Ask yourself why. You’ll get some pretty scary answers — they’ll help you gain control again.

Ask the critics to shoot you down

We all have our critics (I’ve got plenty).

Engaging critics is all about giving them license to kill. When I want a critic to help me solve a problem, I say “feel free to be brutal with your feedback.”

That permission slip unleashes a tidal wave of feedback. Some is useful. Some isn’t. But it takes me out of my mind full of fairies that think everything I touch turns to gold.

Let critics help explain why you work so hard. Use the feedback to change.

Automate everything like you’re Jeff Bezos



Tim Denning
The Startup

Aussie Blogger with 500M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship —