Jeff Bezos: Why Getting 8 Hours of Sleep Is Good for Amazon Shareholders
The Amazon CEO on why he believes in “work-life harmony” and not work-life balance.
When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.
Thrive Global: How much sleep do you need to operate at your best as a CEO and as a person? Jeff Bezos: Eight hours of sleep makes a big difference for me, and I try hard to make that a priority. For me, that’s the needed amount to feel energized and excited.
TG: How does getting enough sleep help you make better decisions for Amazon shareholders? JB: Mostly, as any of us go through our lives, we don’t need to maximize the number of decisions we make per day. Making a small number of key decisions well is more important than making a large number of decisions. If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of extra “productive” hours, but that productivity might be an illusion. When you’re talking about decisions and interactions, quality is usually more important than quantity.
TG: What other steps do you take to improve your productivity and performance? JB: I think work-life harmony is a good framework. I prefer the word “harmony” to the word “balance” because balance tends to imply a strict tradeoff. In fact, if I’m happy at work, I’m better at home — a better husband and better father. And if I’m happy at home, I come into work more energized — a better employee and a better colleague.
Jeff Bezos is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, as well as the owner of The Washington Post.