There's been a bit of a debate raging on Twitter (and elsewhere) recently about how many hours one should work, primarily focused on employees but also from the perspective of “changing the world”.
It's an interesting debate and let's face it, it's not a particularly new one, what with the likes of Gary V talking about hustle till the cows come home, and other entrepreneurs regaling us with tales of 100 hours weeks etc.
But the thing I always come back to is, what works for me?
There is no “one size fits all” answer in my opinion
I have no doubt in my mind that in order to achieve the types of goals I have for myself, my business and my family, I need to be prepared to work my butt off to have the best possible chance of success.
But should this come at the expense of a number of the things that I am ultimately trying to achieve, doesn't that seem a little counter productive?
After all, if one of my goals if to have flexibility with my time and to spend as much time as possible with my kids, how does working 100 hours per week and not getting to see them help me to achieve that?
Sure, you could argue that I could work hard now and reap the benefits later, but the reality is, if I spent the next ten years missing out on my kids childhood, by the time I'm in a position to enjoy time with them, they'll probably be off trying to reach their own goals.
So, arguably I'm better off working smarter now than I am working harder.
What about “delayed gratification”?
Work hard now so that you can enjoy life later on and have the things you've always wanted etc etc.
It's true, it makes sense to make some sacrifices today in order to reap bigger benefits in the future. Invest in yourself instead of buying all that crap that you probably won't use as much as you think you will.
But should you really put all gratification aside for the immediate future on the promise that it'll be so much better “in the future”. Without sounding like a morbid bugger, “the future” may never actually arrive for any of us, and when it does, who knows what it'll look like.
People's lives can change overnight and no one can truly know what lies ahead of them, plans are great and all but the universe does have a habit of throwing a massive spanner into the works from time to time.
And let's face it, the last thing anyone wants is to be in a position of having all this time and money, only to be too old to take advantage of it. I'd rather have “enough” now, and the time to do more of what I want, than “more than enough” in the future and no-one to enjoy it with.
Let alone, find myself in a situation where “the future” is no longer an option.
A passion make it easier though
I'll be honest, while I think the idea that you need to work hundreds of hours per week for the rest of your life to have what you want, is a little crazy, one thing I will say is…
If you're passionate about what you're doing, it won't feel like work!
Now this is the point where some people will cry foul about not having a passion they can make money from or whatnot, but take a look around, people are making a living off of some of the strangest ideas.
Granted you might not become a billionaire making cupcakes because you love baking, but if you could do that every day and still be able to pay all of your bills and enjoy your life, what's so bad about that?
And hey, who's to say that you couldn't build a business around it that ultimately gave you more money, time and freedom?
It's amazing how doing things on your own terms and working on stuff that you enjoy can make “work” seem like everything but. So, when people like Elon Mush and Gary V talk about how much work they do (or you should do), I can completely understand why they can say that.
So what's my point?
My point is this…
You need to make up your own mind about what works best for you!
Don't just blindly follow the Gary V way or spend 100 hours a week “working” just because that's what you think people expect from someone who is “successful”.
Figure out what the priorities are in your life and then build around that.
If you have young kids and you want to be a part of their lives, work hours that allow you to take time during the day to be with them.
If you have a side hustle alongside a regular 9-5, don't work on that until the kids are in bed, or if it's the weekend, prioritise time with them and then when they're otherwise occupied, work on your business.
Don't be afraid to do things differently.
It's your life after all, and the last thing you want when you finally come to the end of it, is to have any regrets about how you chose to live it.
As the old adage goes, you're unlikely to get to your deathbed and wish that you had spent more time working.
But even then, that's just my opinion, YOU decide what it is right for you!