Traditional convention holds that a devoted entrepreneur should work every hour god sends. Is this productive? On the Htet Tayza blog I ask; how many hours should you work a week?
Blood, sweat and tears
Entrepreneurship is a full-time vocation. Building a successful business from the ground up is no mean feat. You need to put your blood, sweat and tears into an emerging venture if you want to carve out a consumer base, edge out your competitors and build profit margins.
That’s why so many people believe that you need to work every hour under the sun if you want to build a successful business. Many entrepreneurs work 50, 60 even 70 hour weeks in their bids to become a success.
Bring back the 40 hour work week
However writer Sara Robinson once wrote a piece for Salon which refuted this long-held wisdom. She argued that you can get a lot more done in 40 hours than you can in 50, 60 or 70.
She wrote that “every hour you work over 40 hours a week is making you less effective and productive over both the short and the long haul.” Here the writer is arguing that the human capacity to work is exhaustible. Once you’ve passed the 40 hour mark, fatigue starts to set in and the quality of your work begins to suffer. This is supported by a Business Roundtable report from the 80’s which discovered that an employee delivers their best efforts between the second and the sixth hour of their average working day.
An article featured on Inc.com argued that you don’t need to work more. You need to work at the right time. If you manage your time efficiently you can ensure you devote your best hours to delivering your most effective output.
It suggested that there are three kinds of people; larks, owls and hummingbirds. Larks rise with the dawn chorus and put in their best efforts before lunch, crashing as the clock ticks along towards dinner time. On the other hand owls are creatures of the night; they excel past 5pm but have the attention span of a gnat when they first wake up. Alternatively hummingbirds are aptly named. They’re as fresh at dusk as they are at dawn.
Set your own working day
I would take this further. You know your own body, your own capabilities, better than anyone. If you’re the kind of person who can burn the candle at both ends, go ahead. However if you’re the kind of person who flags as the sun starts to head west, stop working. Let your body set your working day.
Htet Tayza, Escape Gastro Bar