In Dan Lyons’ NY Times Sunday Review article from August 31st, Gary Vaynerchuk, author of ‘Crush It’ and ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,’ is touted as preaching the necessity of 18 hour workdays for anyone wanting to get ahead. As a work-life balance strategist, self-made millionaire, mother of five, and someone who is living healthily 17 years into an MS diagnosis, it is my opinion that if you are working 18 hour days, you are doing something wrong.
I once did a speaking event with Mr. Vaynerchuk and he not-so-politely told me that I was wrong about work-life balance. My reply, ‘work-life balance is a necessity, not a luxury. We can’t burn ourselves out and hope that we will eventually reap the rewards of our labor. We may not live to see the day that we can actually enjoy everything we have worked so hard for.’ In my twenties, I owned a health club, taught nutrition at my local college, had a daily television gig, was on radio, had my pro card for triathlon, trained clients, worked seven days per week, sixteen hours per day, and had a new baby; I thought I could handle it.
We can’t burn ourselves out and hope that we will eventually reap the rewards of our labor.
Eventually my non-stop hustle caught up with me. I wasn’t sleeping, my body was constantly in pain, there was severe brain fog, I was dropping things, and an indescribable form of exhausted. This went on like this for three years until the fateful day that brought the MS diagnosis. I gave myself MS. No one else in my family has it and frankly, I did it to myself.
“Eventually my non-stop hustle caught up with me. I wasn’t sleeping, my body was constantly in pain, I couldn’t think clearly, I was dropping things, and I was an indescribable form of exhausted.”
The harsh reality is that eventually our sixteen to eighteen hour days are going to catch up with us. My close friend, an entrepreneur, who died last year from stage four cancer in his forties, said to me, ‘Susan, it is the stress that gave me cancer.’ He was working long days, often seven days per week, running existing businesses, and in the trenches of a start-up that he had been trying to get off the ground for ten years. Although he did the requisite exercise, slept for five hours per night, and ate a somewhat healthy diet, he just couldn’t shut down. The long days eventually killed him.
Although he did the requisite exercise, slept for five hours per night, and ate a somewhat healthy diet, he just couldn’t shut down. The long days eventually killed him.
In this era of leverage, outsourcing, and a myriad of task management options, anyone putting in that many hours is wasting time somewhere. I believe we have to work hard however I also believe that if we take a good, solid look at our lives, we are all capable of doing more with less time.
Consider these statistics on time-wasting:
- The average American spends one year of their life looking for lost or misplaced items. US News and World Report
- The average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day (6 weeks per year) looking for things. OrganizedWorld.com
- The typical executive wastes 150 hours a year (almost an entire month), searching for lost information. For someone earning $50,000 a year, this loss is equivalent to $3,842 annually. Forbes ASAP
- The average person will spend more than five years of their lives on social media, according to a study by influencer marketing agency Mediakix.
The bottom line is this – there are always more innovative, time-efficient ways of doing things. Here are 3 ways to stop the insanity now, become more productive, and stop living with the delusion that someday you will actually be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor – that day may never come.
The bottom line is this – there are always more innovative, time-efficient ways of doing things.
1. What Can You Outsource?
My email inbox was driving me crazy. I receive, on average 300 emails from Monday to Wednesday and then one hundred to one hundred and fifty on Thursday and Friday. Many of the emails I receive require a reply, an appointment booking, or some form of action. Is it the best use of my time to send people a link to my calendar? Not particularly. I decided to outsource my email and several other items and hired a virtual E.A. from Tasks Everyday. We literally reside in an outsourcing world. Everything from graphic design to research can be outsourced. Firms like Upwork, and others, have qualified people to do the things you either do not know how to do, or do not want to do.
2. Essential and Non-Essential?
Often, we spend our time on non-essential tasks such as scrolling Instagram or looking at our friend’s photos on Facebook. This is frequently done during work hours – those times when we are supposed to be focusing on the activities that will generate revenue. My question is this – what’s more important – your friend’s Facebook posts or spending time with your kids or getting your workout in or taking a vacation? 100% of my clients and students are wasting time somewhere and when they stop doing it, they work shorter days and get more done.
3. Time Yourself
My calls are limited to fifteen and thirty minutes. If I can’t get something accomplished in that period of time, then frankly, I am wasting time. I am also not the person who spends the first then minutes of any meeting talking about the weather or world events. If I am spending time on a conversation I will never remember, I am taking time away from my family, and the things that truly matter. I am a GTTP – Get To The Point kind of gal. I have learned to do this over the course of years of timing myself and becoming more efficient.
Start timing your conversations. Time how long it takes you to respond to communication. Figure out how much time it takes you to make a sale, get a project done, or anything related to generating income. When I was a pro triathlete, I spent hours working on making my transitions faster. I encourage you to invest time making all of your activities faster and more efficient.
Lastly, if you are ready to become more efficient, productive, and stop wasting time, my class – OYL Sales Academy is coming up on September 12th. I encourage you to check it out.
PS – I would love to hear about how you are getting out of the chaos of long work days. I read all of your comments and appreciate you taking time to post your thoughts below.