Working 15 Hours a Day Isn’t Sustainable (for Most People)
Do you know Gary Vaynerchuk? He runs a huge social media company; he’s probably worth more than $100 million. Gary V. has been known to work for 15 hours a day, seven days a week. He’s got a crazy YouTube channel. He documents his days quite a bit.
And many people out there—including myself for a while—have been really inspired by Gary. He made me want to grind my face off—10, 12, 14 hours a day. I did it for a while…and then I burnt out.
Know Who You Are
From my experience—for me personally and from seeing some of my really close friends that I mastermind with on a weekly basis over the last couple years—most people can’t do that. Gary V. is built like Gary V. And one thing that we need to realize is that we all are our own person. We all have our own tendencies. Some people are more gifted at sports, some people are quicker, some people are faster, and some people are better at public speaking. I think there are learnable skills, but different qualities and characteristics are just built into us too.
We need to learn who we are and how hard we can work; we’ve got to figure things out on our own. I don’t think most people can bust their butts for 15 hours a day, and, personally, I don’t think that’s what most people want.
So many people are just working their faces off, and they’re not really getting the results they want. They are too busy working, working, and working some more, and they’re never really taking time to reflect: “Okay, is this something that actually makes me happy? Am I climbing up the right ladder?”
Working Hard vs. Working Smart
What do I mean by that? There’s a difference between working hard and working smart. You might be working in your business, doing a specific thing, or your business might be based around a certain type of product that you’re selling. But that might not be the best product. You might not be in the right business but not realize it because you’re so busy just climbing up that one ladder or just trying to work around the clock.
You might have been able to do something completely different, work smarter, and put in half the time but make two, three, or four times more money. That’s the thing. Take some time to slow down and reflect.
And again, from my personal experience, I thought that the only thing I really wanted was money. I still remember five, six, seven, eight years ago just thinking about how amazing my life would be if I had $50,000. And then it was $70,000, and then it was $100,000. Then it was $200,000. Every time I make more money, my life improves a little bit more, and I have more resources available. I can buy toys, and I feel more secure. But at the end of the day, happiness doesn’t come from just working your face off and having a thriving business and making a bunch of money.
It definitely helps. And if you’re in foreclosure or your life depends upon it, then you put in those 15–17 hours. But for most people, you just don’t have to work that hard. I think that many people are going to be grinding their faces off, then wake up one day 40, 50, 70 years old, and say, “Wow. I wish I would have spent more time with my family.” Maybe your mom or dad has passed away, and you say to yourself, “That would have been nice if I had gone on that trip with them.” Or maybe your kids are all grown up now, or maybe you don’t have your youth anymore. And you say to yourself, “I wish I would have run that marathon.” Or “I wish I had traveled to that place.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Slow Down
So take some time to slow down. Some people have asked me before to elaborate on this point. I had one person say to me, “What do you mean by slowing down? Can I pig out for the weekend? Can I take a week off? Can I take two weeks off?”
Here are my thoughts on that. I think it’s okay to take a week or a couple of weeks off. Obviously, you’ve got to know your finances and your situation. But if you have it within your means to take a week or a month off, I would say go for it. Here’s the thing though: you need to make sure that you don’t destroy your habits, your routines, and your rituals.
Success is made up of small decisions, tiny habits and routines and rituals that are practiced over days, weeks, months, and years. Sometimes when people take the weekend off or screw around for a whole week, not only do they avoid working, but they allow themselves to start eating like crap. And then they don’t get a lot of sleep, which makes them angry, and now they’re in a fight with their spouse. Everything spirals out of control. And now you’re fighting to get back into your routine; that one week off turns into six months of low productivity.
Yes, you can take time off. I take a lot of time off too. But I find the more time I take off, the harder it is to get back into my routine. And I know for sure that my results—whether in the gym or in my business—are a direct correlation to the things that I do on a regular basis. I lost the weight from showing up to the gym every single day. That’s how I got in shape. I’m living proof of it.
Keeping Up with Your Routines
Here’s an example of staying with my routine. I screwed my neck up once and could only turn it a little bit. My neck was messed up. I knew I couldn’t do dead lifts or any type of bench press, but I still wanted to go to the gym.
I messaged my personal trainer and said, “Hey, Noah. I’m going to be coming to the gym on Monday. My neck is messed up. I know you’re not a social worker, but I want to come in, go on the bike, and talk for 45 minutes. I want to do that because I believe that our characters are defined when we’re at our low points.”
When we’re at our low points, it's even more important to keep our habits and our routines going. So I said to Noah, “It may seem like a waste of money to pay you for the hour. But I want to come in, talk, and stay within my routine.”
Small Decisions and Big Results
Success is made up of all the little, tiny things that we do. It is the habits and rituals. It’s not over a week; it’s not over two weeks; it’s not over a month. It’s six, 12, 18, 24 months out. So slow down, reflect, and make sure you’re doing the right things. Don’t just be busy to be busy or to be Gary Vanderchuck or to be Tim Farris or whoever out there. Be yourself; look within to figure out who you are. Me personally, I’m not built to work 12- to 15-hour days. And, sure, I’m probably never going to be worth $100 million. That’s not who I am. I don’t want to work 15 hours a day. But I can see myself being worth $10, $15, $20 million over the long haul. I don’t want to be Gary V. I need to be myself.
Happiness and success aren’t defined just by money and material wealth. I’m more in tune with my spirituality. I want to be healthy. I want to be fit. I want to spend time with my mother, my friends, and my family.
The Importance of Reflection
I know I sound as though I’m probably trying to justify myself, but I want to be 100 percent transparent. I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t share my views on this issue with you. I know there are so many people who are probably starting their journey right now exactly where I did five or six years ago and thinking that money and grinding your face off is the only way to get to success.
It will help; you’ll get there faster, but you can work smarter instead of harder. You can slow down at times to reflect, to make sure you’re climbing up the right ladder, to make sure you’re making the right moves. You need to figure out how to put systems in place, to hire virtual assistants, to get staff in line, and to make sure that you’re in the right business.
You need to be working on your business instead of in your business. And doing that takes time, thought, and a lot of self-reflection.
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