This weekend I was talking with a friend who works for a consulting firm – he does city planning. He mentioned the partners regularly work 15+ hour days.
It got me thinking about work weeks and what is too much. Lee Iacocca wrote an excellent autobiography of his time at Chrysler and Ford. It’s a great read from a truly motivated individual. One of the big takeaways for me was that Lee – world famous CEO of Chrysler and turn-around artist – did not work on weekends…ever. To him, weekends were family time and totally off limits.
I believe that you need to be refreshed to be effective. When I first started out seven years ago as a solo consultant/freelancer/web designer – a true one man shop, jack of all trades – there were times when I worked too much. Gradually I learned how to achieve my work/life/day balance and stave off burn-out – it’s always lurking and if you are not careful it will snag you.
So how long is my work week these days? I usually get to my desk around 8:00 AM and leave around 7:00 PM. While I sometimes arrive earlier or later, I rarely work past 7:00 PM. I think it is important to have a clear and consistent end to your workday. So, I work about 11 hours per day (55 hours per week). Now, that does not include the .5-1 hour of reading I do (almost always business related) each night (3.5 hours per week). Nor does it include any errands I run after hours (office supplies, sending of documents, etc), nor the inevitable after hours phone call or two (2.5 hours a week there). Every Sunday night I spend about an hour planning my week and frequently (weekends and weeknights) I go for one to two hour walks where I just think about things (4 hours per week). I also spend about 3.5 hours a week on outside projects like mesh.
So, here is how that looks in a more palatable format:
Mike’s Work Week
55.0 hrs – driving the desk
2.5 hrs – running errands after hours
3.5 hrs – reading and professional development
1.0 hrs – Sunday night prepping my week
4.0 hrs – after hours time dedicated to thinking
3.5 hrs – outside projects
69.5 hrs – THE GRAND TOTAL
With this kind of schedule and this kind of discipline, I feel both productive and passionate. I could work more hours, but it would come at a cost.
How long is your work week?