Before we dive into the story of how a startup CEO changed his entire company for his kids, I want to share a problem with you:
According to a Gallup report, the average US employee averages 47 hours of work per week.
Also, according to the Economic Policy Institute, Americans now work near 4 more weeks per year than they did in 1979.
There’s a 99.9% chance you’re nodding your head right now. Because I just described you.
I know because I just described myself as well.
When you’re overworked, either as an entrepreneur or as an employee (or both!), you lose time with your family, are less creative, and start to resent your employer for making you work based on hours and not productivity.
It also has a nasty effect on your family. (As a dad and husband, I can personally attest to this).
But recently The Atlantic released a short case study that starts to address a solution.
I’m particularly taken by one quote in the case study from Ryan Carson, the CEO of Treehouse:
I think it really came home when I had kids. with kids you realize you have the 18-year window and then it’s done. so every moment that i have with my kids is something I can’t buy back. No matter how much money I make or how powerful I get, I can’t buy time.
I don’t have that long to spend with people I love and I’m not going to be at my fucking keyboard at 9PM on a Friday night because there’s no life there.
Carson and his wife came up with the idea of a 32 hour work week on a random Saturday. Her recalls her saying, “I thought we could control our life once we started our own company and we seem to be working even more now.”
This conversation rang true for me because I’ve had my wife say the exact same thing to me in the past.
Treehouse will soon be at 100 employees and they’re able to pull in great talent and compete with Google because they’ve gone to a 32-Hour work week. They literally only work Monday through Thursday and they pay full benefits.
Michael Watson, the CFO of Treehouse thought Carson was nuts and it didn’t make any sense to cut your workforce’s man hours.
According to Watson, when people aren’t overworked, the change for a “light bulb moment” is increased. But even though his employees were now more creative, the decision to go to a 32 hour work week didn’t come out of a place of increased productivity, but more of wanting their employees to be happy.
How to Apply This To Your Business
There’s no rule that you have to work more to be successful.
More hours equals more productivity is totally false. It makes people more resentful in their day jobs and I’ve found it to be true in entrepreneurship as well.
The time when I hated my business the most was when I found myself totally overwhelmed by work to be done.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Like Carson, I’m not against hard work and I work really hard, but it’s more of a moral decision for Carson. As a man, and especially as a dad, I feel the same. I get moral satisfaction out of how hard I work and not necessarily the end product.
I’d work harder than ever before on small things and never the big, scary things that actually moved the needle for my business and family.
The thing is that one day, I realized that mindset is a distraction.
5 years into my business, I’ve come to think this is about having a more balanced total life. Not more work or less. Or more family time or less.
Just working smarter and not harder. We finally live in a time where it’s possible to work less and still do more.
Here’s 9 ways to actually work less and still get more done:
Derek Halpern recommends working in 90 minutes blocks and since I heard him say it on Periscope, I’ve started doing it as well and have found it to be a sweet spot for me, too.
Get all of your work done during your set work time. I’m a massive fan of using e.ggtimer.com to set times for given tasks in order to encourage focus and reduce wasted time.
Getting out of the office (or if you’re like me, the spare bedroom) and scheduling new experiences will stimulate your creativity and also give you something to look forward to in your “off” time. Knowing that I’m going to Podcast Movement and World Domination Summit next year both really drive me to get big projects done before then.
I’m a firm believer in Casey Neistat’s theory than an hour of exercise per day can replace an hour of sleep and leave you with more energy. Don’t believe me? Try it for a week and let me know how it works.
Wake Up Early
Getting up early has been the single greatest thing that I’ve ever done in my business. Waking up to do work that I’m passionate about, or to exercise, means that I’m starting my day for me, and giving those tasks the best energy I’ll have all day. I wasn’t always a “morning” person but in a shot timeframe I not only became one, but thrived by getting up earlier than the rest of the world (BONUS: Less distractions in the early AM hours!)
Prepare ahead of time
I’ve been using ToDoIst for a few months to nail down important (and less important) tasks and schedule out my week to get tasks done each day. Click here to grab my toolbox of 10 tools (including ToDoIst) that help me get more done so I can build my business AND spend time with my family.
The Pareto Principle
I’m a firm believer that I’ve gotten my business to where it is today (over $100k in revenue without quitting my day job) because I’ve focused on the biggest tasks. Take a look at the big tasks, the ones that actually move the needle, and get those done first. I love the idea Brian Tracy set forth that by “eating the frog” (doing your most difficult task), first thing in the morning, all other tasks pale in comparison and become relatively easy to do.
Work expands to fill the time available for its completion. If I give myself 2 days it write a blog post, it takes 2 days. However, if I give myself two 90-minute sessions to get it done, I can get it done better and in far less time. Again, I recommend e.ggtimer.com to get it done.
Productivity Tip #9
I intentionally only put eight tips in this list because I want to hear from you!
What do you think should be Number 9 on this list? How do you get more done in less time?
Add your best tip here in our free Hustle&Heart Facebook group for other entrepreneur dads to check out.
Have a question about getting work done while still rocking it as a dad and husband? Click here and join us and you’ll get a TON of helpful responses!
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