How To Work A 60-Hour Week

How To Work A 60-Hour Week

Forget the four-hour work week myth; for real productivity, you need to achieve a 60-hour work week or better. Here’s a five-step plan to make that happen.

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In reality, not even the people who teach you about the four-hour work week do a for-hour work week. They’re so hyped up about their goals, books and side businesses that they probably do 20 times that in a week.

I’m here to talk to you about forgetting a four-hour week, and providing strategies to fire yourself up for a 60-hour work week, with the explosive action you need to achieve the goals, income and success you desire.

If you’re game, here’s some of the exact steps I took to achieve a consistent, high-performance work week for years at a time. There are five key elements:

  1. Tricks you can use every week to discipline your mind — you have to stop letting yourself be your mind’s b*tch.
  2. Learn how to get up early and get going.
  3. Learn to stay up late and keep going.
  4. Learn how to squeeze time out of every day.
  5. Attaining the 60 Hour Work Week, and how to balance personal time.

Sounds like too much work? If you’re achieving your goals the way you’ve always done things, if you’re earning what you want, looking after yourself and/or family as you want — then keep doing what you’re doing.

Not getting what you want? Let’s go.

1. Make Your Mind Your B*tch

Do you know the biggest perceived barrier you’re going to have with this plan?

Your personal life? No.

Your work life? No.

Spending time on GTA V? Possibly.

Seriously, the biggest issue you’ll have with consistent power weeks is your own mind. Here are some experiments I went through to tame my mind that you can try for a week at a time:

Week 1: Start getting up at 5:30am everyday (or at least 30 minutes earlier than your usual time). Tips on how to do this below. You need to start setting the schedule for your mind and not give into sleeping in. Get to sleep early this week.

In this week you also need to start setting and writing every day, burning desire goals. Do you want to earn more, be fitter, get a house, get out of a relationship — whatever it is, start writing it down til it burns in your stomach and you use the below to chase it.

Week 2: This week, as odd as this sounds, every single meal or drink you have, you’re going to not finish the last 5 per cent. Is your mind sitting there going “man — eating everything is what my parents taught me, this could go to poor people to eat otherwise — I have to finish it”? Good — it’s an idiosyncrasy and another step in making sure you’re mind knows you’re the boss.

Week 3: Start working or doing something that takes concentration late at night each night (until midnight) — more tips below on how to do this. Don’t worry about getting up early yet. You’re just stretching your ability to discipline and focus your mind at your command.

Week 4: Pick one thing every day where your mind says “not gonna happen dude”, and just do it. It Doesn’t matter if its brushing teeth late at night, cleaning a dish, writing a short blog post. You’re still just breaking through laziness. You’re on your way to taming yourself.

2. How To Get Up Early

I used to be an avid gamer. This translated into my work life which meant I could happily work or play til 1am in the morning, and wake up like a zombie.

I decided to experiment in changing this and turning into a morning person cold turkey — here’s how I did it.

Step 2.1. Schedule: On the Sunday beforehand I specifically scheduled my night — when dinner was, when TV was, when personal time was and when bed time was. I also scheduled my wake up time.

The purpose of scheduling your sleep time goes back to getting your mind on board with your plans.

Step 2.2. Water: Put a bottle of water next to your bed — you’re going to drink it straight away when you wake up to get your body moving from the inside out. Or, just throw it on your head if you have to.

Step 2.3. Bribe yourself: Before you go to bed, get excited about waking up. What’s going to get you up in the morning — thinking about turbocharging your career from now on, promising yourself a bribe like coffee, or a run? I chose the coffee bribe. Before you sleep, engrave this goal of waking up at that time the next morning.

Step 2.4. Do it: If you are like me, just thinking about it so intensely before bed will actually mean your mind might wake you up before your alarm even does. If not, once the alarm hits, drink the water, sit up, and remind yourself why you’re getting up or what your bribe was — go do it.

3. How To Stay Up Late

The next one to tackle is staying up late. This is because to achieve a consistent 60-hour work week, we don’t want extremes at either end. We want a balanced output morning and night.

To get yourself working at night here are some tips:

Step 3.1. Schedule: Schedule the exact time you’ll be doing work or a specific activity — and stick to it. Make sure people around you know you’re doing it so they don’t schedule things around you.

Even right when I was doing a final edit of this, it was 11pm. Because I’d ‘promised’ that I’d only be doing it til 11:30pm, I’m hitting hard and fast instead of getting tired and open-ended.

Step 3.2. Bribery: Choose your poison — I find bribing myself with coffee or wine helps me sit down as a ritual — wine time is work time. See what works for you.

Step 3.3. Set the mood: I find some music in the background helps — nothing too distracting. I’m a big Suits fan, so this does it for me.

Step 3.4. Find a specific place: Choose where you sit to do it each time — so your mind knows when you’re there, it’s business time.

Step 3.5. Finish: Finish exactly when you planned to, so you know next time you’ll stick to it.

4. Squeeze Time Out Of Everyday

This is where you need to start putting all your discipline to use. You need to squeeze the life out of every day. I always hear people talking about “Hump Day” — the only reason you should call it hump day is because you’re literally humping every second of it to get to your goals. Here’s how:

Step 4.1. Sunday Planning: Use an hour Sunday night to plan your week and goals out — knowing what you’re doing and trying to achieve will get you hitting hard Monday and not wasting time being dazed.

Better yet — this will destroy “Monday Morning Blues” — because you’re already on fire leading into Monday.

Step 4.2. Discipline: Use your new mind discipline to notice when you’re procrastinating on something, and ‘just do it’.

Step 4.3. Be wary of ‘Crutch Time’: This is time spent trying to make yourself feel comfortable and not heading toward your goals. For instance:

  • Excessive time getting coffee and drinks in the morning
  • Time looking through email to feel good. Hit email hard and fast, 30 minutes at a time max
  • Winding down at 2pm on a Friday (you’re losing 5 per cent of your week already!)

Step 4.4. Keep meetings short: I recently instituted a new structure for all my meetings at work where they no longer go for more than 30 minutes — which gets everyone preparing earlier and not feeling deflated after long meetings.

5. The 60 Hour Work Week

Now it’s time to pull it all together. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start scheduling 1+ hours on a Sunday to do planning and get your week started
  • Get up at 5:30 — kick into gear and do 1 to 1.5 hours of activity. Get ready and get to work motivated already (I still bribe myself!)
  • During work time, avoid “crutch time” and hit activities hard
  • After work, it’s time to play hard and relax
  • At 9:30pm or 10pm — it’s time to do another power hour (or 1.5 hours)
  • Weekend — it’s play hard time again
  • Sunday — back to kicking your week off

Notice there are no extremes — no working til 3am and sleeping like a zombie. Just balance ‘power hours’ either side and proper sleep in between.

I guarantee people are going to notice, and you’re going to notice — you’ll achieve more and your productivity and goals will start to skyrocket. Not to mention people will start to comment and be amazed at how the heck you seem to be around all the time.

Balancing Personal Time

The whole premise is to “work hard play hard”. I found by getting up earlier than I ever did — I actually had more time to spend with my wife than before because I was simply unlocking more hours. The same way I don’t procrastinate on work, I make sure I’m really focused when I’m with her.

The same at night. Between 6pm and 10pm, I spend 4 solid hours focusing on her — more than I probably did before. It’s simply the quality and focus of the time you spend that is going to benefit you.

The above is to inspire you to experiment with discipline, alternative means of working and focusing. You don’t need to, and I’m not recommending you, spend 60 hours on work.

Whether you actually do 40 hours or 60 hours — if you use the techniques I assure you, you’ll do more in 40 hours than a mediocre person will do in 100 hours.

By the way — I originally wrote this whole article within 30 minutes, on a weekend, when my mind was saying “man please, not now”. What have you been procrastinating on?

Go do it.

Leigh Fletcher is a writer, blogger and entrepreneur. Follow him on Facebook.


  • “for real productivity, you need to achieve a 60-hour work week”

    Measured by whom?

    “Between 6pm and 10pm, I spend 4 solid hours focusing on her — more than I probably did before. It’s simply the quality and focus of the time you spend that is going to benefit you.”

    Because everyone likes to be scheduled into a to-do list and told what it is important in the relationship.

    • I wouldn’t have written on this topic if I didn’t welcome some controversy – keep it coming!

      • In week 1, you say to get up at 5.30am, but then in week 3 you say “don’t worry about getting up early yet”.

        Also, the way you dismiss the four hour work week with no evidence or even reasoning, and then speculate on how many hours a week those people work makes you sound like the “80s guy” from Futurama.

        EDIT: The one thing I would like to hear about is your new structure for shorter meetings. I agree that under most circumstances, meetings rarely should, and rarely have to go over 30 minutes.

        • The one thing I would like to hear about is your new structure for shorter meetings.

          From Tim Ferris’s 4 hour workweek:

          1. Meetings should only be held to make decisions about a predefined situation, not to define the problem. If someone proposes that you meet with them or “set a time to talk on the phone,” ask that person to send you an e-mail with an agenda to define the purpose:
          That sounds doable. So I can best prepare, can you please send me an e-mail with an agenda? That is, the topics and questions we’ll need to address? That would be great. Thanks in advance.
          Don’t give them a chance to bail out. The “thanks in advance” before a retort increases your chances of getting the e-mail.
          The e-mail medium forces people to define the desired outcome of a meeting or call. Nine times out of ten, a meeting is unnecessary and you can answer the questions, once defined, via e-mail. Impose this habit on others. I haven’t had an in-person meeting for my business in more than five years and have had fewer than a dozen conference calls, all lasting less than 30 minutes.

          2. Speaking of 30 minutes, if you absolutely cannot stop a meeting or call from happening, define the end time. Do not leave these discussions open-ended, and keep them short. If things are well-defined, decisions should not take more than 30 minutes. Cite other commitments at odd times to make them more believable (e.g., 3:20 vs. 3:30) and force people to focus instead of socializing, commiserating, and digressing. If you must join a meeting that is scheduled to last a long time or that is open-ended, inform the organizer that you would like permission to cover your portion first, as you have a commitment in 15 minutes. If you have to, feign an urgent phone call. Get the hell out of there and have someone else update you later. The other option is to be completely transparent and voice your opinion of how unnecessary the meeting is. If you choose this route, be prepared to face fire and offer alternatives.

          • Thanks qxq – nice input.

            I agree and in reality it’s just all about setting expectations and thinking a few steps ahead.

        • Hey Sockparty – thanks for reading it and taking time to respond.

          Just for clarity:

          1. When I say don’t worry about getting up early, I meant for that week specifically (bad wording). So I’m saying week 1 try getting up early, but don’t stay up late. Then the other week, try staying up late but don’t get up early. This is just helping stretch and see what your comfortable with, without trying to do 60 hours week 1 if that makes sense.

          2. I was a disciple myself of the 4 hour work week, and there are huge synergies in its philosophical approach to efficiently. But – I come across lots of people who take it too literally, and expect success to be handed to them without effort and then get demoralised.

          3. xqx covered the meeting this brilliantly.

          Thanks again.

          • I really appreciate how you have responded to the comments in this thread, I hope to see more articles from you in the future.

    • So, you are telling people they should only sleep for 5.5 hours a night? Trust me, that is hard to continue to do, and you’ll break down, and be dieing for that weekend when you can just sleep all day. Recommended dosage of sleep is between 6 and 8 hours. (leaning closer to 8 for people aged 13-25). If you need to do all this to “balance” 60 hours out of your week, then something is wrong and you shouldn’t be sacrificing sleep to “get more done”.

      If you really need to be more productive, why not do these?
      1. Work during your lunch break(s) – nothing too intensive, but enough to keep you going, like emails
      2. Listen to meeting notes/lectures in the car/train home assuming they’ve been recorded
      3. If possible and your job allows it, try getting to work earlier, and leaving earlier to avoid peek hour traffic
      4. Organize your next day the night before, ie pack gym/work bag, lunch, laptop, etc the night before, so you don’t need to stuff around in the morning finding things you “just can’t seem to find”

      And I’m sure there’s a bunch more, but I’m too lazy.

      • Nice tips Captain! I agree with them all.

        On sleep – personally once I do this for a while, I end up getting about 6.5 (11pm hard cut off and 5:30 wake up). But to be honest I’m more about getting disciplined than the actual hours. Weekends a bit more.

        Very nice addition again.

        • Fair enough 🙂 Just don’t get too run down!

          In addition, I think you are one of the only writers here that actually respond to peoples comments! (well, mine at least :P)

          • Haha I can ‘take the hate’ – so I’d rather be here seeing the comments and getting feedback than ‘drop and bomb’ and move on!

            Mind you I only have periodic articles so I can manage it!

  • There’s so much wrong with this article I don’t know where to start. Overwork, undersleep and compartmentalising time with your loved ones is a guaranteed path to burnout and broken relationships, not productivity.

    • Keep it coming! Like I said, all strategies can be taken and used individually/with a pinch of salt

  • Why would I voluntarily want to do this??? This is supposed to be a ‘lifehack’? I would rather not spend my whole day working but enjoy time with family and friends.
    I don’t believe that this strategy would improve living quality for many people. This is not a healthy way of living…

    • I’ve found a high percentage of work people like me do ‘extreme working’ themselves already (let alone gamers who play GTA V etc for days at a time) – with very little balance. I know personally! Take it all with a pinch and keep the feedback going…!

      • If you’re doing “extreme working”, it’s not time to try and justify it or make it work, it’s time to find a new job. There’s a little thing called work-life balance. This article is a recipe for burnout, and you can’t just try and shirk responsibility by saying “take it all with a grain of salt!”. You wrote it, have the balls to stand by it.

        • Hey Dman – personally I stand by it – I did the 10pm-3am thing for a while (note: i’m in sales to maybe I’m driven more by the extra work. Also I use the extra hours for entrepreneurial activity which I can’t do 9-5). So for me, and others who already do this type of work – I’m actually introducing some balance and I feel way better. For those who don’t see it valuable and doesn’t fit – they’re the ones who take a grain of salt – I’d rather people use 10% of it – than discard the whole thing.

  • I just spent about a year working 60 hour weeks. Here’s a much simpler way.

    -on weekdays, turn up at 6am, then go home at 5pm
    -on saturday, turn up at 5am, go home at 10am.

    Any questions?

    • Haha love it Jake – much simpler, but I wouldn’t have been able to write a whole article around that… Actually on a serious note – I used to be a night person and couldn’t get myself up early – so part of the article was simply ways I did it, that others could use or not use. Thanks for feedback!

  • work smarter not harder…

    “There’s so much wrong with this article I don’t know where to start. Overwork, undersleep and compartmentalising time with your loved ones is a guaranteed path to burnout and broken relationships, not productivity.”

    agree with zombie jesus…

    this is poorly written in any kind of context.

    ■Start scheduling 1+ hours on a Sunday to do planning and get your week started
    ■Get up at 5:30 — kick into gear and do 1 to 1.5 hours of activity. Get ready and get to work motivated already (I still bribe myself!)
    ■During work time, avoid “crutch time” and hit activities hard
    ■After work, it’s time to play hard and relax
    ■At 9:30pm or 10pm — it’s time to do another power hour (or 1.5 hours)
    ■Weekend — it’s play hard time again
    ■Sunday — back to kicking your week off

    • Thanks for commenting – keen to see if you agree to even 1 or 2 parts you could implement or if everything is too much – if you can gain just 1 or 2 things that work it served its purpose – if not, sorry I can’t give you 5 minutes of your life back 😉

    • work smarter not harder…

      Firstly, that’s such a 90s cliche’ that we’ve all heard a million times before that it doesn’t bear repeating.

      Secondly, working harder does not preclude working smarter.

      Here’s an idea… work smart and work hard.

    • ‘Work smarter not harder’ feels efficient, like it makes sense, but it’s just not as well-appreciated as it should be.

      Putting in visibly long hours and ‘being seen as always being around’ combined with average per-minute productivity can be very useful to your career if that’s what you want to focus on at the time. You might not necessarily be working smarter or getting more out of the hours that you put in compared to others, but for some fucked up reason so much of your perceived effectiveness isn’t in any metrics at all, but peoples’ perceptions of what hard work looks like.

      I know that at various stages I and friends of mine have been chewed out and cross-examined thoroughly for ‘being lazy’, when our actual productivity has been multiples higher than coworkers, purely because of ‘lazy’ signals being put forth.

      Being overly relaxed, emotionally indifferent towards problems because you know you can just fix it yourself, not freaking out about change, and even the posture of how you sit, all contribute. If your work mode is one elbow on the back of your chair, body twisted and a leg crossed over the other as you casually click away while everyone else is backs-ramrod-straight, eyes forward, hands in primed ‘holding an orange’ typing position, they’re going to think you’re lazy. Even if you’re blitzing the shit out of their stats, they’ll suspect that you’re somehow cheating or lying or gaming the system.

      This is what you can be up against. Getting told by management, ‘Perception is reality’ feels like the biggest crock of bullshit on the planet if you aren’t manipulating those perceptions. Putting in loads of hours at the office and hitting your tasks hard, without wasting time? Powerful stuff. If that’s what you care about.
      If you’re comfortable with your position and status in the business, you can totally just kick back and point to your unassailable tower of perfect productivity anytime people build up the nerve to call you out… but in so many workplaces that won’t actually get you anywhere.

      (Now I think about it, taking a visible ‘work hard play hard!’ attitude like @leighfletcher seems to be trying to radiate could possibly even give you some subconscious group permission to get more personal time during the day, like buying an extra half-hour grace to go to the gym during lunch before diving back into work and sucking on a protein shake. Honestly haven’t tried to cultivate that attitude myself to find out, but I’m interested in giving it a shot.)

      • @transientmind – man, you just about hit it on the head.

        Now in saying all this – I don’t work hard to be seen, I’m just so buzzed and trying to achieve lots of goals (plus I’m in sales so to an extent more activity = income).

        But – what you said was spot on – and the funny thing is, despite doing 60 hours I still find people who have no idea I work hard – simply because I might be hitting hard in a meeting room knocking out calls, visiting customers, working from home at night.

        So in reality, like you said unless you literally sit there visibly doing everything you probably still won’t get recognition.

        That’s why I do this all for me and my goals, not them.

        But, give it a try and I’ll be interested to see how you go! 😛

        • That’s why I do this all for me and my goals, not them.

          Yep I think that’s a very important aspect of being happy with working hard. If you’re doing it for others’ benefit; to satisy the boss / business owner; your parents; your significant other; your teacher; your candle stick maker – then you have this aching feeling of sacrifice in the back of your mind – and you’re combating that aching feeling with your efforts.

          If, however, you’re working hard for you, and the goals that you created and decided upon (in writing, or mentally), and that will (ideally) directly and primarily benefit you; then the process of working towards those goals becomes far less of a sacrifice – as your efforts would be in your self-interest. You can be happy to strive for the goals that you achieved, that is in your interests should you achieve them – or even in your interests simply by putting the effort in.

          I used to work in sales and on frequent occassion the business owners would set outlandish goals. Oh, we’d like you to pull in $20,000 revenue in the next 2 weeks. Don’t worry about the fact that the economy is currently dead, and that none of the 6 staff members have closed any deals in the last 3 months. And no, as business owners we won’t provide you with a strategy plan – it’s up to you to reach deep inside an orifice of your choosing to extract this desired outcome. Here, let me throw a few cliches at you that will surely put all the responsibility of success on you and completely remove any responsibility that we, as business owners, have.

          That kind of situation does not motivate. It upsets, concerns, and disgusts the employee. I might have gone off track there.

          I think there was another recent Lifehacker article along similar lines – not quite sure if I read it in full. I think the jist of it was not so much focusing on achieving a goal – or the end result, but to concentrate on your efforts. That’s what I’m doing.

          At the moment I’m working twice hard than I was a few years ago and yielding about half the results.

          Am I doing something wrong?

          No. I’m doing everything right. I’ve become fantastically efficient. I’ve improved here, there, and every little where.

          At the moment, the economy is (and has been ) in the toilet – and there are very few industries that are booming.

          So, for me, if I focus on results I’m likely to be disappointed. If I focus on the effort that I put in, I can be extremely satisfied, and at times amazed.

          • @Davedrastic sounds like we need to catch up for a beer! Thanks for the passion in the feedback – I too would much rather fail doing all I could than be apathetic from the get go. Love it – when the economy picks up you’ll be killing it,

  • This article was written by someone who has downed a whole bunch of corporate BS.

    The author could have titled this article “Working at Google 101” because that is the ethos for anyone in their first few years there (at least). The author is simply trying to describe how to make that lifestyle work more efficiently.

    That said, it completely supports corporate the “work hard and play hard” bull, designed to get people to put in 60 frakking hours a week (while paying them for 40) – because, you know, you are supposed to love what you do that much .

    • Thanks Matte – I didn’t explicitly say it, but the strategies can also be used for people with one foot in the corporate world and half a foot trying to be an entrepreneur – its always hard finding time to balance. Personally, I’m in sales so you’re right in that I do get an edge if I work further as it can be correlated with income.

    • This article was written by someone who has downed a whole bunch of corporate BS.

      Actually, I get the opposite impression.

      It seems that we’re all told that we must achieve a work-life balance, and the writer is basically saying to heck with that – if you enjoy working, and want to make strides towards your goals, pull up your sleeves and get stuck in.

      I think it’s also fair to note that the 60 hour working week doesn’t have to include 60 hours of corporate work. It could include 10 hours of exercise (which is also work). 10 hours of housework. 10 hours of focusing of productive hobbies / entrepreneurial activities etc.

      • @DaveDrastic – you are spot on. It’s about disciplining your mind, and, unlocking time on your day you never thought you could be bothered to use.

        At the moment I’m working hard at work, getting in exercise, working on building a house, writing articles, building seminar material, putting up YouTube videos (not released yet), spending lots of time with my wife – I’m buzzed everyday but I would put all these goals off for months if I couldn’t be disciplined and find extra time.

        Personally I mostly use it for my income and career goals, but whatever you want to achieve with that extra time is up to you, good point again.

  • I take these articles with a grain of salt. That Goldman Sachs one was really good, but didn’t fit me 100%, so I took what I liked from it and discarded the rest. If your wife doesn’t like you going “Ha ha ha, LAUGHING TIME IS OVER.”, then don’t do it. Take the good bits from the article and forget the rest if you know it’s not beneficial to you.

    But don’t outright dismiss it, work out why you’re dismissing it, see how you could change it to make it work (perhaps replace “Wife time” with an personal IOU system where you sit down on the weekend and watch a movie or something) and make these general tips work for you.

  • I think there’s some decent stuff in here actually. I have a bad habit of “crutch time” stretching on way longer than it should, which is something I really need and want to get in check.

    Bribing myself (and being excited about getting up, AND the water next to the bed) – I don’t always need to get up early for my job (it’s definitely not a 60-hour-a-week position) but when I do need to get up early, this is something I’ll keep in mind.

    And finally, the hitting-work-hard thing. No distractions.
    I don’t think scheduling time for loved ones is necessarily a bad idea. I mean, if you previously weren’t spending enough time with them, scheduling is an improvement, not a slight. I schedule time to hang out with my sister as otherwise we’d never see each other.

    Just my 2c.

    • Hey fairywren, your summary is brilliant and appreciate you taking the essence of the article – I think if you guys can find just one single thing that helps you in any way, the job is done!

  • I must admit, I had trouble seeing too much value in this given that the advice in Step 1.1 would mean I’d be sleeping in, rather than getting up early.

    Steps 4.1 – 4.4 are mostly good, though. I think the caveat would step 4.3 – you should be going to get coffee or a drink (or just getting up and moving around) every 30-60 minutes:

    Overall, I think all this advice might have some utility when you’ve got a lot going on at work, but on an ongoing basis, this seems like it should be part of a Successmanship 101 course – or at least a book on Megatronics.

    • Appreciate the honest opinion – if this can drive someone through a tough period they would have done anyway, great. Personally, I use the techniques ongoing – but I do balance it with diet, exercise, “non crutch” length breaks, but article is already long so I better write part two and get hammered some more 😉

  • Week 1: Start getting up at 5:30am


    To be fair, I appreciate the mood of the article.

    Recently i’ve been working harder than I ever have before, and I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying setting goals and achieving them. I’m enjoying making strides in my professional life etc.

    • Hey Dave – appreciate it and good to hear. I didn’t think I’d ever be up at 5:30 (since I used to finish work or gaming then) – but it felt like it unlocked something. Each to their own! Good luck

  • I am so naturally a night person, I would much rather get to work at 9:30am and work at home until 1am the prior night, than get up at 5:30am. I’ve measured various vital signs and they’re so much higher for me on days where I get up early — for the whole day — than on days where I get up at more of my usual time.

    • Now that’s interesting – the reason I started by doing just a week getting up early, was mainly to experiment. I found I could work effectively but had probably just trained myself to only do nights. I better check my signs!

  • Staying completely neutral on whether I agree with or will use the article’s content: Mad respect for replying individually to every single commenter. I love authors who do that.

    • Appreciate that alot Fenixius – I guess I would be shooting myself in the foot if I didn’t reply to you 😉

  • Did this for 6 moths (6 months ago). I got great results at work. But there are several issues

    a) Its not fun for people around you (whether you know them or not). I felt like stabbing anyone that annoyed me slightly, and that wasn’t a figure of speech.

    b) Make sure you do it for a reason. And that reason has an end (i.e. its fine for periodic crunch). I work in a field (academia) where finishing one work means you automatically start the next…and there’s no end in sight. (until you have a complete breakdown…which I’ve seen and been told first hand several times)

    c)Make sure you do it for a reason (I know I repeated it. it’s important). Make sure you don’t substitute working longer for working more inefficiently. If you get everything done in 40 hrs, then find a hobby, see your kids, relax. Do do it as an excuse for bad planning, bad management and down right stupidity

    d) Good luck and whether you do it or not. Life ain’t that bad. If it’s affecting your family and your health. Stop.

  • You forgot step 1: find something you are passionate about doing.

    There’s no point working 60 hours a week at something you hate. And if you’re passionate about doing something, then working on it comes easily.

    • Perfect Jack – you are exactly right.

      I would never keep working unless I was driven by a goal.

      This is what I meant by having a ‘burning desire goal’.

      Even this morning I had to remind myself ‘why’ –

      Although this time it was to come on here and see who had some more good ideas!

      Good point again.

  • It depends on your reasons and motivations, but having bought out my boss and taken over a business, I have averaged just under 80 hours a week for over 12 months – yes, its hard and you have to manage and balance your time so you are not too much of a hermit, and like anything you do, you can get better at it as time goes on.
    This is probably a different perspective to most of the readers and for me this was somewhat necessary to achieve my goals and at times I struggled to do so but it has its rewards too.
    (p.s. – yes, looking forward to working a 60 hour week one day!)

    • Haha you’re exactly who I needed to read this thing!

      The key question is – did any of this make sense for you (if you picture earlier days)?

      Anything you’d add on how you keep an even more high performance week over time?

      • yes, I agree with your first point the most, the mind is the biggest hurdle – maybe not as much for me as for most people as this was a planned challenge for me (and I have always liked my job), but if you have negative thoughts about working extra hours they are going to be a drain on you, you have to focus on the positives/rewards/goals.
        Not being a morning person, I tried the early starts a couple of times and I didnt achieve enough, so for me it was just working late (which in reality was not much less sleep but a lot less TV) and working on the weekends too.
        I also found setting goals and deadlines, and achieving them maintained the positive focus. Also planning and managing the tasks to get them done in batches so you are not switching focus every 5 minutes.
        and your last point – personal time – 100% agree, if you have a busy schedule/work load – you must schedule the personal time too otherwise it wont happen.

        • I play around a lot with multitasking vs focus and agree on focus – glad to hear that.

          You’re a star, keep it up then!

  • You could Work remote (Like I do) 12hr Days for 2 weeks straight 😀

    But then of course the upshot is I get 2 weeks of after it hahaha 😀

    • I love it @Cilantro, work hard play hard!

      I wonder if its like what @TransientMind said – because you’re remote do you get recognition from others because you aren’t seen?

      Like I said, I do this for me and my goals so I don’t care, and same with you I am sure!

      Actually I want to see an article from you about how you keep disciplined to work from home consistently!

  • Not a chance I’m going to do all this, but I think it is awesome to see an article that doesn’t bleat on about work-life balance and spending less time working. The reality of advancing in most careers is doing more work. Even if you work smart, the guy who works smart and hard is going to do better. Good to see some practical tips on how to manage it if you have to for your chosen profession.

    • Thanks for the great words Jack.

      Appreciate the feedback and I fully agree you can mesh working smart and hard at the same time (within the balance you want for your particular goals or needs) – not just being a 60 hour brute. Thanks again.

  • I’m a chef who works between 90-110 hours a week. A 60 hour week is easily achievable once you’ve trained your body. I cycle to and from work, for recreation on sunny days and also manage to keep a steady relationship with my partner.

    However, I won’t lie – my social life was left behind many years ago and only those who are close to me berate me into making time for them. I only suggest such a life for someone who has a job or career that happens to be their passion in life and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals, because if that is the case then it is easy. Anyone else, don’t even bother.

    • @Bobbin I admire that – and you raised a huge point I didn’t mention – working hard for your goals is like a muscle in my mind.

      With your body you think you can’t lift anymore but if you iteratively keep going and picturing fiery goals you’ll be lifting 2x more before you know it.

      I believe the mind is exactly like it and you can get there and manage it over time without burnout etc.

      Wise words on the goals and not bother part – I agree you wouldn’t make a few weeks if you did it for someone else’s reasons and not your own.

  • How not to work a 60 hour week – 5 step plan
    1) Set alarm for 7.00am. Hit ‘snooze’ button repeatedly till you actually feel like getting up.
    2) Tell your boss to get …….. when he tells you that urgent report is required at 5pm on Friday. No it isn’t. Nobody is going to read it.
    3) Leave work before peak hour so you get home at a reasonable time.
    4) Have a beer. Have another beer.
    5) Stop reading stupid articles from people who don’t care about you one iota imploring you to work harder for your corporate slavemaster who also doesn’t care one iota about you. “Our staff are our most important asset” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
    This plan guarantees a better life. Follow it.

    • Hey Steve – now that’s a better article – The key is to understand I’m on the grind like you, and I’m not the manager type. The real key to all this though, is I’m saying to do it for yourself – for your goals, your success. It wouldn’t work the same for me if I had to do it – but I want to, to achieve the goals I have. For the record I also have a beer… and another 😉

  • For me, it’s a simple stress response. I get up earlier than my biological clock feels is “normal” and I’m stressed all day. HR, BP up, even in the evenings. Doable, and sometimes necessary for a month or so at a time, but I vote that it’s not good for me in the long run so I do not make a longterm habit of it.

    • @Barb – very interesting – well keep yourself healthy, if I get you sick following my advice I won’t have anyone left to critique it!

  • 60 hour week? Haha, yeah right. Working 8:30 to 5:30 five days a week is already too much. I’m doing what I can to minimise time at work and maximise time with family. I wasn’t put on this earth to spend my life locked up in an office.

    I have no interest in hitting the big time, no interest in making millions, no interest in kissing the bosses ass. Work to me is just something I do to earn enough money to get through life, nothing else.

    • That’s the beauty of life @hoi_polloi, its about what you want. Personally, I started working hard from necessity of being young and financial predicaments (CREDIT). Now it transformed into the goals and things I want to achieve – which is about me and my goals, and not others. If you think there’s a gap between what you’re doing now and what you want – then I’m just saying go get it!! You’re going by your goals too and we don’t need the same goals – and if you’re getting what you want, why change

    • That’s the point man, unlock all these extra hours – and sleep on the other side! Haha. I see what you’re saying – and its your life to do whatever pleases you – this just pleases me! Just for clarity though that I didn’t have in the article but did have buried in some comments above – it doesn’t strictly have to be work, I use the extra hours for entrepreneurial activity, writing, stuff I didn’t have the time or discipline for before with a normal 9-5.

  • I love this article – working in Business Development, specifically in tendering, it’s all about tight deadlines – which I love and thrive on: the team pulling together with a common goal, the 16-20 hour days, the pressure, and the satisfaction of delivering is what makes me get out of bed in the mornings. On the flip side, there are weeks of down time, and I try to keep up the momentum by using the time to work on what I love (making stuff). While at work I’m helping the company meet its goals, rather than my own as such, I get immense personal satisfaction in a job well done, and by applying the same discipline to my personal “work”, I’ve managed to turn what I love into a successful side business.

    It is hard for friends to understand how much I enjoy my job though, and living alone I especially have to make sure I schedule time with them, otherwise months would go by and I would be quite content having not seen anyone other than my workmates (luckily they’re pretty great!)

    Also Step 3.2. Bribery: Choose your poison — I find bribing myself with coffee or wine helps me sit down as a ritual — wine time is work time


    • Hey @tayray – brother from another mother! Glad to get your feedback that’s for sure.

      Love the passion you’ve got, keep it up and let us know if you have any more points to add on the 80 hour work week!

      • Probably the most important thing I’ve found is to ensure you make time for exercise, and that you’re eating right – I used to rely on red bull and junk food to get me through the night, and try and squeeze in as much sleep as possible, but I’ve found that with a good diet and exercise, I need much less sleep and have loads more energy.

        • @tayray you hit it right on the head! I really should have put more in there about that but already too long.

          Make sure you listen to this guy!

  • I’m curious @leighfletcher – how long have you been doing this for? 3 months? 3 years?

    • Hey @petedotg! I’ve been doing erratic 50-60 hours pretty consistently for a few years maybe 4-5. I spent about 2 years earlier than that doing the 2am sleep and get up at 7 or so which was hell (my choice – gaming!). Maybe 1 year recently doing what I said in the article in terms of up early, balancing the night.

      So over time I’ve trended from horrible structure, to better, to now what I consider my best balance.

      That’s why I wanted to write the article – since it was a fairly recent but consistent experimentation for me.

      So in essence I can say work is good, side hobbies and writing good, relationship great – but it takes consistent goal and desire to keep going!

  • Of course, Leigh, you have to take what I’ve said with a shake of salt, as a reformed overworker.

    I make no secret of having a 72-hour average work week (and that might be an underestimate by 4-5 hours a week) while working on a project at a major tech employer on the West Coast for almost 5 years. My stats during the worst of it looked more like 95 hours a week on average, with my worst work week being 113 hours and my second worst being 106. And y’know what, after all those heroics, a jealous manager new to her role (formerly a coworker who apparently did not get the same level of incentive payments) didn’t want me to collect all my deferred compensation, so she made sure I was first on the layoff list when the time came.

    End result: Amazing trajectory, dreadful end.

    Lesson learned: Never again, unless it’s my very own business. Ain’t worth it.

    • Well look after yourself and go hit it hard for your own goals, can’t agree more it needs to be for you and not others

  • And yes, I was told at one point I was in danger of a stroke from consistently high BP. I slowed down, but not as much as I should have.

  • Hi Leigh,

    Excellent article. Really enjoyed reading it. I actually needed some tips as I have started getting up earlier and sleeping later (with hopes of being productive with my time) – so will definitely be using a lot of the points you’ve made. My personal favourite – 2.2, “throw the water on your head if u have to” haha. I will let you know the outcome. Hoping to make my mind my bitch any day now 😉

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