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:
- Tricks you can use every week to discipline your mind — you have to stop letting yourself be your mind’s b*tch.
- Learn how to get up early and get going.
- Learn to stay up late and keep going.
- Learn how to squeeze time out of every day.
- 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.