Work at work, live after work

People often tell me that there is no chance to achieve success in business if you don’t work massively over time. That if we’re thinking about building something big, we need to work 100 hours a week. Or even more.

I truly believe that this is NOT the truth. I believe in work-life balance and living a good life outside the work while building a great business.

There are many of good examples to confirm my thesis here. I think the most famous ones are the guys from 37signals (now: Basecamp): David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried.

But I’m not going to tell you about these two men. I’m going to tell you about one, really obvious, but also often a forgotten thing.

I mean

Working at work

If you come and visit us at PayLane, you will see that for most of the time, there is silence in the room. You may find some funny stuff there, also. Some hockey sticks, balls, crayons, toys etc. But all of these things are not used for much of the time.

You may say: boring. Yeah, you may. But also, you may ask me what’s going on. And I would answer you: because everyone’s working. Seriously working. And because of such attitude, we are able to achieve many great things that shouldn’t be able to be achieved by such a small team.

And besides that, because everyone’s focusing on their work while they are in the office, they can go out of the office after some normal number of hours and have a good life after that.

Whose job is to make this happen?

CEO’s, of course. And there are two things worth mentioning:

  1. CEO’s mentality is often to push everything as hard (and quick) as possible
  2. Someone has to do it anyway

Push, push, push

Yeah, it’s necessary sometimes. Especially with startups. But also, in the meantime, it’s a really short-term thing. Because after a while it causes lots of frustration and burnouts.

This is why I would say that the CEO (or any other manager) has to change his/her mentality and focus not only on business’ metrics but also on employees’ lives.

Someone has to do it anyway

Yeah, but some things need to be done and no-one (business partners, customers, investors) cares about our life. Yeah, sure. I agree. That’s why it’s so important to organize the work in the best possible way. Because if we won’t, we will have lots of delays. And lots of problems because of that.

Ok, so let’s talk about them.

Delays

There are three reasons why delays happen:

  • Bad time management
  • Bad task/project prioritization
  • Doing something else instead of working

Bad time management often means bad estimations, or that we’ve planned too many things for a specific day or time period. This is why it is so important to split the projects for as smallest tasks as possible. And also, this is why if we have 8 hours a day, we need to plan tasks that cover these 8 hours. No more than that. I would even say that not 8 hours, but less number of hours (6 or 7).

Bad task/project prioritization means that we think we can’t reschedule less important things for later. Or completely remove them if they are not so important. So many of us cannot understand that if some specific task has been rescheduled 10 times already, maybe it’s not so important as we think and we may simply forget about it and remove it from our to-do list.

Doing something else instead of working is something that most of us do at work. Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, chatting with others, playing on PlayStation or some other Xbox, naps etc. Yeah, on the one hand: relaxing. On the other hand: something that takes our time. Something that causes that some task does not take us 30 minutes to get done, but takes us 45 minutes. And the other task takes an hour and a half instead of an hour. And the other task… you know what I mean. If you sum up all of these, it will give you 9 hours, not 8. And that means that you need to stay at work for one more hour, instead of spending this hour on living a life.

It’s fun to have such fun stuff at work and use it

Yeah, fun. If you like to spend more time at work than you need to. And if you prefer to spend time at work, instead of living a life.

8 hours a day is a huge number of hours. A ton of work may be done in 8 hours. But you need to spend that time wisely and work as hard as you can by that time. And after work – you may do whatever makes you happy.

And thanks to all of that everyone will be happy. You, your family, your friends, your colleagues, your boss, even your dog because you will have more time to go for a walk with it.

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