Work Smarter, Not Harder: Defeating the 60 Hour Work Week

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Defeating the 60 Hour Work Week

It's no secret that when you work for a startup you're wearing all kinds of hats and your typical work week is closer to 60 hours than 40. You have to be a certain type of person to enjoy and thrive working for a startup.

Let's be real though, most of us who enjoy startup life also like dropping the number of hours that we work. It's an obnoxious habit yet people still use it as a barometer for success. It's a mathematical truth:  Work = Force x Distance or in this case Work = Force x Time (I’m taking some liberties but you get the idea – Thanks Newton!). In Kanye terms, success is the best revenge.

Does that make it right? Is it healthy? Probably not.

I get it, sometimes it’s hard not to think about work even after leaving the office. I’m one of the biggest offenders of always being “on,” but giving yourself a chance to breathe will do far more for your productivity than you think. For the entrepreneur and startup go getter, this is all easier said than done. Here are some tips to help you disconnect and avoid startup burnout:


Once you leave the office. Leave the office.

Every now and then bringing work home at the end of an already long day is a necessity. But as a general rule of thumb, once you leave the office, leave the office. Focus on spending time with your family or friends; getting in that needed workout ; kick back and relax. You’ll be a much happier person for it (trust me) and that will carry over into your work day.

Stop checking your email at night.

Unless you know someone is waiting to hear back from you or you’re on deadline (in which case you probably should have stayed at the office), stop checking your emails at 11:30 pm. It may seem harmless to pick up your phone and take a gander at your inbox but it’s just as easy to get sucked into the rabbit hole of “just one more email to send.” Those emails will still be in your inbox in the morning, it can wait.

Book your evenings.

What better way to call it a day than having to get to an appointment. Scheduling things after work is probably one of the easiest hacks to get yourself out of the office. Dinner with a friend. Getting your hair done. Yoga. Spin class. We hustle to make it to meetings on time, why not hustle to catch that happy hour you’ve been meaning to go to.

Put it on your calendar.  

If you’re anything like me you live by your calendar. Meetings, appointments, brainstorms, events, lunches – you schedule your entire work day so why not schedule in some downtime? No, really. Put it on your calendar. It’s easy to say tonight is a netflix and chill night but there’s an unspoken power to writing something down and setting it in stone.

Use your vacation days.

I’m sure your direct supervisor would love to have you in the office all day every day but you get vacation days for a reason. Use them. It’s easy to get wrapped in projects that a few days off seems like the worst ideaver. If you plan your work accordingly, things won’t fall apart if you want to spend a day or two sipping Mai Tai’s at the beach.


Startups will always require more elbow grease than your normal 9 to 5, but working TOO hard can lead to diminished creativity, lack of motivation, and irritability – and no one wants to work with someone like that. Take it from Scrooge McDuck: work smarter, not harder. It's all about creating a healthy work-life balance and sometimes your best ideas happen when you’re not thinking about them.

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