Balance Success

Quiet Quitting | Work-Life Balance | The 40 Hour Work Week

Have you heard of the book “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss? This book was a huge deal a few years back (I remember checking it out in Borders Bookstore …. remember Borders?)… anyway, I digress.

Tim painted a picture of a working week of 4 hours in duration, underpinned by mass outsourcing of activity to others, to achieve productivity and output which you could only otherwise dream of. This undoubtedly is working for Tim, but I’m not convinced that this can / will or should work for us all.

My vision is for a 40 Hour Work Week – at least as a starting point. For salaried professionals, to cap the work week at 40 hours might sometimes seem as much of a dream as does Tim’s 4 hour ideal. But in my mind 40 hours as a maximum is a good starting point.

How many of you are working 45, 50, 60 or more hours a week? Why?  What is the trade-off? Hope of a promotion, an award, a bonus?

And what are you missing out on? Your daughter’s ballet performance, your son’s football final (or vice versa)?

OK – here’s what I have found to be true:

There is always another crisis

There is always another deadline

There is never another today

You never know if today is the last opportunity for you to do something special with someone special

So you know what? 40 hours is enough – 42 in a crisis. I have set this as a limit for myself now for many years working both for a large multinational firm and being a solo consultant, and I have reached the heights I wanted to reach, and received the recognition I wanted to achieve. And I got to spend the time I wanted to spend with family and friends.

And guess what? I have never received a complaint!

Don’t let them fool you – the organisation doesn’t love you, and will get by without those extra hours, and you won’t regret it.

But time with your family, time for your health, time to do what really matters to you. That’s priceless.

So, the 4 hour work week is a nice aspiration, but the 40 hour work week, that’s a place we can all begin.


How I (almost) always succeed

I consider myself an optimist.

I always think things have a good chance of turning out great.

Things don’t always, or even usually, turn out as I may have imagined they would. But I almost always count myself successful. Why? Because experience is priceless. Experience is the stuff life is made of and honestly, it’s the only real way we learn things. If I am gaining experience, I am living life, learning skills and making memories.

“That’s not real success!” you might protest, “you’re just playing with words”. Look, in some respects you might have a point, and everyone has their own perspective on things – which is exactly my point!

My perspective is that

  • While there is life, there is hope
  • Where there are struggles, they will usually pass
  • Where there is failure, there are lessons learned and strength to be gained

One of my favourite mental health disciplines / methods is CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy). I’m no psychologist or expert on the topic, but I love the positive and optimistic discipline CBT can instil in one’s mind. If you tried something new – let’s say computer programming, and weren’t great at it first go, a negative mindset might say “I tried to write the program. It didn’t work. I failed. I’m not cut out for this.”

CBT encourages new thought patterns more like this: “I tried to write the program. It didn’t work. And that’s OK. I learned one way it doesn’t work, and I’m going to keep going and learning until I get it right”.

The first self-talk is limiting, and self-belittling. It closes off the door to further growth in that area and plants negativity in your subconscious, weakening your resilience. 

The second self-talk is positive, self-encouraging, reflecting positively on the experience and leaving the door open to further growth.

If you adopt the second attitude, I can pretty much promise you that two things will happen:

  1. You will encounter the doubters and naysayers who will try to pull you down and probably call you a dreamer, and
  2. You will grow and provide yourself with opportunities, experiences and positivity which is infectious, and which builds your resilience “muscles” so you can go on and try ever more interesting and challenging things.

So how do I (almost) always succeed? By

  • taking every opportunity I can
  • making the most of it
  • being grateful for the experience whatever the outcome, because experience is the stuff life is made of.