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.