A recently Business Insider article praised 12 tech executives that “woke up early.” There is no harm in waking up early. In fact, I typically wake up around 5 a.m. myself. Some days I go for a run, other mornings I read and/or pray, and others I spend writing blog posts and reading my RSS feed. I also use that time before 8 a.m. to get a jump-start on the day. It’s a great time of the day to be highly productive and pursue personal interests.
The main problem I had with the article is it went on to tell of many executives that worked long days, and got very little sleep. It was though badges of honor were being thrown out to individuals that only slept 4 hours a night, ran their company like a tyrant, and neglected their family. One executive only mentions two hours a day allotted to his family.
Okay, that may have sounded harsh, and may have been a bit of a stretch for some of the executives mentioned, but there really are people out there that will work extremely long days at the expense of their own personal health, as well as their family.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer boasts of only sleeping 4 hours a night; I’m sorry, but 4 hours of sleep a night isn’t healthy (for anybody), and only spending two hours a day with your family is hardly a healthy family life. It’s no wonder so many marriages in this country fail.
I’m here to tell you that workaholism is not a badge of honor. You can build a company from scratch on a modest schedule (40ish hours a week), without neglecting your family and friends. Working 50-70 hour workweeks should never be the norm, no matter how much you love your job. When I started Bearded Brothers my normal workweek was 40 hours, sure there were times I worked more, but it was never the norm.
You need to not only take time for yourself to pursue personal interests, but you also have to make it a point to spend quality time in the relationships that matter most to you. I’ve even heard some people say that the work life balance is a myth and that you should always enjoy what you do, and it should all blend together. Well that too is a farce; because if all you do is work you will eventual burn out yourself and those around you.
I firmly believe that a man or woman should enjoy the work they do. They should be proud and excited to wake up in the morning and work on something they love and enjoy, but at the same time we need rest! For me that is pursuing personal interests such as running and rock climbing, and spending time with my family. My business started out of a love for the outdoors and having healthy snacks to eat while climbing. So it only makes sense to continue doing those things that sparked drive to start Bearded Brothers.