March 25, 2013


What is your daily schedule? My typical work day (when I'm not in an airport, car or conference center far, far away), goes a little like this:
7:00a   Wake up
7:30a   Make coffee and take dog out
8:00a   Excavate inbox from weekend e-mails
8:30a   Begin to-dos for the day
11:30a  Take a 10-15min break. Make tea. Stretch. Watch animal videos.
12:30p  Lunch + take dog out 
1:15p    Long-term projects, conference calls, read reports, etc.
5:30p  Say I'm done working
6:00p  Actually done working.  Head outside or to the gym.
7:30p   Dinner
8:30p  Answer more e-mails and complain about everyone working late
10:00p Read, blog, watch TV
11:00p  Bedtime

Even at a glance, you can see that work days like this easily add up to over 40 hours a week. I've written before about how hard it is to put down the phone and close the laptop, but this schedule is generally what it takes to get everything done. (I am loath to ever fall behind.) At this point, I think we all realize that there is a point of diminishing returns. Many countries, including the top six most productive countries in the world, outlaw working over 48 hours a week. Australia prohibits work weeks over 35 hours!

So why do Americans keep working so much? Is it our Puritan-derived work ethic? Manifest destiny? Nah. I think it is peer pressure, plain and simple. "Everyone else is still working, so I guess I will too." While I continually try to buck this trend, more often than not, I fall right back into the same workaholic schedule.

However, my goal of finding sanity with a paycheck is resolute and I am always on the lookout for more efficient and effective ways to adjust the work day. I also want to set a good example for others when it comes to prioritizing work-life balance and finding success. So, I am not willing to give up yet.

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