How Working Hard Can Reduce Your Income

The current culture of entrepreneurialism seems to worship working exceedingly hard.

And let’s be honest, there’s no doubt that working hard for long periods can aid business success.

But what I often see is a dark side to working hard that actually reduces the profits of the entrepreneur.

You of course already know the virtues of working hard, but here are 3 dangers that you should also consider:

1. Your Productivity Can Plummet

C. Northcote Parkinson came up with Parkinson’s Law, in my view one of the most important concepts of human effectiveness.

The law is as follows: ‘Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.’

Put in other words, if you work longer hours you often take longer to do things.

I have seen this again and again with business owners I coach.

They are immensely committed, working often 14 hours a day, sometimes 6 days a week. But if you look at their output it often is not much better than someone working 45 hours a week efficiently.

You need to put pressure on yourself to get tasks completed quickly. And working short hours is one of the most efficacious ways of doing that.

2. Your Brain Does Not Assimilate Information As Quickly

It is well known in neuro performance research circles that when you stop work and go home to rest and sleep, your brain uses your off time to organize files of data that have occurred during the day, and connect them with other pieces of data previously stored there. It then attempts to make meaning of the data collected to help you make decisions.

So if the amount of rest and sleep is limited in your life because you are working long hours, you can find that the quality of your thinking can be impeded. Your conclusions about important issues may not be as sound, your ideas may not be as plentiful.

3. Your Subconscious May Begin To Dislike You Working In Your Company

If you are feeling stressed about work because of incessant long hours your subconscious and semi-conscious mind can start having negative thoughts about being an entrepreneur. Yes you’ll still want to succeed, but there may be parts of you that wonder whether it’s all worth it. And as a result you can become less enthused by your company, and some say can even self-sabotage your success, so you are forced to work less hard.

I know that these 3 points are not commonly thought about, in this culture of ultra work.  But please consider them.

They may be unusual ways of thinking. But thinking unusually is at the heart of entrepreneurial success.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “How Working Hard Can Reduce Your Income

  1. Good article Simon and nice food for thought.

    You know it’s bad when you work late, then dream all night about work, then get up and do it all over again. Just the other night I literally dreamed about working – – on a computer screen – – doing the stuff I do all day. Felt like the dream lasted the entire night.

    When that happens, I know I’ve pushed myself too far.

  2. Great post Siimon! We see a lot of people in social media (and a few very notable ones!) that espouse the ‘work constantly’ mantra at the expense of everything else. And while I’m not afraid to work hard (and VERY hard at times) I am much more aware of not only how efficient I can be. I also take little breaks throughout the day to recharge. 🙂