I recently read a fantastic book called rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier . It’s fun. It’s easy. It’s quick. I like this book because it throws ton of recommendations at the reader. You can pick and choose which recommendations you like, and which you don’t like.
The book makes some points that are spot on. As I’m going through the process of starting a company, many musings have crossed my mind. However, because I’m a busy bee, I haven’t taken the time to write these thoughts down. Luckily, many of my observations have already been recorded and developed by other people (Jason and David being some of them). As I read this book, I felt like I was reading I book that I could have written. It was a great experience.
There are many points in the book that run counter to what standard business schools would have you think. The whole book is actually pretty disruptive in its outlook. I thought I was the only guy who was shouting that the emperor is naked. Maybe I’m not so crazy after all.
In any event, one of the sections that I found especially valuable was about WORKAHOLICS. The premise of this subchapter is that people, especially us Americans, really like to overwork themselves. Workaholism has become a badge of pride. We wrongly assume the harder you work the more you will succeed. Jason and David tear apart this philosophy.
Working night and day doesn’t get the job done. All it does is create irritable and inefficient workers who stop thinking about how to efficiently tackle the problem. The authors write,
If all you do is work, you’re unlikely to have sound judgments… you stop being able to decide what’s worth extra effort and what’s not… workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up.
I could not agree more with this simple thought. In order to be an entrepreneur, you need to know how to be smart with your time. This is not an excuse for entrepreneurs to be lazy. Starting a company is an incredibly rigorous and intense affair. But it exactly, because of the intense nature of the entrepreneurial pursuit that being a workaholic is especially dangerous. Working 24/7 will wear you down and make you ineffective.
I’ve seen people who spend hours and hours slaving away at tasks that are unimportant. These folks might even give a disparaging look at an entrepreneur who goes home at a reasonable hour. I feel emboldened by this book’s outlook.
In the end, it’s the results that matter, not the hours put in.