WORK TO REST RATIO: WHY IT'S OUT OF WHACK

So don’t tell me that there’s something uniquely demanding about building yet another fucking startup that dwarfs the accomplishments of The Origin of Species or winning five championship rings. It’s bullshit. Extractive, counterproductive bullshit peddled by people who either need a narrative to explain their personal sacrifices and regrets or who are in a position to treat the lives and wellbeing of others like cannon fodder.
— David Heinemeier Hansson, Founder and CTO of Basecamp

David's article on the workaholism in start-ups got me thinking...

It is incredible how far we have come when you look at our technology, access to information (ah, sweet inter-webs), medicine, education (that one is potentially debatable), heck - the simple ability to set-up our own businesses. The entrepreneurial spirit has come leaps and bounds and is open to more people than ever before. What hasn't changed is the way that we think about our work lives. 

The expectation to work set hours (or the expectation that end of day is a goal - the last person left at their desk is the winner). Those hard working martyrs that fling emails about in the late or early hours are the ones that will grab that promotion/pay rise/prestige... After all, weren't they working away whilst you were socialising, or (gasp! Even worse) sleeping. 

Consider this though, just for a minute. Darwin. The man who wrote 19 books, (hello The Origin of Species potentially the single most famous book in the history of science) would start his day at 8am after his morning walk and breakfast. He would work a steady hour then read the morning mail. At 10:30am, once he was caught up he would get back into his work whilst moving around his house. At noon, he would declare that "I've done a good day's work" and set out on another long walk at his Down House. 

He would return, potter around and at 3pm it was time for a nap. An hour later, he would wake, time for another walk and then join his family for dinner. It was this routine that created his 19 books and changed the way that we look at the world. No small feat. Yet this work day would be considered by many to be a lazy and rather indulgent one. 

If we look at most famous athletes - David quotes Roger Federer and Lebron James with their scheduling and hours of sleep that they know that they need to get to be and to stay at the top of their game. The modern workplace promotes a mere 4 weeks leave (that is for those in lucky NZ - it's tougher elsewhere in the world!) and 2 days a week to recoup. 

Now, I wish that I was able to give 4 day weekends to all, alas this is a little too big even for me. What I can suggest is that we don't ignore our rest and relaxation. Don't feel guilt in taking time out or scheduling some you time. Not only will you avoid the risk of burning out but you will actually be more productive in your working day and a step closer to success!