Whether it’s a heavy workload, a close deadline, or a peak season in the business, many of us have worked above 40 hours a week to accomplish some important work within a set timeline for a temporary period.
However, there are others who swear by working 80+ hours a week, which is just double the general 40 hours workweek schedule!
Still, working 80 hours a week is not something that employees can easily commit to pursuing for a lifetime; it requires a lot of dedication, passion, discipline, and high ethics toward work.
Interestingly, people who support this extreme 80 hour work week have gained tremendous success in their careers. Nonetheless, working twice the general work hours has various downsides as well.
So, keep reading this blog to know how you can complete 80 work hours within a week and whether or not this work culture is worth pursuing.
What Is an 80 Hour Work Week?
An 80-hour work week refers to working for a total of 80 hours in a week.
Here are a few ways through which an 80 hour work week can be achieved-
- By working 16 hours a day five days a week, usually from Monday to Friday.
- By working almost 13+ hours for six days a week.
- By working 11+ hours all seven days of the week (if ready to work for all days of the week)
The 11+ hours a day are still manageable, achievable, and easy to do; however, it has the drawback of losing leisure time on weekends. On the contrary, working above 13 hours for 5-6 days a week can be too tiring, but you get the benefit of a weekend off.
To better understand this, check these samples through which you can achieve 80 hour work week.
Looks pretty grueling. Isn’t it?
But there are several successful professionals who swear by this schedule. Discover about them in the next section.
Famous People Who Work 80+ Hours a Week
The business magnate, CEO & chief engineer of SpaceX and owner & CEO of Twitter, is known for working 80+ hours a week.
Elon Musk had once tweeted about working 80 to 100 hours per week: “There are easier places to work, but nobody changed the world on 40 hour workweek ”“Work like hell. I mean, you just have to put in 80 to 100-hour weeks every week. This improves the odds of success.”
Musk believes that by working double of what others are doing, you’ll get twice as much, and you will be able to achieve your goal in a shorter time span.
The former CEO of PepsiCo and now the Supervisory Board Member at Phillips, Indra Nooyi is renowned for her passion and dedication to work. She works for 18 to 20 hours a day.
Her routine includes sleeping meagerly for 4 hours every night and waking up on the dot at 4 AM every morning. Her entire routine revolves around work that extends till midnight.
Bezos is known for punctuality and organizing his work routine effectively. The founder of Blue Origin and executive chairman of Amazon, Bezos, used to work up to 12 hours seven days a week at Amazon. However, he also insists on taking 8 hours of sleep every night as it helps in staying productive and making informed decisions.
One of the earliest employees of Google, former CEO of Yahoo, and co-founder of Sunshine Contacts, Mayer had once revealed that she used to work 130-hr per week when she was working at Google.
Elaborating on the same in her answer to a reporter, she had mentioned that it’s possible “if you’re strategic about when you sleep, when you shower, and how often you go to the bathroom”.
In addition, a former Yahoo director cites her as the hardest-working CEO in silicon valley.
Sample Daily Routine for an 80 Hour Work Week
If you work 80 hours each week, then you will be left with a total of 88 hours per week for other non-work related activities. Thus, you need to organize your entire day after thorough analysis and meticulous planning.
You can break down your entire day into small chunks of time in the calendar and create a schedule as per the priority levels. For instance, you will be working on priority, ad-hoc, and shallow tasks for about 13-16 hours on a daily basis. Consider allocating these tasks to different time chunks as per their priority, urgency, and productivity levels.
For example, if you’re a morning person who feels more productive at the start of the day, consider scheduling tasks that require cognitive thinking or creativity during the early part of the day. You can allot shallow and administrative tasks that require minimum attention when you feel less productive such as during noon time or after lunch.
Here is a basic sample of an 80 hour work week schedule. The below example breaks down the entire day into 12 hours of work so that people can reach their goal of an 80 hour work week by the end of the week.
Tips to Work in an 80 Hour Work Week Schedule
Create a Calendar for Each Day in Advance
One of the best ways to stay organized is to create a schedule for the day beforehand. Note down all the tasks that need to be done. This can include appointments, chores, side hustles (if any), office tasks, exercise, bedtime, time with friends and family, eating time, etc.
Create a timeline for each task so that you can work on all the activities without missing any of them. Especially during busy days, you’re more likely to derail from your main work due to ad-hoc tasks and meetings. That’s why having a calendar with time allotted for all the work will help you stay on track.
Besides, having a concrete schedule ensures that you have enough time outside work to maintain your work-life balance.
Plan Time to Sleep and Relax
When you work 80+ hours a week, you’re likely to take inadequate rest due to excess work. However, it’s crucial that you take at least 7 hours of slumber every day, as it’ll help you feel well-rested and productive for the following day.
Taking inadequate rest on a daily basis can result in several health problems among employees. As cited in a study, lack of sleep for a longer duration can lead to several medical conditions, including obesity, and diabetes.
Besides, not taking enough rest can backfire on your productivity and efficiency. That’s because inadequate sleep impacts the quality of work and hampers your ability to function. That’s why you should make a strict rule of sleeping at least 7 hours daily.
Tip: As a part of your night routine, you can try some unwinding activities before you go to bed that can help you fall asleep easily, such as having a warm glass of milk, listening to some soothing music, journaling, reading a book, etc.
Pick This Schedule for a Short Term Goal or Period
Opt for the 80 hour work week schedule only for a brief period of time to enjoy its benefits as it’s not possible to sustain it for a long time for all types of work. For instance,
- if you’re working on a project that may take a few months to complete
- if you’re starting a new business and you need to put in some effort to set it up
- If you’re working two jobs to earn extra income
- if you’re looking forward to retiring early
This long-hour workweek can be a good choice in such scenarios.
On the other hand, if you’re thinking of working in this culture for the long term, it’s crucial that you love what you do as well as have an organized routine to stay healthy.
Take Advantage of the Commute Time
People who commute daily to the office can utilize this time to recharge and refresh themselves. They can listen to their favorite music, podcasts, or meditation that can help them relax as they reach home/ work.
It’s advised to take a walk home instead of taking a ride if you’re not pressed for time and don’t live that far away from your workplace. It has been observed that walking helps reduce stress and improves cognition and mood. This walk will compensate for the workout or exercise that you couldn’t do that day.
Tip: You can also decide on one particular day of the week when you will take a walk instead of a ride.
Take Ample Breaks
Breaks are imperative to refresh and recharge yourself amid the hectic work routine. After taking a break, employees can focus on their work in a better way, enabling them to accomplish their tasks more efficiently with minimal chances of errors.
A break is all about disconnecting from work for a short period of time. It helps rejuvenate energy and restore productivity & creativity. You can take breaks in the form of
- Having a coffee break
- Taking a nap
- Chatting with buddies
- Having healthy snacks
- Listening to music
- Or, simply taking a step away from your work desk
Remember: If you have to work for 80 hours a week, you can’t work continuously. You will need more frequent breaks than the general schedule to charge your batteries.
- You can add breaks at some intervals to your calendar or use a digital app that will remind you to take a break.
- You can also use the Pomodoro technique which involves taking 5-minute breaks after every 25 minutes of deep-focus work.
Focus on Maintaining Good Physical Health
When you’re working 80 hours a week and are dedicated to your job, then there are chances that your health may take a back seat. That’s why it’s important to monitor and maintain daily eating habits, sleep schedule, and exercise routine, despite how busy your routine is.
- Ensure you don’t skip meals and take it on time.
- Make a fixed schedule for lunch, dinner, and breakfast
- Instead of munching on unhealthy snacks, you can keep low-carb snacks like nuts, berries and seeds handy, as they will help you feel satiated and beat mid-meal cravings.
- Avoid having caffeinated drinks a few hours before you go to bed, as you may find it difficult to fall asleep.
- Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day and drink plenty of water.
- Incorporate exercise, yoga, or going to the gym into your routine as a mandatory activity.
Ensure to Spend Enough Time With Loved Ones
In a job schedule that requires you to work 12-16 hours per day, there’s a probability that your job may start stealing time from your family and friends. But always remember that your family is more important than your work/job.
Whether it takes a phone call to stay connected with family or making a routine of having dinner together, do ensure that you spend at least some time with your family on a daily basis.
Also, if you’re following the 80 hours workweek for some period of time, let them know why it’s important and find out the ways to spend more time together once in a while.
Note: There are some jobs that require employees to work for extended hours for a few days of a week. In such cases, opting for alternative schedules such as 4/10 can be a better choice over the 80 hour workweek culture.
Reward Yourself for Completing Milestones
Celebrating small successes or milestones helps you stay motivated and gives a feeling of accomplishment. You can set milestones in the long projects and give yourself a small reward once these milestones are achieved.
You can give yourself a mini-treat by going to a favorite restaurant for dinner or buying something that has been in your cart for a long time.
Note: Make sure that you’re intrinsically motivated when working an 80 hour work week, that is, you’re engaged in your work because you enjoy your work/job and get personal satisfaction from it.
Use Your Leisure Time Wisely
When you’re away from work, you should make use of your leisure time or “me-time” to the fullest. You can do activities that help you feel re-energized and recharged.
You can pursue your interest or hobby, whether it’s painting, listening to music, playing sports, playing with a pet, reading a book, exercising or spending quality time with family. Whatever activity you choose for your leisure time, make sure it helps you unwind completely.
Tip: You can allot a fixed duration to your calendar where you wouldn’t be taking any work requests; instead, you will use it as your leisure time only.
Assess Your Mental Health from Time to Time
You must check in with yourself at some intervals if the extended work hours are impacting your mental and physical health adversely.
You can assess by asking questions to yourself such as:
- How is your current mental state?
- Do you feel burnout or stressed?
- Do you feel overworked?
- Are you being productive in this long work-hours schedule?
- Is your work-life balance getting affected?
- Are you able to take adequate rest every day?
- Is your family facing any trouble with your busy routine?
Ask these questions, and if you find this schedule way too harmful, consider switching to a lesser hours work week schedule or ask your manager to delegate some of your work to other team members.
Reduce the Distractions
Distractions are inevitable and may pop up in the form of ad-hoc tasks, meetings, noisy workplace, or background notifications. These distractions can squander your time and thus reduce productivity.
As a solution, you can use distraction-blocking software and apps that temporarily block distracting applications from your system for a stipulated period, ensuring that you can attain a deep-focus state.
You can also use noise-canceling headphones to block out the background sound in a noisy workplace. Again, the motive for using these apps and tools is to tune out the distractions so that you can focus on your work.
Besides, if you work at home, make sure you have a dedicated space at home that mimic the environment of your office workspace.
Tip: You can also use the time-blocking method that divides the total time in small chunks so that each chunk can be dedicated to a specific task for effective work output.
Not everything needs to be done at once – repeat this mantra every day during your 80 hr work week. This means setting priorities to decide what’s urgent and important. In other words, you need to do important tasks first followed by medium priority stuff and finally low priority or shallow tasks. This will help you feel less overwhelmed throughout the day.
To get started, make a list of all tasks and divide them on the basis of their importance or any other parameter that makes sense to you as per the nature of your work and then rank the tasks before attempting to complete them.
How Productive Is an 80 Hour Work Week?
In today’s competitive work environment, it becomes a badge of honor for some organizations if their employees work for extended hours and put in more effort to stay on top of deliverables. Nonetheless, efficiency matters the most over the number of hours you’re putting in. Working for 3 hours on any task when you’re well-rested can yield better results than working for 3 hours when you’re tired, and sleepy.
It has been observed that productivity is greatest when working 40 or below hours a week, and until 55 hours a week, the productivity levels are acceptable. However, the productivity graph goes down as you extend the workweek hours to 70 and 80. This is the reason, many firms have switched to a 4-day work week and it has resulted in a 40% increase in productivity for them.
Moreover, according to a study published by Inc.com, an average person is productive only for 2 hours and 53 minutes in an 8-hour long workday, which means working 12-16 hours can further aggravate the situation.
However, if you know how to organize your work, commit to your work schedule, and adopt a healthy lifestyle, then you can easily stay productive in an 80 hour work week culture. Also, to work for such long hours, it’s necessary that you love what you do; otherwise, you may end up feeling burnout.
“Working 80 hours a week is more like a personal commitment and requires a high level of dedication, discipline, punctuality, and scheduling skills.”
80 Hour Work Week is Suitable For
Entrepreneurs, who are looking forward to growing their businesses and are willing to establish them in the market, can find this workweek culture useful. Usually, entrepreneurs need to put in more effort at the beginning stage, and they do what they are passionate about rather than doing monotonous 9-5 jobs, they can easily fit into this long work-hours schedule.
People with Side Hustles
Freelancers, and people who work part-time or two jobs at a time ethically, can find this 80-hour work week schedule more suitable. The long work hours allow them more time to do their work and help them get additional income apart from the regular remuneration. Side hustles help people generate multiple incomes from different sources.
Employees Working on a Short-Term Project
Sometimes, teams are required to work aggressively on a project that has a close deadline. To accomplish the project within the stipulated time frame, team members can work beyond 80 hours a week.
Whether it’s an entrepreneur, businessman, CEO of a company or a person with a side hustle, it’s essential to stay organized and resilient to work in this 80-hour work culture. They should be able to take on stress and pressure, as they may have closer deadlines for work and limited time for leisure activities.
Negative Consequences of 80 Hour Work Week
On an average, most employees work 8-hour shifts for five days a week, which helps them achieve 40 hours per week. However, working 80 hours a week is double of the standard workweek, which can have various negative consequences.
Physical Health Problems
Working extended hours every day can take a toll on your health. In fact, a study suggests that working more than 12 hours a day or exceeding 60 hours a week increases the risk of occupational injuries. Plus, long work hours have also been associated with a lack of attentiveness, fatigue, and exhaustion. Another WHO report reveals that working more than 55 hours a week increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Mental Health Problems
Working longer hours on a daily basis can work as a stressor and can lead to fatigue, burnout, and insomnia. In addition, according to a study from the National Library of Medicine, long hours work culture can result in increased anxiety and depression. Besides, extended work hours can cause sleep deprivation and may have a detrimental effect on the quality of sleep, as per the same report.
Poor Work-life Balance and Relationships with Family
Working for long hours leads to poor work-life balance and can contribute to family issues. When working 12 to 16 hours a day at the workplace and using the leftover time to sleep or run daily errands, you hardly have any leisure time left to spend with your family. Furthermore, working long hours has been associated with family conflicts and stress-related health problems, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association.
Caution to Take When Working an 80 Hour Work Week
- Make a schedule to exercise, sleep & eat and stick to it.
- Never compromise your sleep for the sake of earning more money, as it can backfire on your productivity, efficiency and health.
- Give yourself a well-deserved break from work after a certain duration. You’re likely to experience burnout when working in an extended work hours routine for a long period of time. Make sure you avail of proper time off to charge your batteries.
- Apprise your colleagues, stakeholders, and mates about your work timings and let them know when you will be reachable during this time so that work does not absorb your entire time, especially when you’re supposed to enjoy your leisure moments. Setting a clear boundary for a better work-life balance and minimum distractions is the key to working productively.
- Highly ambitious and perfectionist people may lose themselves in work without paying attention to what time it is. In spite of how passionate you’re about your job and work aggressively day in and day out, your body gets tired and requires rest at some intervals. So, do ensure to take a breather from time to time.
- Learn to say no. Sometimes people are overburdened with multiple tasks that are of low significance. It’s imperative to ascertain which task is of more significance and can contribute to the major goal. Learn to say no if you get any ad-hoc tasks that are of the least priority and don’t require attention at this point of time.
- Long hours of sitting can put you at high risk of metabolic syndrome. When working for a long period of time, make sure to move around at some intervals. You can move around by walking for a few minutes whenever possible, stretch your legs every hour or do some exercise for your back, neck, and eyes while sitting.
Should You Do an 80 Hour Week?
If you work 80 hours per week, it’s likely that you’re devoting 50% of your time to office work. From the 50% of the time left, you need to devote 29-30% of the time to adequate sleep and rest. Now, you’re left with 20% of the time that you need to pursue daily errands, eating, commuting, etc.
To put it simply, an 80-hour work week is doable for people; however, we recommend that this work culture should be used for a short-term goal or a limited period of time. We would not suggest it for a long period, due to the increased risk of potential health issues.
For instance, if you’re setting up your own business, or pursuing some side hustle for some time for an extra income, then this work culture is good to go. In addition, this work culture is also suitable if you have a sudden workload or get an urgent work request that needs to be entertained within a close timeline. In all such scenarios, you’re aware that this routine is for a short period of time and is not going to last forever.
But, still, if you have decided to opt for this work culture for a longer span, make sure you are resilient, organized, and can follow a healthy lifestyle. It is advised that you adopt healthy habits and routines so that this work culture does not affect your physical and mental health.
The 80 hour work week is working double the general work hours, which requires commitment, discipline, and dedication. This schedule is not meant for everyone, as it’s very exhausting and can do more harm than good if not planned carefully.
However, extended work hours can help you have an edge over others if you can manage your time effectively. You can use this work culture for a short period of time, such as completing a project, doing side hustles to earn extra income, or striving to set up your new business or startup.
In spite of the fact that you’re looking forward to working this shift for a long time, make sure you’re passionate about your work, know how to organize your work and personal life, and can embrace healthy habits. As a beginner, at first, you can follow this schedule for a month or so, and if you find this routine quite productive with the least harm to work-life balance, then you can embrace it for a longer duration.