Henry Ford reduced the workweek at Ford Motors from 48 hours to 40 hours per week in 1914 because he believed that too many hours in a workweek were bad for employees’ productivity. I’ve had many leaders pride themselves on how many hours per week they work. “I worked 60 hours this past week.” And it is said as if they are disgruntled about it, yet somehow patting themselves on the back at the same time.
After working too many hours, uncompensated financially or with a pat on the back, early in my career, I learned to put my pen down at quitting time and walking away. If you work smarter, you don’t have to put in 60-80 hours weekly. This is even truer for leaders. Why are you working so many hours? If you have trained your employees to do the job, let them do it. If you haven’t, why not? Why are you holding on to tasks that you pay people to perform?
Balancing work life and home life is difficult at best. Reaching a balance is rare. However, if you are working well over 40 hours per week, you will never attain balance outside of work. Delegate what you can. Hire contractors if your staff is not large enough to take on the overload. If you disengage from work, spend time on activities with people you enjoy, and sleep enough, you will be a much more productive employee and effective leader. Follow Henry Ford’s lead. Don’t work more than 40 hours per week on a regular basis. Take care of yourself.