Should We Work 30 Hours a Week?

OK, let me get this out of the way – this was not inspired by the 4-Hour Workweek and my intent is not the same as the book’s.

It’s an idea I’ve been noodling after talking with a former workaholic entrepreneur, who said he used to put in 100 hours a week while his company was growing rapidly. After his first child was born, he started noticing how much he worked and how much of that time was doing things that weren’t important for his business.

So he dedicated himself to being more effective at work, focusing only on those things that moved him closer to his goals and objectives. In one sense, he found an incentive to work smarter, not harder.

And it got me thinking…

What if we changed our paradigm of work hours, not for the purpose of leading a “balanced” life but for the purpose of productivity?

What if we set the same goals in our businesses or jobs, and challenged ourselves to achieve them in only 30 hours a week (or any number that is significantly lower than what we work today)?

Would it make us more productive? Would we be more focused during those hours? Would we be more effective?

If you’re like most ambitious professionals, you probably strive for efficiency and productivity. You seek out tricks and strategies by using personal organizers, experimenting with mobile apps, and asking others what works for them. Some things work, some things don’t.

But suffice it to say that we rarely fully adopt something and make it systematic. As they say, it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks.

So why not just force ourselves into being more productive by simply changing the rules? Why not change the work hours without changing the expectations?


  1. Mike Maddaloni - @thehotiron

    Something like this can work, but it would be best if it was applied to a whole team rather than to a solopreneur. This way, everyone is on the same page, and there is a peer system supporting each other as well as helping to analyze what really should be done. When it’s just one person, it’s hard to do.


  2. Tim Padgett

    I think it’s a valid experiment. I would also like to recommend the book, The Power of an Hour by Dave Lakhani. It’s really a good read for those who want to achieve “fearsome focus.” What’s the old saying, “Work like it’s the day before vacation and see how much you get done.”

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