A successful entrepreneur shares her thoughts on business success and failure.

Changing Your Perspective About Work: The 2-Hour Work Day

I had a revelation today: I don’t really like working.

I suspect you’re grinning by now. If not, you should be. I bet you’re thinking: “This is a revelation? Seriously?”

Well, yes. No matter how much we love what we do, we have those days where we really don’t want to be there. It’s a beautiful day outside, and we’re sitting here in front of the computer. What are we doing? Why are we letting our lives waste away at work?

I decided I don’t want to do that anymore.

I just don’t want a job — any job — that requires 8 hours a day of work. In the beginning, or at all. Ever! I want to live my life powerfully…and I want to be free to do what I want, when I want to do it.

So I made a mind-blowing decision…off the cuff. I said out loud to the world, “I wonder what would happen if I said I was only going to work 2 hours a day…and I still had all the same goals?”

Now that is an interesting puzzle. What if I don’t change my goals at all…I just change my perspective on what it takes to get there?

Changing Your Perspective

If you only had 2 hours a day to get everything done that you needed to do, how quickly would you change your work life so that you could still meet all your goals? In my case, my goals are still to launch Inspiring Innovators, drive traffic to it, promote it, write this blog, and write an ebook. Between all of those, I want to make $10,000/month in income by the end of this year.

But now I’m adding a new twist to it: I’m going to do all of this…and only work 2 hours a day.

My New Work Schedule

It’s actually going to be about 2.5 hours, all told. Here’s how I’m going to break it down:

  • 15 minutes before I go to bed to create a to-do list for the next day. A refresher: My to-do list includes everything I plan to do for the day, either labeled “work” or “personal”, and an estimate on my behalf of how long it will take to do that item.
  • 15 minutes before I start working to quickly check email and add a few more items to the to-do list. No Twitter, blogs, or anything else during this time.
  • 2 hours, scheduled right now between 1-3PM (but free to change), to do actual work.

And that’s it. I have the rest of the day to exercise, read books, take up new hobbies, or go lounge around outside. Anything that comes in that night gets added to the next day’s to-do list before I go to bed.

Weekends are optional work days. I can choose to work my 2 hours (or not) as I see fit.

How would this sort of thinking change your life?

After you’ve read this, my challenge to you is to sit down and see what your work schedule would look like if you only worked 2 hours a day.

Here are a few instinctive ways I think my life will change:

  • I’ll get almost as much done as I do now.
  • I will feel much more sane.
  • I’ll realize what my “time sinks” are and be able to outsource and/or eliminate them.
  • I’ll discover what I really love to do, because those tasks won’t feel like work and won’t be an obligation. Then, I can make more time for those tasks.
  • I will quickly realize who I need to hire to keep my business running smoothly, instead of just guessing.

Overcoming “I can’t”

A year ago I would have said it was impossible to only work 2 hours a day. I was full-time running my web hosting company, buried under piles of work I thought I had to do myself. But that wasn’t the real issue. Lack of time, much like lack of money, is never the underlying issue. It’s a symptom of a deeper problem.

What was that problem in my case? Actually, a lot of it boiled down to ego. I was filled with feelings of “I have to do this all myself” and “I can’t trust anyone else to do a good job”. Also, I wasn’t charging my customers the rates I needed to charge them to reliably sustain my business and hire new employees. Simpli, as a business, was perpetually cash-poor.

I have learned from all of these mistakes. My current businesses, while having all the great elements of “me” that will make them shine, will have employees from the start. A key distinction will be my ability to let go. And, in order to be able to fully let go and get my ego out of the way, I must restrain myself to only working 2 hours a day.

If you run a business, are you running it…or is your ego?

If you’re not hiring other people, or if you make excuses like “We don’t have enough money to…”, stop. Nothing is worth snuffing out the light inside yourself. Nothing is worth more than treating your body and mind well. No business is worth killing yourself over.

If you could only work 2 hours a day, what would you do? That’s your genius. Outsource everything else.

Let it go, and watch your business flourish. How will your life change? How will you change? I want to hear your comments…just leave them here. Of course, I will post an update here as well so you can see my progress toward this new goal.

By the way, this is based loosely on Tim Ferriss’s book “The 4-Hour Work Week.” However, I’ve added my own twists to it.

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After selling my online business at age 26 for over $1 million, I created this blog to help you grow your own business quickly.

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