Success, Priorities and Breaking The Rules
I went into this week carrying some good momentum from last week. For the most part, I kept the good momentum going…until Wednesday.
I knew there was a chance I’d slip up this week, but it didn’t happen the way I expected it to.
One of the best parts about doing a monthly experiment is that you always learn something about yourself along the way. The best thing I’ve learned after two weeks without working late is that being a workaholic is optional, not mandatory.
I used to believe that working long hours was a mandatory part of being an entrepreneur. To run a company, you have to work all the time, right? Apparently not.
Monday and Tuesday were incredibly productive days. I got a ton of work done, bid on a pair of nice projects and kept my inbox under control. I found myself feeling stronger every day. Every time I quit working at 5:00, it felt easier.
Then came Wednesday.
Breaking The Rules
This week wasn’t a normal week. I soft-launched a new product after months of intense work. I should have been pulling all-nighters, stressing about last-minute details, but I wasn’t.
When I planned the rules of this experiment, I didn’t know how I’d make it through my product launch. I expected the launch to ruin this experiment, or the experiment to ruin the launch. Neither of those things happened. I boxed my time, planned ahead, busted my ass, and the launch just sort of happened.
So, why did I break the rules?
How did I slip up?
I got a call Wednesday afternoon from one of my business partners. He wanted to go over some details about a project we’re working on together. It was 4:45 and I was supposed to quit working at 5:00.
I knew it would be better for everyone if we finalized these details before the end of the day. I also knew it would probably mean me breaking my 5:00 rule.
To be honest, I had mixed feelings at the time. I knew I wasn’t going to let my team down, but I also resented that I’d have to mess up my streak.
We wrapped things up at 5:30.
A tiny part of me felt like I was cheating myself by choosing to break my rule. Still, I would have felt much worse if I let my rule make things harder for my business partner. It wasn’t a hard decision.
The point of monthly experiments is to make life better, not to simply adhere to a rigid set of rules.
The Stop Working Late experiment has already had a huge positive impact on my life. I plan to keep it going long after this experiment officially ends.
This experiment isn’t just about quitting work at 5:00. The time itself is arbitrary.
The point of this experiment is to get my priorities back in order. It’s about spending quality time with my family, instead of being a workaholic.
I’m looking forward to finding my groove next week and boosting my productivity. I’ll let you know how it goes.
How About You?
I’m very interested to learn about your work hours.
What time do you stop working?
Do you use an enforced end-time?
photo by Earls37a