How To Be Productive And Happy, Vol. 1 of 3

Last week I decided to work 65 hours instead of my usual 45-50 to get some back-logged stuff done. A 65 hour week is 12 hours each day Mon through Fri, plus 5 hours on the weekend. I suspected my happiness would suffer as a result and I was right. Here's what I noticed from this experiment 1. In order to make this happen, I had to forgo the things that I've structured into my life that help me feel happy. I didn't go to Jiu Jitsu all week, and didn't do my morning yoga. And I didn't go over my goals every morning like I do when I'm on my normal routine. I skipped all this because I decided that the most important thing to keep me sane during a 65-hour work week is enough sleep. So last week I worked from 8 - 8, got home, ate dinner, relaxed a bit, went to bed around 11, slept 8 hours, woke up at 7, took a shower, ate breakfast, and headed to the office.

2. I found that I actually did get a lot of the stuff done that had been on my to-do list for a long time. I finished a patent application, shipped the latest version of Kindara, got a bunch of documents to my immigration lawyer, finished our investment deck, had a bunch of investor conversations, and kept my inbox empty. Each day before I got to the office I made sure I had one or two things in mind to complete that day, and I successfully got them done.

3. After a week of missing my morning routine, I feel less happy and generally uncentered. It's fun to watch my mood evolve (devolve) as I skip exercise and yoga and replace them with more hours at the office. It's nice to know that once I add these things back in, I'll feel happy again. Knowing this infrastructure is available to me whenever I choose, makes it much easier to take a week and run myself ragged.

4. Running my brain 12 hours a day puts me in a different mental state. I find it much harder to shut my brain off, and find that I wake up in the morning thinking about work, and problems we are currently trying to solve. My brain has been "ON" whenever I've been awake for the last week and this doesn't feel healthy or productive. It's more a side effect of working 12 hours per day.

So that's what I noticed this week. I consciously stole temporarily from my happiness in order to temporarily increase my productivity. I did indeed get more done, and I did indeed feel less happy and less excited by life. It was a fun experiment and I'm going to do it again this week since there are still some things I want to eliminate from my backlog. I'll write again next Sunday about how it went. I suspect 2 weeks of this is about all I'll be able to do before my mood starts to negatively affect my productivity.

Inner GameWill Sacks