January 13, 2010

I’m Working 12 Hours a Day. Here are 5 ways I’m Getting Through It.


I have reached the crux – the point between leaving my day job and starting my company full time. In order for the transition to be smooth, I have decided to jump into my business before I leave my company. This means that I am taking on clients and working several hours after work in the evenings to manage everything.

Unfortunately, it means sitting 11-12 hours a day in front of a computer. I am no stranger to hard work, and know exactly how to cope with this kind of situation. I am posting to share my advice on any of you that are in similar prediciments.

Firstly, I understand this is a purely temporary situation and that once I start my business I will spend less time in front of the PC and more time actually interacting with people. But for now, here is what I am doing:

  1. My diet has changed recently to a pure brain-food one. I have completely eliminated all unnatural foods and sugars from my diet for the time being, and primarily live on fresh vegetables and fruits. This means no coffee, no fast food and no processed food. I’m staying away from pretty much anything thats not directly from the ground. I am also taking several brain helper pills to increase the uptake of seratonin, improve concentration and memory and keep me feeling alert 24/7. I’m also on flax seed oil – nature’s highest source of Omega 3’s which are vital for brain function.
  2. I meditate daily. This calms me down and helps me focus. I use breathing techniques, and focus on being mindful and present. I sit in a quiet spot, close my eyes for 15 minutes and forget about the past or the future for a while. I direct my focus towards all the areas inside and part of my body, including my emotions and thoughts inside my head. All the while I take slow, deep belly breaths to stay relaxed.
  3. I take 2-3 minute breaks every 30 minutes, getting up to stretch and relax my eyes. I even do some Tai Chi moves now and then to zing my body up.
  4. I exercise whenever I can. Due to time restrictions, this usually means squeezing in a few laps in the pool during lunch, or doing 30 pushups next to my desk whenever I get the urge. This stimulates both my body and mind, and makes my brain much more alert from the influx of oxygen.
  5. I focus on the task at hand. This is key and I keep asking myself, what is the most important thing I can be doing right now? So whether its blogging or doing work for clients in the evenings, I make sure to stay away from Twitter and Facebook unless I have a business reason to do so.

I will let you guys know how I am progressing, but with these 5 steps that I ‘m taking I literally feel like I can do anything! What are some of your secrets for combating work overload?

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43 Comments

  1. Matt Hendrick January 13, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Right there with you. 2 side gigs + my startup = long days.

    My only addition to your list would be the camaraderie found through the shared experience with other entrepreneurs. Sometimes this lifestyle can seem pretty lonely, and it’s hard for your friends with “career” jobs to understand the daily ups and downs. A good support network of entrepreneurs who can relate to the grind is essential to keeping your peace of mind.

    @matthendrick

  2. Matt January 13, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    how do you measure your productivity? do you keep daily and/or weekly to-do lists?

  3. asd January 13, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    the article made me puke in my mouth a little bit

  4. hanban January 13, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    well that was an immature comment. go get a life asd.

    keep up the great posts start up ceo. this is your best one by far. youre very dedicated! look forward to more posts.

  5. Steve January 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    #1. Definitely ideal, even if you weren’t in the startup mode. I’m doing the same, but, can’t kick my coffee habit. OT: If you have a blender (1 bunch of kale, 2 bananas, 1 pear (or any sweet fruit)) Source: http://www.greensmoothierevolution.com/

    #2/4. Crucial!

    #5. Hard to do, but required if you want to be productive (and not work 16 hours a day).

    Great article.

  6. anon January 13, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    I’m interested in meditating to reduce work related stress. Can you share with us how you got into meditation, how we can too, and any tips?

  7. Jacky G January 13, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    What brain pills exactly? Care to share?

  8. tool January 13, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    yr clearly not working that hard if you are blogging.

    or at least you have defined work as something that its not

    if you include the time looking at porn online and watching TV, the average person is putting in 15hr days

  9. cak January 14, 2010 at 1:17 am

    Wow amazing, 12 hours a day. Well, I work 8-9 hours full time, then another 7 hours after work on my own company. The trick I use, I love both those jobs. What else would I be doing when I get home? Watching tv?

    Anyway, I mainly eat healthy, lots of brown rice, but I don’t think this has a big impact on anything. It is all about mental state of mind, and enjoying what you do helps immensely. Of course, I always put off the boring stuff, like tax, contracts until the weekend (where I work another 15-16 hour day).

    2. is rubbish, mental masturbation if you will. Sure, if it works for you, but you would most likely be fine without it. You can stick meditation with your crystals and homeopathic beer.

    Oh yeah, I have been doing this for about 14 months so far.

  10. Paul Stamatiou January 14, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Great post! In regards to “I am also taking several brain helper pills to increase the uptake of seratonin, improve concentration and memory and keep me feeling alert 24/7”, care to share what those are? The only daily pill I currently take is my one-a-day vitamin with “energy”.

  11. Justin Lilly January 14, 2010 at 6:19 am

    You do realize that coffee comes “straight from the ground”, right?

  12. Sachin January 14, 2010 at 6:47 am

    thanks for these great tips…

  13. Joseph January 14, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Do fruits and vegetables provide the body with enough energy?

    Great post!

  14. ceo January 14, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Absolutely! Fruits and vegetables provide sustained long term energy throughout the day – vital for what I’m doing. My “top 10” in no order is as follows:
    Bananas
    Apples
    Avocados
    Broccoli
    Carrots
    Spinach/Kale
    Oranges
    Grapes
    Onions
    Garlic

    All very affordable, and do wonders for your overall health.

  15. ceo January 14, 2010 at 8:48 am

    I was thinking that as I was typing it :)

    The problem is, I can’t have coffee without milk and sugar, meaning I make it much worse for me than it should be. Also, most coffee is roasted and altered in some way. But I really hate that post coffee low, thats my number one reason for avoiding it.

  16. ceo January 14, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Absolutely. I bought Patrick Holford’s amazing book, and to keep my brain in check I take a combination of the following 3 pills:

    Motivation – 500mg Tyrosine 2x daily
    Memory – B complex vitamins 50mg B5,
    1 TS lecithin granules w/ > 30% phosphatidyl choline
    Mood – 100mg 5-HTP 2x daily

    And I have been using Maca for a while for a great all-round natural superfood booster.

  17. ceo January 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Really impressive cak! I guess its working out for you then.

    My issue is that the first 8 hours of my day are spent doing a job I don’t actually like (hence I’m leaving). If I didn’t do those things, I would be totally exhausted at the end of the day.

  18. ceo January 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I don’t only enjoy blogging, but I want to help the community. I always try to set aside time for my blog, no matter how busy I am.

  19. ceo January 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Check my reply elsewhere in this post.

  20. ceo January 14, 2010 at 9:13 am

    With my goal always in mind, I always make lists and micro-lists of the tasks most important to stepping ever so closer towards that goal. Productivity is measured by how many ticks I can do for each work session. I will go into much more depth in a future post.

  21. ceo January 14, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Meditiation is a must-have technique for pretty much anyone. It has really helped me calm down, release stress and focus :) The site I first went to to start this whole zen thing was http://www.wildmind.org

  22. Luciano January 14, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Hi, very interesting body hacks, will be interesting to see how your body reacts on the long distance. Thanks for sharing anyway.
    You mention in the comment a Patrick Holford’s books. Which one exactly?

  23. jones January 14, 2010 at 9:26 am

    And the boring chores?

  24. ceo January 14, 2010 at 9:43 am

    “Optimum Nutrition” – the short version. Its very concise with everything I need.

  25. Gordon January 14, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I must commend you for taking the steps to moving into your own business, as this is your best asset.

    You are putting in loads of time that will payoff and guarantee success, just try not to burnout – beer helps!

    You might even look at getting someone on-board with similar interests to help-out & partner with. This will free up some time to focus on ‘The Business’

    Good luck with your endeavor.

  26. ceo January 14, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Thanks! I have a fairly good support base of potential clients and partners. If it comes to that point, I will definitely partner up with a like-minded individual.

  27. Marc January 14, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I’m trying something a little different – working 19 – 20 hours a day is blowing me out the water. I’ve tried to bring our finance person in as an extra set of eyes.

    Going to try and define the goals I want to achieve in a month and then have her sitting on top of the various metrics and measures to see where we are on target and where we are falling behind.

    I know I shouldn’t be working that many hours in a day but I also find myself being side-tracked by different (less important / core) things

    Will see how it goes

  28. ceo January 14, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    @ Marc: Its amazing how many people are totally bending backwards and overworking themselves. 19-20 hours is NOT healthy! You lose focus, lose energy and lose motivation fast. If you find yourself working that much, you know you’re doing something wrong and have to change somehow!

    Remember the point about focusing – its helped me immensely (with the aid of meditation). It cuts my time down, makes me produce quality work and it really helps clean out the clutter in my mind.

  29. Jane Williams January 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    This is a good idea…

  30. Mark Schonrock January 20, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Lol – I love the mid-day press-ups!! I think I should start doing those in the office, imagine the boost in energy you’d get, as well as the good laughs your colleuges would have at you while you were doing them!!

    Awesome post!!

    The only thing I would add is the importance of having a mechanism whereby you can relax and do the exactly what you want to do in order to “destress” in a way, whether it be sharing a meal with family and friends or doing some crazy new hobbie like kite surfing, it’s important to have something over and above work where you can just let-go and relax!!

  31. John August 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I often do 16 hour days for 3-4 months periods. No special diet just coffee and cigarettes.

  32. Mike August 10, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    John: You are one of the few that can actually do it! Well done – but unless its doing what you are truly passionate about you are throwing those hours away.

  33. Pepe Bonito April 6, 2011 at 12:20 am

    Maybe if you put more hrs in working and less on the boards you might work less hours? just and idea.

  34. Rosemary September 1, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Just to share a medical opinion – I’m an accountant and HR director that works 10-12 hr days five days a week and 6 to 8 hrs at the same job on Saturday and Sunday. My bp elevated to 175/105 and I had stroke symptoms. Fortunately, the stroke symptoms were complicated migraines – migraines – answer to a prayer compared to classic migraines – and the bp is controlled with increased dosage of Verapamil. In the words of the neurologist in the ER and hospital – we all have to do what we have to do – she works 6 days a week with 12 hour days. With the medicines we have available now, we have the means to perform demanding jobs.

  35. Pavlin June 24, 2014 at 12:38 am

    I work more than 12 hours a day and the last 4 months i do not feel well.

  36. Pavlin June 24, 2014 at 12:45 am

    today for the first time feel good

  37. Pavlin June 24, 2014 at 12:46 am

    without high speed:)

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