Your 3-Hour Life

A survey of 483 executives, managers, and professionals “found that 60% of those those who carry smartphones for work are connected to their jobs… for about 72 hours,” a week reports Harvard Business Review. Assuming those people do sleep for at least seven and a half hours “that leaves only three hours a day Monday-Friday for them to do everything else (e.g. chores, exercise, grocery shop, family time, shower, relax).”

That’s pretty disgusting. Even now, I often wonder how high-performers do “everything else.” When I was leaning in, a big feeling of deficiency was deciding how I was going to workout, spend quality time with Ryan, call my mother, have a social life, cook healthy meals, keep a household, let alone plan and participate in the experience economy that Generation Y uses to measure our success.

It’s pretty telling that the executives in the study don’t mind being so connected to their jobs, but do mind “when companies use 24-7 connectedness to compensate for organizational inefficiencies and when it significantly undermines their personal lives, productivity, creativity, and ability to think strategically.” Working 72 hours a week isn’t about providing value or doing great things or marking tasks off a to-do list, but about feeling important. Working 72 hours a week is about ego. And the saddest part is that these employees are trying to win a race that’s completely irrelevant, devoid of any meaning or real satisfaction.

There’s nothing wrong with working a lot, at times. It can be exhilarating and useful and fulfilling; I enjoy work, probably more than most people. But working at the exclusion of “everything else,” working so there are three hours left for life, is wrong. Wake up, and do it now: corporations don’t own you.

the notebook is a bunch of short items on my current obsessions.