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Balancing A Workaholic Schedule

Filed Under Human Factors

Balanced Rocks

When I blogged about Work Tunnel Vision, a friend of mine promptly called me a hypocrite. Well…this is true from one perspective.

I have to defend my workaholism by saying that it’s anatomy does not resemble other peoples’ workaholic schedules. For example, a normal workaholic schedule looks something like this:

7 AM – 8 AM : Wake up get ready for work
8 AM – 7 PM : Work (with possibly a small lunch break)
7 PM – 8 PM : Dinner with the family and perhaps a second of TV
8 PM – 12 PM : Back at work or laptop is on

This type of schedule is ultra-lame. You are spending too much time focused on one company (or one stream of revenue), and you are not fully engaged with your family while you are there.

Although I do work a lot, I do have a few ground rules that I must live by:

  1. 5-6 hours of sleep is necessary for me to be productive the next day
  2. The hours of 5 PM – 9 PM are dedicated to my family
  3. I will only work a maximum of 8 hours a day on any one revenue stream
  4. I will dedicate 3 lunch hours a week to physical activity or the gym
  5. I will spend at least 1 hour a day learning something new
  6. Only an average of 1 hour of TV a day (if that)

These rules and regulations are what allow me to be more balanced in my workaholic schedule. I admit – I love working – but I also have to be sure and stay balanced about it.

Probably the least obvious one of these rules is the one about only working 8 hours a day on one revenue stream. There are exceptions, but this one is huge.

Think about it – even in the most rewarding of companies lets say that you put in 80 hours a week. Your base salary is 75k a year, but your efforts get you an additional 50k a year in bonuses for a cool 125k a year. You are losing money! Just go and get another 75k a year job and work that if you are going to hold down the equivalent of 2 full time jobs!

Furthermore, in the above scenario you are doing nothing to make Passive Income. In order to make “real” chunks of change, you have to create opportunities for yourself to make money. As developers these opportunities are endless! Here are just some ideas:

  • Blogs that are monetized
  • Affiliate programs and websites
  • eBay stores
  • eCommerce stores that use drop-shipping
  • Becoming a part-time PPC/SEO consultant
  • Selling online training material about your hobby (for example, let’s say you are also a dog trainer)

There are tons of possibilities on the internet to make cash without trading your time at a ratio 1:1.

So what does my schedule look like? (lets use my non-morning schedule):

7 AM – 8 AM : Wake up, get ready for work, read RSS feeds while eating
8 AM – 11 PM : Work
11 PM – 12 PM : Gym
1 PM – 5 PM : Work
5 PM – 9 PM : Family (make dinner, visit, take dog for walk, *maybe* watch a TV show)
9 PM – 11 PM : Work on internet marketing adventures
11 PM – 12 AM : Blog(s) writing
12 AM – 1 AM : Read a book or more RSS

The most important aspect about this schedule is that if I decide to call the day quits at 9 PM – I can. I have no obligation to work on side businesses, nor do I have to sacrifice time from my family.

Trying to understand the 8-5 mentality is hard for a lot of people, but hopefully this breakdown of my schedule shows that you can be a workaholic, not be apathetic, spend more time with your family, and be wealthier all at the same time.

To your success!

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9 Responses to “Balancing A Workaholic Schedule”

  1. Russell Ball on March 14th, 2008 10:54 am

    Excellent post!

    My schedule pretty closely resembles yours minus all the internet marketing adventures. I sometimes feel guilty that I am a strict 40 hrs a week at my normal job when others here put in 60-70 hours. While I sometimes wonder if my choices are optimal for my current job, I am positive that I am doing the right thing for my career

    I’m also a huge fan of going to the gym at lunch 2-3 times a week. I’m way more refreshed in the afternoon and it frees up the evening hours to spend more time with my family.

  2. Jason Gibb on March 14th, 2008 11:46 am

    I’m curious how many people out there survive on only 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Sure, I can go a two or three nights in a row with less than 8 hours, but after that my performance (concentration, creativity, etc.) really starts to drop off. Not to mention potential long-term health consequences of persistent sleep deprivation.

    Are folks like yourself just wired to function with less sleep than the rest of us, have you developed coping mechanisms, or do you just catch up every weekend by sleeping 15 hours straight?

  3. Max Pool on March 14th, 2008 11:51 am

    @Jason –

    LOL, like you 5-6 hours a night only lasts 4 days max. After that I need a solid 8-9 to catch up.

    Normally (just out of habit) I run 2 on and 1 off, and this is actually because of nights that my favorite TV shows are on.

    Monday – Late night
    Tuesday – Late night
    Wednesday – Early to bed
    Thursday – Late night
    Friday – Date night with the wife!
    Saturday – Whatever I feel like
    Sunday – Late night

  4. Pool Supplies » Blog Archive » Balancing A Workaholic Schedule on March 14th, 2008 12:00 pm

    […] the rest of this great post here   […]

  5. John Torjo on March 14th, 2008 7:38 pm

    Work and social life can become harder and harder to tell apart. It’s important to know what you need to accomplish in a week, and once you’re done, you’re done.

    This also implies formalizing some of the work that you take for granted. For instance, I have a weekly task called “have 1-2 blog posts/week”. Once done, I simply check it, and see what’s left.


  6. Jurgen Appelo on March 17th, 2008 1:40 am

    Max, don’t let the boss see your schedule. Unless you get paid 7 hours each day, it seems you’re missing one hour.

    On the whole I agree on having a schedule. It also makes planning much easier, since you know in advance how much time you will have to complete some activity.

  7. 5×1llz - Link’d Up: on March 18th, 2008 12:53 am

    […] Balancing A Workaholic Schedule […]

  8. The Case Against Overtime | Caffeinated Coder on April 8th, 2008 10:34 pm

    […] salaried employee and your are concerned with maximizing your personal income, then you should read this post by Max Pool where he points out that you are almost always financially better off to focus your […]

  9. Marcus eklund on October 10th, 2008 5:00 pm

    I would be happy if i could get up at 7 am and be at work at 8 am, but sadly i have to commute to work and have to get up at 5:45 am.

    1 hour to work commuting and 1 hour to home commuting.
    Of course, i use those hours reading Code Complete 2 or other fun books but still.

    When i get home, i eat then sit down once again at the computer, surfing the net, reading a lot of blogs and now and then coding.

    Want to get more time over for Gym or similar but not much time available.

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