How many hours a week do you work?

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How many hours a week do you work? Probably more than you would like and more than you should:

A recent Gallup poll found that the average full-time employee in the US works a 47-hour week, nearly a full workday longer than the standard nine-to-five schedule. Moreover, nearly one in five workers (18%) reports working 60 hours or more per week. [cite]

I’m pretty sure attorneys work even longer hours.

The question is, are longer hours worth it? Are you getting more done? Earning more income? And, considering your health, your family, and your overall quality of life, is it really worth it?

That’s for you to decide, of course, but there is a point of diminishing returns:

A Stanford University study found that employee output declines sharply after 50 hours per week and nosedives after 56 hours to the point where someone who puts in 70 hours doesn’t produce anything more with those additional 14 hours. Similar studies have linked long hours with absenteeism, long-term memory loss and impaired decision-making skills.

If you work for a firm and you are competing with others to make partner, if your employment contract demands a minimum number of billable hours, you may have little choice, at least in your current job. But if you’re self-employed, you have options and you may want to explore them.

You may find, as I did when I cut my work week, that you are more focused, more productive, and earn more income. The question is, how low can you go?

If you earn more (and are happier) working forty hours instead of fifty, will you earn more still if you cut your work week to thirty hours? How about twenty?

Is the four-hour work week possible for a professional?

It might be fun to find out.

The key to earning more and working less is leverage

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