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Play/life balance  

Greg Bayer:

Working for a startup usually means putting in more hours than others.  Recently, I spent two days on less than 3 hours of sleep in order to push out our new Pulse.me release.  This doesn't seem strange to me and didn't make me unhappy.  In fact, it was one of the most exciting and fun things I've done in a while.

Chasing after dreams is an essential part of my life.  The feeling of fulfillment I get from doing so makes me a much happier / more content person, and this in turn positively affects my relationships.

I've argued before that hours are not a measure of productivity, but that's not Greg's claim in this post. He's saying, quite rightly, that working on your startup is not work, it's play - and so, unlike working stupid hours on a job, working stupid hours on a startup is a blessing, not a curse.

I'm reminded of an old saying:

Why work for someone else from nine to five for a daily wage, when you can work twenty-four hours a day for yourself for free?

So which view is right? Neither, really. If you feel like working, work. If you feel like resting, rest. If you feel like playing, play. Working for yourself, chasing your own dreams, is worth pursuing with far more energy than the typical job - but life is what happens while you're busy working on your startup.

I'll finish with an observation: I feel most happy, most rested, and most productive when I have had a solid 8 hours of sleep, starting and ending at the same time each day. This plus a good task list has more effect on my productivity than anything else - other than, perhaps, the pressure of an immediate deadline. But that type of intense work under pressure usually has a cost the following days.

More from the library:
Guide to customer growth
How to choose a cofounder
Startups need a strong vision