The Real Secret To A 2-Hour Work Day

I recently attended a network event as a panelist on the subject of social media. Before the panel discussion part of the evening began, a group of about one hundred attendees who work in PR and/or own a business, were mixing and mingling in the pre-show drinks and nibbles party.

I was standing in a circle talking to a group of people, all involved in running their own businesses. As we talked I noticed a difference between how these people worked to build their businesses (or at least how they talked about their work) and how I work on my business. They seem forever busy, and while they were brave enough to start their own business, the amount of labor hours they put in is significant.

The problems people have with their relationship to work became clearer when I mentioned that I’m doing a productivity course from Eben Pagan (Wake Up Productive), whom none of them had heard of.

I told the people in the circle how I often have a nap in the afternoon if my body feels like it, which got a laugh from some, presumably because they couldn’t imagine sleeping in the middle of a work day. I felt the need to defend myself and explain the nap is actually beneficial for my productivity (Eben suggests this in the course – though I didn’t need him to give me permission to take a nap, that’s for sure!).

My naps are short, usually around 20-40 minutes long and are not solid sleep, more like a dozing in and out of consciousness. I feel amazing once I get up, very clear and coherent – it’s like a reset button when you are feeling tired in the afternoon. Eben, and people he quoted, concurred about the effectiveness of napping for improved productivity.

This concept, the idea of “not working” when it’s designated work time based on what society tells you or how you have conditioned yourself, is something that lots of entrepreneurs and certainly employees have trouble coming to terms with. If you’re working for someone else then obviously you can’t just go to sleep on the job and if you are working for yourself the sense of obligation to keep producing is very strong – you feel guilty if you don’t work a 12 hour day.

Personally I got over the typical working day time structure a long time ago. Truth be told, I never really had to adopt it because I went from school, to university to running my own business at my own pace, so I never had the stringent nine-to-five mentality applied to my life, even if most people around me live that way Monday to Friday.

Do You Work Too Hard?

I’ve started to look at how I work more closely because it’s become quite clear that how I “work” is how most people want to work, yet never seem to be able get there. People are curious to find out if I really do just blog only a couple of hours a day and how could I travel the world and run my business at the same time for almost an entire year. How can I live with such a fluid work structure?

In your case, your very long working days could be because of your employment situation or life situation if you are a mother looking after kids for example, or because of some kind of mental conditioning you have applied to yourself. For whatever the reason, you are working when you don’t want to and you don’t know how to change.

Even among my highly successful entrepreneur friends, I’ve noticed the conditioned state is always striving for more and more. Successful people sometimes have it worse, because they become trapped in a vicious cycle where they always need something bigger and greater in order to feel a sense of purpose. If they are not running as fast as they can to the next financial milestone, they just don’t feel right.

Another chronic problem I’ve observed in today’s work environment, something I’ve deliberately made choices to avoid, is the idea that you need to take on every project that comes your way. Heaven forbid that you could miss an opportunity to grow your business, get a promotion or make more money.

Time is a resource people seem so willing to give away if the promise is more growth, more money and more status, yet you understand that those things don’t lead to more fulfilling lives. Worse still, adding more stress is a guaranteed outcome if you take on more projects, and we all know how good stress is for us.

If you’re an entrepreneur who makes your own work day, you don’t have anyone else to blame but yourself if you’re working long hours. As an employee you can try and lay the blame on your boss, but still, you chose to take that job and continue to follow the entrenched working day structure. These things can be modified, if you have the impetus to make change.

Laying the blame elsewhere is a mental cop-out, so the first thing you need to do is accept that working too hard is your own fault, no one else is to blame. Take responsibility for your situation and then start making changes.

Wisdom From The Tao

Back many years ago when I was running my English school, I spent a day printing out and then laminating small paper cutouts of famous quotes I liked, which I stuck up on the walls of the school.

Once I shut the school down, I took the quotes and placed them on the walls of the spare room in my house, which I use for video recording and is going to become my strategy room for business planning and mastermind sessions.

There’s one special quote from my wall I’d like to share with you that is particularly relevant for the topic of this article –

Balance and Illumination

When you are mindful in times of rest, you are observant in times of movement. If you have self-mastery in times of rest, you can be decisive in times of movement. If you have stability in times of rest, actions will not lead to unfortunate results. Rest is the foundation of movement, movement is the potential of rest. When you do not lose the constant in movement and rest, your path will be illuminated.

The Tao Te Ching, 13th century classic text of Taoism

I really like this quote, and I’m not just saying that because it makes great justification for afternoon naps.

If you take on the meaning of the quote you will truly understand how important it is to be a master of how you spend your energy, both during times of rest and work.

When I think of what the human body is capable of doing and what a tremendous source of energy we all are, it brings into light how critical it is to get the balance right in how you use your body. If you don’t work smart, re-energise effectively and prepare well, then your life will start to fall apart.

Your potential for creative output is interlinked with your ability to use your down time well, and vice versa. If you hate your job, then you’re more likely to use the time away from work on poor habits, like excessive drinking and food consumption, lazing in front of the TV for hours, forming poor habits of thinking – becoming cynical, negative – and even destructive.

Conversely, when you don’t get enough sleep, when you don’t put in time to learn and study, or when you don’t input enough quality nutrients into your body, then your work output suffers and you start to get sick.

Harmony is the key here and if you want to enjoy your working life you need to take control of every hour of your day and find a balance that delivers fulfillment. Work, rest and play are all interlinked and when in harmony can result in a wonderful state of being. If even one of them is out of kilter, the other elements suffer.

The 80/20 Rule, Leverage and Your Work

Long time readers of this blog know my dedication to promoting the 80/20 rule as a key for success. The part of the 80/20 rule that we focus on the most is the 20% that delivers leverage. This is an easy concept to understand, because if you look closely, you know that only a few of your work activities result in the majority of the output that actually makes an impact, so you should focus on those activities.

In my case, writing blog posts like this, sending emails to my newsletter, and creating content I deliver to my paying customers, are the highest leverage activities for my business. They happen to be some of the most fulfilling work I do from a creative standpoint too, which is one of the reasons I’m successful at what I do – I enjoy my work for more than just the financial return.

What’s interesting is my high leverage activities don’t consume much time from my day – less than 20%, so the rule holds true again. I can spend less than 20% of my day on the handful of output tasks I know that deliver big results and thus run a very successful and fulfilling business.

That’s great and we should all strive to find what few things deliver most value to us, but there’s something I’m not talking about here – what do I do with the other 80% of my day when I’m not working?

Let’s say on average it takes me about three to four hours of each day to be productive for my business. That’s not four consecutive hours, but cumulatively over the course of a single day, about that much time is dedicated to getting things done to maintain momentum in my business.

As Tim Ferriss points out in The 4-Hour Workweek, if you carefully measure the time when you are completing work, the period that you are actually productive is quite small. If you spend 8 hours at your office, collectively you might get two hours of productive work done – work that moves you forward (that usually doesn’t include responding to emails or talking on the phone).

Eben Pagan suggests a schedule that focuses on short work bursts of concentrated focus of about one hour, which has been proven to be about how long we are capable of staying focused on a task, without needing a break or experiencing degradation in our ability to focus.

The point is very clear – we don’t need to work long hours every day to achieve the results we want. We’re not built that way and if you are forcing yourself to work for hours and hours, then you’re doing harm to your body AND being less productive.

Become focused and direct your energy on completing a very small handful of the most crucial tasks, then you can become a highly productive person, yet only work for less than 20% of your day.

What About The Rest Of Your Day?

We’ve come to the realization that our work time doesn’t need to take a huge chunk of our day, which leaves us with quite a few hours left over to spend on other activities.

Our natural inclination might be to indulge in leisure activities, but as anyone who has ever tried to spend every day sitting on the beach drinking martinis, it gets boring pretty quickly.

I’ve never been good at what most people call the traditional holiday, which is essentially “doing nothing”. I need to be creative, both in terms of output of my own creative process and stimulation from other people’s ideas. Balance is key here and spending a full week just reading a book down by a pool is not my idea of a good holiday.

If you are working your butt off putting in 50 hour weeks, dreaming of the two week break you get in a couple of months time, it makes sense that you look forward to taking a holiday that involves nothing much. You’re so exhausted that simply sleeping and watching TV or reading a book is what you desire, because you need to regenerate after using your energy so inefficiently and out of balance in your working environment.

If however, you have a working life that is all about short, laser focused, optimal usage of work energy, you don’t feel drained and look for time off to do nothing. You have plenty of energy left over for other things and this is when the real challenge comes in.

Not only do you have to learn how to work smart, you also have to learn how to use every other hour of your day in an effective manner. You have to become a master of your own energy, which as the Tao quote so elegantly presents, is the key – what you do when not working is the determinant for what state you are in when it is time to perform.

Let’s Talk Professional Tennis

Professional tennis is my favorite sport to watch. Every single day I read about the ATP and WTA tour online, who is winning what and all the news from the tennis world.

Professional tennis presents a great example of the importance of perfect harmony of energy and mind, during times of performance, preparation and rest.

Tennis is a physical sport, but at its heart, it is a mind game. The term “inner game” may have in fact come from the book – The Inner Game of Tennis by Tim Gallwey – first published in 1972, which offers an introduction to the world of mindset and self talk, and in this case, how it affects your tennis game.

Tennis as a spectator sport is interesting because you only see the players during their performance time. A tennis match, on average is only a few hours long. During a given tournament, especially the best-of-three set smaller tournaments, the amount of time a player spends on court is minimal, yet this is when they must concentrate focused effort if they want to win.

Match time is when a tennis player does their job and is the highest leverage activity in their life, at least while they remain a professional player. During a match a tennis player has to master their mind so their body can go to work to construct enough good points to win. If you really drill it down, only a handful of points within a game make the difference between winning and losing, so the most critical times in a tennis player’s life are a very tiny proportion of their entire life – it could literally be 30 seconds, a few times in each match.

What we don’t see as spectators is the amount of effort tennis players put in to prepare for these critical moments. Hours are spent in the gym. They go to sports psychologists to help work on mindset. They live on the practice court spending hours each day drilling routine shots and plays over and over again. They need to monitor their fluid intake, eat the right foods and get enough sleep despite jumping across different time zones as they travel to different tournaments around the world.

Though we don’t observe it as spectators, a tennis player is constantly working to find balance and harmony, so when it’s time to perform, all aspects of their game are ready. In this case, if you have self-mastery in times of rest, you can be decisive in times of movement, has never been more true.

Find Your Harmony

I hope by now you’ve started to look at your entire day holistically to see the interconnectedness of all aspects of your life, and are considering what needs to change in order to bring things into balance.

I suggest you look at these factors in your life as first places where change might be necessary –

  • What work you choose to do and how you do it
  • How you use the time you don’t work, which includes time “at work” when not working

If you don’t love your work, then that is the first thing that needs to change – it might be time for a career shift. If you do love your work but you find yourself exhausted after long days, then you better figure out exactly what it is about your work that delivers value, then subtract that from everything else you do, and what you have left is what you are wasting time on.

If you truly want to excel at something, and if you are doing a job you love you are motivated to achieve results, then the time you spend preparing to do that job and the time you spend away from that job, are just as important as when you do the job itself. It’s all related.

Above all, this is about balance, and the only thing in your life that should take more than five hours every single day is sleep (unless you are a polyphasic sleeper).

Mix things up, do what you enjoy for fun, what you love as creative expression, study, learn from and be entertained by what others express as their passion, eat good food in frequent moderate servings, exercise, meditate, relax and then when required, you will be ready to perform at your peak, but you won’t have to do it for very long to succeed.

Yaro Starak
Seeking Harmony

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About Yaro

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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  • Great read. So true. Once we learn to balance our day we can have financial abundance AND free time to do what we please throughout the day.

    There’s no point in starting your own business if your going to be constantly busy.

    And who doesn’t love naps? 🙂


    • Jon

      Busy doing what you love doesn’t really exist, busy doing what you hate on the other hand is a pain even if it lasts but 2 hours a day 😉

      Jon – Create Unique Memories

    • I love naps during driving. Well, not exactly… I mean.. I stop the car under a tree and nap for 10 minutes. Sometimes home/Office are too noisy to have naps in day time!

  • jeff

    If there’s one thing that’s bugged me about this whole entrepreneur community it’s that people take being overworked as a badge of honor.

    It’s as if there’s some smug 18-hour workday “rite of passage” that every entrepreneur must endure before becoming successful.

    Perhaps it’s just me, but I can live off $1-2k USD a month. It’s amazing how even at 1-3 hours a day, that income will probably compound itself effortlessly anyway thanks to the leverage of the Internet.

    I just finished a 6-hour (yes, 6-hour) piano session, one of my true passions. I lost my sense of time (flow) and really enjoyed every minute of it. I’m glad I make room for these things. And I’m glad I’m not so freakishly obsessed with my business that I can’t stand not optimizing its every detail.

  • I have to admit – I spend 8 hours at work a day. Of which my day breaks down into:
    – 1.5 hours real work
    – 1 hour writing a blog
    – 2 hours emails, Facebooking, Twittering
    – 1 hours staring at the wall
    – 1 hour making coffee, tea or getting a drink
    – 1 hour meeting people

    So, no, I don’t work very hard 🙂

  • As thought provoking as ever, Yaro, thanks. Living in Spain, I’m well acquainted with the concept of the afternoon nap – we call it siesta.
    My problem is guilt, and I guess it comes from having worked traditional hours for so long. Once I feel my energy waning, I go out and ride the bike, do some surfing or just walk, but I then spend that time thinking I really should be doing something productive.
    I hope over time, I’ll get around this feeling, but any tips you have will be gratefully appreciated.

  • Solid article Yaro. I sometimes take naps too depending on how my body feels during the day. I actually took a much needed nap earlier today and as you said, I felt like it was a reset button and I’ve been charged for the past six hours.

    It’s important for people to realize that you don’t need permission to get rest if and when you need it. The amount of work done in 16 hours of exhaustion can be done in half the time when you have a good rest ethic.

    Thank for the post man.

  • Great article. I’ve done the 50-10 spurts for a while, with minor modifications, and it seems to work great.

    I didn’t know you were a tennis fan too, Yaro! (Btw. Did you know that if you photoread a pro tennis manual, you can feel the difference the next time you go on court? A discussion for another time. 🙂 )

    It IS uncanny though, how little one needs to work when you really put in the high leverage work. First.

  • Thanks for another interesting post Yaro. I’ve worked for myself for just over 10 years and it’s taken most of those to realise that working with my energy is the best way! Whenever I try to force myself to be productive, the result is never satisfactory.

    I’m fortunate that I love what I do (business coaching) and am able to structure my days to fit how I work best, for the most part, and I find that Eben Pagan’s 50-10 is a great productivity booster on the rare occasions procrastination dares to show its face!

  • Hi Yaro, thanks for the excellent post! I currently work 2 part time jobs (one job I like a lot, the other not so much… not at all actually) totalling a little above 4 days; I’m writing my thesis at university (which I really like doing, I chose the topic myself) and studying for my exams.

    But I’m re-starting my blogging activities, because I just really enjoy being 2.0 (i.e. reading news on Feedreaders, gathering information, reading a lot, writing, twittering, connecting to other people, networking). Starting next month I will cut one part time job and work 3 1/2 full days on the job I like; the rest is for blogging and preparing for the marathon :-).

    And I really enjoy creating presentations and presentation slides; people tell me good things about it and give me very good reviews on my presentations; that’s why my main blog is on presentations and how to improve them.

    Thanks again for the great post.


  • You’ve inspired me. Again.

    Since the day-job takes most of my day, instead of trying to get as much as possible into the time outside of it, you’ve helped decide me to start setting limits. The old kitchen timer trick can keep me honest. After all, if I sacrifice lifestyle now for a better one down the track, by the time I get there I’ll probably be too used to pushing myself to enjoy it.

    At work, I’ve always tended to work in those productivity bursts. Unfortunately, when you’re in an open office and your boss sees you achieving that pace, the expectations go up. I’m learning how to create the spaces you need in between but it’s a bit of a slow process to work them back in.

    On the home front, I think this week I’ll try limiting to 2 hrs before work, and no more than 1 after it. I’m going to enjoy this!

  • Having just broke free of a job I was in turmoil for the first month. I was running around doing this and that and not getting anything done. I was trying to work from 6-5 and not getting anything done. Then I would feel guilty and work at night. It was terrible. I thought is this really what I want to do?
    Then I stepped back and asked myself, why did I really break free? The answer was to have more time for me. So I put myself on a schedual. 3 hours in the morning (my most productive time). Siesta (2 hour break for lunch and a nap), and then 2 hours in the afternoon. Sprinked in there were times for exercise, and reading.
    Now I am more productive, I get more done in the 5 hours of scheduled work than I did all day (12 hour days), and I am much happier with my choice.
    Finally the key for me was to not have scheduled times that coincide with a clock. It just happens when it happens and I can make my schedule around other peoples meeting times.
    Now this is what I broke free to do!

  • Great stuff Yaro, probably the best I’ve read here.

    No business can succeed without a solid foundation. When you’re self-employed, that foundation is you, so you have to give yourself priority.

    My turning point came after reading Steve Pavlina’s article about defining your purpose in life –

    Now I work when I want, nap when I want and earn more money. It has to be more efficient, because I’m doing it for me.

    Every time I write, it has meaning because it suits my purpose. Maybe it helps that the money is not important, but I’m certain there would be more if I needed it.

    Focussing on what really matters to yourself is so much more important (and more productive) than focussing on what you think you should do. Or even worse, what you think other people think you should do.

  • Unfortunately, I am not able to get away with a 2 hour work day but I do start my work day when I want and end it when I want. Frequently I find myself working late at night or well past 1 am. For me, the total number of hours is not as important as the free time my business allows.

  • I’ve taken those 20 minute power naps in the middle of the day before and you’re right, they do help and I feel often super energized to start working again.

    But I often wonder if those successful businessmen are really working as much as they say or are they simply spending their time at work being half as productive?

    It’s not how many hours you put in, it’s how much you put into each hour that really matters. And if you can do that in 2-3 hours a day, then that’s all you really need. If you can sort through all the b.s. that you do during those work hours when you could be way more productive, I think a person can truly achieve a shorter work day.

  • Yaro, this is a lovely article. For me a lot of the drive to work 16 hours a day comes from the “work ethic” that has been driven into me, that work only counts if it obliterates the rest of your life, that you’re not being productive unless your body and soul are completely devoted to work, 24/7. Intellectually I know this is not true, and I agree with everything you say. What is difficult is changing old habits. But getting a little distance from your routing, looking at it in the cold light of day, and eliminating the “fat” is a good recipe.
    I am trying to implement in my life exactly what you describe and this post has got me off to a mindful day. I’m going to carry these thoughts with me as I go about my business, and I hope they will sink in a little more. One day at a time, right?
    Learning how not to work overly long and unproductive hours is like overcoming an addiction. It’s emotional, mental and spiritual rehab.

  • I spend 8 hours in working a day a and another 4 hours doing research. Hopefully I could turn things around

  • Brilliant post. I’ve always thought my view of work was all back-to-front. By the way, the Tao Te Ching is over 2,000 years old.

  • Finding harmony and balance in your life is great advice. I know that I could use some more of that in my day to day life style. I’m not sure if I can do naps, sleeping when there is light out is something that I can’t really do. Also the 80/20 rule, never really thought of it but I do that here at my work as well.

  • I recognize that the hours of “real work” might be relatively few, especially if sparked by a love of the job. However, all those other things – e-mail, phone calls, answering/commenting, social media mgmt – still need to be done in order to gain the most from that “real work.” I guess that’s where outsourcing may come in – what of that other stuff really needs to be done by me? And how much of it becomes part of “off-duty” socializing? That’s what I’m working towards.

  • I’ve likewise taken quite a bit of inspiration from the Tao Te Ching – certainly not an easy text to understand, but a lot of that is because it requires you to contemplate how it relates to your life, rather than offering concrete answers.

    Leveraging your time is indeed a crucial aspect of entrepreneurship, no matter what kind of business you’re in. Any of us can live happier, more productive lives by focusing on the small amount of time needed to realize great progress… and using the rest of the time to rest, develop, and simply “be”.

  • Thanks again Yaro,
    I am a 30 minute napper at mid day because it resets my brain. As a novelist, that means several scenes, chapters, plot threads, — plus learning to blog, plus market plus tech stuff, plus working the job I wish I could dump today of somebody would pay my bills for me, I often joke that I need an extra brains for storage.
    If I didn’t have the nap I couldn’t stand upright for the rest of the day.
    As always , I am so glad I found you.
    How can I make money for the bog FAST? Silly question, but everything takes so long when you are out of the mainstream.
    Take care,

  • I like to break my work up into little chunks with a specific goal for each chunk. That way I can concentrate on a specific goal and focus so I get it done quickly without sacrificing quality.

    I find that if I just sit down to “work” without a game plan or very specific goal (write an article on XYZ or something like that) I end up wasting time fiddling with things that are not in my 20%. Then I realize what I’m doing I stop and ask myself, “Is this activity really moving me toward my goals?” If not, I shake it off and get myself back on track.

  • A lot of people are skeptical of someone who practices a “work smart, not hard” philosophy. It’s part of the “paying your dues” and “misery loves company” mentality. You probably made all those hard workers look inefficient.

    They’d be a lot less cranky if they’d just take a nap. 🙂

  • Sorry about the typos. can’t see quite yet.
    I have been self employed as a psychic/healer since 1986. I was so successful here and then in London, that I was seriously burned out — especially when I had too much business to meditate at my former 90 minutes in the mornings before I started seeing clients. Psychic work is not meant to be used that much and I paid for it. And I didn’t make enough money for what it cost me. BUT I was able to live in harmony with my soul. My inner life was rich and wonderfully creative I got a lot more done in a lot less time than I do now when I feel like I haven’t got enough time to turn around.
    Point is, now I have moved back to the US at the worst economic times ever and I had to take a 25 hour a week job. It isn’t bad per see, its in the theater though on the marketing end –but the time spent there for the crappiest pay ever, has eroded my inner life at the worst possible time for my creative output when projects are ready to go to the next level.
    I mention this here because I guess I envy Yaro for being able to do what he is doing and I can’t stand another minute of being out of harmony when I know what the difference is . Unfortunately shit happens and you have o slog through it, sometimes.

    So nap away and dream because the Muses speak volumes when you tune out the world and its endless, empty demands na dtrain your mind on what matters.

  • I couldn’t agree more with 80/20 rule. Since I read this post, I had tried reviewing my work habits. I felt enlightened. OMG what have I been doing????

    Sudirdjo Widjaja

  • Excellent article. There is no doubt the most successful people are the ones that are able to manage their time.

  • Great article Yaro.

    Working in the financial industry I currently must work 9-5. Although I spend a good amount of my time educating myself, working on my side business and playing in a band. All things I love to do.

    I look forward to creating a revenue stream that allows me to quit my job and focus completely on creating a life balanced completely around what I love. Thanks for the article.

  • Common society’s standards are never good for anyone. It is surprising to me why people would laugh because you take a nap daytime. That is perfectly normal if you decide when you want to work.

    I usually take naps during the day after meditation. That gives me a lot of new energy and focus as well as inspiration. I feel much more positive and the actions I take after meditation always produce good results.

    I was recently talking to a group of people about being vegetarian. I told that when you stop eating meet and start eating high quality food you become more fit and much more positive. One person laughed at me and said something like ‘Yeah so I should now go to posh restaurants and then I will be healthy’ .

    That did not upset me but I felt a bit sorry for that person because this clearly showed that she is in a lack mindset and that her strong beliefs block her from considering other opinions.

    When you become more aware of what the life is truly about, you also become aware that the majority of people are still sleeping. They do not even think about why they work 9 to 5 or why they are employed or looking for employment when they could start their own companies. They just keep struggling and thinking that life is unfair.

    I have noticed that struggling people always take action. But the action they take is always out of frustration. So they get results that are unsatisfying and make them struggle even more.

    The amount of action people take do not guarantee success. The quality of action, and , more importantly, the mood you are taking action from, is the factor that will determine if the result will be successful.

    If you have faith that you will succeed and take action out of positive mood, you will always get great results. If you take action out of inspiration, your results will be amazing. That’s when you get ‘in the zone’ or ‘in the flow of life’ , because when you are inspired to take action, you forget about the time, you just emerge yourself into the present.

    So it is better to just relax and enjoy your time and if you get inspiration to take action, be sure that the results will be great. Less action = more success if you decide to use this method.

  • There’s a guy who I see at different events always talking at how busy he is. It’s always about who he’s seeing and how amny doors he’s knocking on. He’s so busy he “doesn’t have time to do the things he needs to do!” Really? that should be a BIG wake up call to those people who feel that being busy is working and some sort of badge of honor. Work smart! Great concepts and I’m signing up for your feed!

  • Ah… yes, I find I get my best inspiration and ideas later in the evening


  • Hi Yaro,

    I totally agree with you. Ultimately that’s what most people want and try to achieve. Though with myself as I am starting a new business and trying to heavily outsource and manage people, it requires a lot of babysitting, trial and error and more hours than usual. Though, I have been focusing on what you have said the 80/20 rule and applied Tim Ferris concept of just doing 2 tasks a day. The rest is irrelevant and not important.

    Great post as always!

  • Yaro, I agree with your concepts here. I work with children (as a social worker), and I’ve turned down several opportunities to become a supervisor because I knew what it would do to my schedule and pace of life. I would much rather enjoy my job than join the rat race…even if it means more money. I think it’s great that you traveled the world while still maintaining your business. Sometimes we have to think about the things that are most important to us. Most people don’t say on their death bed…I wish I had worked more hours.

  • I think, “Work smarter, not harder” is a great motto and that (in some ways) laziness is wisdom.

    We all know that (after poverty is overcome) money doesn’t buy happiness. And yet so many people keep increasing their income for no more happiness. It really is very puzzling.

    The next time someone talks about how many hours they’re overworking we can always suggest that they see a good therapist. Making our selves miserable is a stupid way to live.

  • I would like to have the option of an mid day nap. But I’m stuck in an office for 8 hours a day. Maybe I should ask if they would supply those napping cubes that are very common in Japan. Like you said, a short power nap boosts productivity.

  • Tao words are so true – great perspective in this article!

  • Hi Yaro,

    I find that working more hours tend to affect my productivity drastically due to

    1. Lack of concentration
    2. No sense of urgency

    I am going to implement a work day of 3 – 4 hours per day to see the effect of whether having a shorter work time will help me to increase my quality output. This is a timely post for me and thanks for the article Yaro.

    Personal Development Blogger

  • inspiring. I was an employee before working on a night shift and I really got sick of it. Its good that your topic is most into blogging. Just started. Hope one of these days I’ll be just like you. Keep up the good work.

  • Great article Yaro…very insightful.
    Here’s a different slant!
    If you sleep 8hrs. a night you spend 1/3rd of your life in bed.
    If you can function on 6hrs. of sleep you have only lost a 1/4 of your life! My internal alarm clock goes off after 5 – 6 hrs. of sleep and most days I don’t need an afternoon nap but when my body says to take a time out then a 20min. cat nap is all I need. It’s the same as hitting the restart button ( if you’re a Mac user!).
    There is a trend among a lot of forward thinking companies to provide a designated room for employees to be able to take a nap in the workplace. Their internal studies show a direct correlation between the employees production levels and the ability to ‘shake out the cobwebs’. Another benefit…no more puddles of drool on your desk!!

  • Yaro, you present some interesting points for those of us that have control over our daily workload/workday. Balancing a schedule is important, and while at times those of us who are work-a-holics feel the need to try to accomplish things as fast as possible, that does always lead to the best result nor does it mean that we are being productive.

    While I work a standard 9 hour shift without a break that would allow for a nap, I definitely think that I will apply this towards the process of building my own self-business.

    -Seeking harmony as well.

  • Yaro!! I normally unsubscribe from gurus after 1-2 months and I’m not even too into blogging-specific training, but OMG… you out-do EVERYONE in free content by at least 2x. It’s truly incredible that after all this time, you’re still helping me so much, and that’s the coolest way to be 😉

  • Yaro,

    Agree with you, have a nap in afternoon can give you a fresh mind. At least you can have a break in afternoon after a long hour work in morning.

  • Most of the people in the corporate world have a productive time of around 15 minutes per day!!

    But they call it “work” all day long where they are doing nothing but chat with colleagues and waste time in meetings.

  • A few years ago, I rejoined the work force after having worked for myself and been involved with NGOs for a couple of decades.

    I was shocked that the big corporation I worked for did not even offer its employees a lounge where they could get away during their coffee breaks or lunch hour. The companies I had worked for earlier all had employees’ lounges.

    What happened in the meantime to make corporations so uncaring?

  • Really enjoyed the enlightenment this post and the comments brought to me. I have been on a journey the past two months to follow my life’s purpose.

    Over the holidays I read two books that resulted in significant epiphanies; “Tribes” by Seth Godin allowed me to think how I can leave a legacy in my current industry where my business has been in for 16 years.

    As I see the end of that business, and beginning my lfe’s purpose of “Uncommon solutions to common problems” I want to be a speaker, workshop leader, writer, and business coach to entrepreneurs. The second book to set me on that journey was “The Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss. This book showed me what the reward would be of transitioning to my lfe’s purpose.

    Since then I have eliminated e-mail (went from 100+ messages to under 10 per day) and I take one day per week (Wednesday’s) completely off from my business. What I have been struggling with is when I am “off” to stop feeling guilty or to stop worrying about my business and that I should be there. Your post may have unlocked the secret. I need to sincerely believe that the “off” time will make my “on” time better. I never considered it that way. If I can believe that then I will see the “off” time as required not a luxury to be guilty of.


  • Great read. I’m actually a great believer in the afternoon nap. But let me say that some people dont understand when you say to them I m going for a nap. They naturally think that it means you are lazy. Far from it. When I have a 20 minute break – my creative urges become powerful, and another thing, some small employers in the UK now have nap pods where their employees can engage their brains for that 20 – 30 minutes…

    Another broader issue is society. It seems that some of us are all programmed to adhere to what society deems acceptable and unacceptable. I say that productivity only happens when your brain is fully focused, and if that means a short nap in the afternoon, then be it. We shouldnt get all het up over what is perceived right and wrong. We are all different, that is what makes us who we are….;

  • Great post Yaro,

    I totally agree with what you have written today. I work from home as a choice (fortunately) and I often take an afternoon power-nap. I have two sleeps conditions, insomnia that results in me having difficulty sleeping and a R.E.M. sleep disorder that means I am very active in the few hours I do sleep (I wake feeling like I haven’t slept at all some days).

    The great thing about working from home is that I can choose when I have that nap, when I work on something that needs my brain functioning at full capacity, and when I work on things I can do amidst a mental fog.

    Thanks for posting!


  • When I was working full time I found that often those around me had to try and pretend they were working for the full 8 hours. Even if they had finished all of their tasks by 2pm in the afternoon, our culture makes us think we need to still work till 5pm. I prefer the attitude, ‘finish the work given to you then head home!’ Because we know we have 8 hours to do something allows us to fill the task to the time limit. If we only had 2 hours to do it, often we could manage. I’d rather be more efficient and do things quickly than go slowly just for the sake of working a ‘full day’.

  • Most of the people in the corporate world have a productive time of around 15 minutes per day!!

    But they call it “work” all day long where they are doing nothing but chat with colleagues and waste time in meetings

    – Its true ^)

    • Hey mister, why are you impersonating me and stealing my good name, linking back to your site? Please explain yourself, as I’m really not impressed. Go hack somebody else, OK!

  • There are a million ways to lose a work day, but not even a single way to get one back, I think we should work smartly and everything will be balanced.

  • Sue

    As usual, Yaro, great content. I’ll probably be linking to this article in my next blog! I too take a nap when my brain is “offline”. I don’t get to sleep most nights till the wee hours of the morning, then I have to get up early to get the kids to school. My morning nap for me is a charging session for my brain and my body! LOL!

  • Errol

    Yaro, you’re so right, a 20 minute nap can be a real reviver, it’s called a siesta in some countries, but Churchill, JFK, Lyndon Johnson and other leaders all took catnaps in the day and were fully rejuvenated to face 12 hour days. Another great article Yaro.

  • This one really made me think about restructuring some of my work habits. I need to get more organized. I do a lot of work, but it doesn’t feel like much because of those sitting and working ideals. You’re 100% right, people aren’t meant to sit and work from 9-5.

  • Nap times are crucial. They help me get back on track and concentrate. Nice, long post mate!

  • Jen

    Excellent article – straight to the point.

    For me, the main reason to seek out entrepreneurship was to avoid the 9-5 routine and instead divide my own time in a way that is most effective and productive.

    I too often need an afternoon nap for increased productivity, and I also like to go for a run in the middle of the day which helps me keep up my creativity, so that I can have a good few hours of productive work in the late afternoon where I am able to focus on the truly important things only.

    I have never understood all those business people who quit their day jobs to then end up spending even more hours working than they did in employment. OK, maybe they just love what they do, and that’s great but surely there are other things in life than just work / business / money.

  • I was brought up that to make something of yourself, you have to work hard. While that is still true (up to a point!), I think it’s better to work smarter- not necessarily harder.

    I still find myself working waaaay to long and hard on things, which ultimately leads to me either burning out or not being able to focus on the things which produce the best results.

    Reading this post has made me realize I need to start saying “no” to new opportunities (except for those which I really want to do or take me closer to my goals), cut out those activities which are not taking me forward, and to focus more on those activities which are leading me to where I want to go.

    Thanks yet again for a great, insightful post, Yaro!

    The Geek Entrepreneur

  • Excellent post! You can really save a lot of time to do other things by planning your time.I follow a simple schedule where I concentrate on two tasks per day and it usually takes about 3 hours to complete.

  • Makes a lot of sense. No sense in getting into business if you just buy yourself a job except now you are the Janitor, the Bookkeeper, the labourer, the specialist, the creative marketing arm etc. Another good read is “emyth revisited”. Balance is wonderful to achieve but remember sometimes you have to get out of balance to get balance as long as your intentions are right.

  • Thanks to Ferris, one day I understood that working the way I like is possible. Although his work sometimes is very overrated there are great points that could bring great thoughts in the head.

  • Yaro,

    Thanks for the great article. My clients need to hear this so I will be linking to your site. My wife and I have gotten out of the rat race of trying to “force” success. We moved our business to our home and homeschool our kids. I saw a friend of mine a few days ago and he looked exhausted. He said he was working 12 / 7’s – He gets no time off, but he makes great money. In fact he told me that he made over a 100k last year. He said he had never made that kind of money. The telling part was the last thing he said was, “Matt, I hope I don’t make that kind of money this year.”

    It struck me very odd, but the truth is we are selling our souls for things that have nothing to give back. After this I am taking a nap.

    Great Job, Yaro! You rock! I enjoy the podcast as well. Keep them coming!


    Matt Sullivan

  • I would love to be able to work as and when but I have a regular schedule. I know from experience that sitting down for eight hours a day doesn’t mean you get eight hours work done. Quality is always more important than quantity when it comes to working.

  • Yep, everything is about balance. I know that if I have a large project I’m trying to accomplish, I can go for hours on end without relaxing, taking a break, anything. I typically get an amazing amount of work done during that time, but it’s not very good for my body or mind.

    It’s strange though, how I’ve never really been able to take naps during the day or I’ll wake up feeling horrible and with a splitting headache. Over time, I’ve learned to at least take breaks, walk around outdoors for a while, close my eyes and just relax.

    Once you take the steps necessary to give yourself a true rest, your body and mind will work much better together.

  • To me flexibility and freedom mean everything and no amount of money would be worth giving that up for. So the quest to attract abundance and wealth has to fit into this and not the other way around. Which is easier said than done and why you are so inspiring as a role model Yaro, because you practice what you preach.
    I frequently take time off to go on 10 day meditation retreats, I meditate 2 hours a day which does the same thing as taking a power nap and I walk and jog an hour each morning following Stu Mittleman’s exercise philosophy(Slow Burn). Then there is being a mum plus cooking and eating well (I start to feel very unbalanced if i eat out too much). Some might call this indulgent but I notice how productive and full of energy I have become, since incorporating these habits into my life. It is these habits that have sustained me in times of change and upheaval. So I am grateful for persisting and not giving up. The next big thing is persisting at creating a livelihood to match, without compromising what works for me. And at the same time helping other people to leverage their time and create the lifestyle of their dreams. Mexican Hamocks by the way, are awesome for day naps and totally relaxing.

  • Interesteing article.

    I was more familiar with the 80% 20% rule in the sense that 80% of your work will generally be generated by 20% of your clients. I guess it is really just a variation on the same theme.

  • So great………………….!!!!!!!!

  • Jason

    The one challenge I have faced when freeing up my time is the decision of what to do during this newly available time.

    I’m not sure if others also tend to do what I do, but when I have free time it is mostly spent traveling to neighboring cities, checking out new and exciting shops, and restaurant. In a nutshell it seems to be linked to spending. I tend to spend more when I am not working, which is frustrating because I often look at this and ask myself, if I were truly free…meaning earning X amount per month residual and I had X amount of time free, what would I do? It seems that my time off is linked to stuff that requires money, which worries me, because If my goal is to earn X amount a month..but earning X amount give me more time… than maybe I’ll need to earn more.. to enjoy my time off, but if that is the case….there wouldn’t be as much time anyway.

    Am I making any sense? Anyone else have similar feelings?

  • This is a huge difference between working hard and working smart. For many I believe the problem is discovering what actions are the smartest ones to pursue.

    By researching techniques, implementing and then measure the results we can get a strong indication of what is working.

    But what about things that are hard to measure?

  • For most of the people in the western culture, their latest annual income becomes the minimum for their hot new lifestyle and hence they need to keep working. It is just a rat race even if they are into business.

  • Do you think if I send this post to my boss he will allow me to take a nap in the middle of my work day? Hehe… I wish…

    I have read about taking a quick nap before and would really like to do it. I want to become a successful blogger and will take naps then! Lol.

    Thanks for your great posts!

    • I would use the lunch break if I were you. Surely, he cannot object to that can he/

  • Jeimy

    Where do you live, you people?
    I work hard, I have a family to feed, I have to pay the bills. It’s not that easy “choose” to work less time… I would LOVE to spend the extra time with my family, of course! But in a poor country…2-hour work day? What will we eat?

  • When I take a nap in the middle of the day I feel very sleepy afterwards. I wake up and all I wanna do is go to sleep again. But everywhere I turn I’m hearing that napping in the middle of the work is beneficial…

  • Those cultures where they have formalized the afternoon nap or siesta, have longer and healthier lives. With proper time management, why not indeed?

  • I work at home full time although I don’t earn a whole lot right now, still in start-up. And I have more work than I should at the moment because I have too many incomplete projects. When I catch up (and I am) I am planning to start a garden, get some cats, and take a day or two per week to go on a hike or swim. Extroversion (focusing the attention outwards) really is important. So is physical exercise, sun, air, and the outdoors.

    As far as sleep is concerned, the truth is that I occasionally feel very tired during the day, and I take a nap. Sometimes I think its when a flu or something is coming on. But because I can sleep it off right away, I never really get sick.

    Generally I just work every day until I am too tired to keep working – around 3 to 4 am. Then i sleep till I’m not tired anymore, and then I get back to work.

    I don’t need to discipline myself to get myself to work. I need to discipline myself to get myself to get outside, take a walk, jog, or even go to the beech for five minutes. I do work on it. But at least its better than having the opposite problem.

    • John Reed

      I’m sure that if your schedule works for you Anna then it’s a sound method for you to continue using. There are such wide ranging differences between us all and our circumstances that it’s not wise to be too dogmatic about exactly “How” to achieve a balance in life, but I’ve re-learned a lot by reading this Blog and the comments.
      I no longer have a Beach within 60 miles, but even a walk down a side street or by the river, or a pedal round the woods on my ancient mountain bike would be a fine way to break away from the limiting factor of the PC Screen!! Cheers
      Ancient John from Ancient York!!

  • I had never thought about the 30 seconds that can make all the difference in a tennis match. Set Point in two sets hmm. Many football (US) turn on just one or two plays. How much time do Pro Baseball players spend preparing to bat and they get to see 3 to 20 pitches in a game.


  • I’ve just finished a two year streak where I really did work 2 hours a day on my business. And the result is that I’m now working 16 hour days to make everything right again. 🙁

    So I think that it’s a myth that anyone who is successful works 2 hours a day – or can sustain it for a long period of time.

  • As a new blogger, I have a bad habit of checking my traffic stats and Adsense revenue repeatedly throughout the day. That certainly waste a lot of time in my day. I also spend a lot of time reading blogs, and commenting on them. I spend a lot of time networking with others as I believe that is a very important technique to success in the blogosphere. I don’t know about the 2-hour work day, reading blogs thoroughly and commenting on them already takes me more than 2 hours per day.

    • same here! i was also like that when i first started. however, i have come to realize the importance of staying CALM. When you panic, you lose! the key, i believe, lies in our ability to smile despite the hectic schedule!

  • I strongly believe that you should not look up to every opportunity that comes to you. You need to weigh it before going for it. 1st priority should be avoiding stress.

  • Hi Yaro,

    Great post, it is really interesting. Time management is of essence. Work rest and play should be in everybodies’ daily agenda. Thanks.

  • There are people who’d like to work 2 hours a day. But usualy even if they menage to get everything done in that time they spend the rest of the time obsessing. I mean you need to be able to turn of your mind every once in a while or you’ll go crazy.

  • Hi Yaro,
    again a really informative post. Everyone dreams from working 2 hours a day but most are trying and trying and don’t know how and what to do.
    If you plan your business and you create a to do list with all things you have to do you will manage it great.
    But not to much, only what you can solve for the day. At beginning it needs time, after some month you will see how you get more with less effort.
    Starting making money today is easy. You need only a blog a topic the passion to write really good content about.
    When you post every second day a new good posting and other days commenting on similar blogs to your topic you will see how fast your own community grows and you can monetize these traffic.

    To your success

    Maik Jaeckle

  • It’s human nature to think that the higher a product or service is, the better it really should usually be . Overall, this is a true statement when it comes to internet consumers and the majority of us. You know it, I know.

  • My life does also allow me to set my own schedule and be able to work when I want. I’m not a big napper but I may take your advice and give it a shot. Right now I just drink way too much coffee…



  • I’m trying to work smarter, not harder. The goal is to get the most out of the time I spend doing work, rather than just putting in the most hours. Being your own boss takes some getting used to, so things were slow to start. Usually, if I take a few minutes to simply write out a list of “to dos,” I can get a good amount of work done, stay on task and not overwork myself.

  • Power Naps are very important, as someone who goes to a university… and is often overwhelmed with school work, as well trying to keep a business on the side going, I gotta agree with you that taking just a 20-40 minute Power Nap as I’d like to call it, can be super beneficial, and it is true you feel like a fresh person, ready to go and get things done!

    Till then,


  • I know I’m a bit late on this one!

    I work the traditional day job, 48hrs a week, etc etc. But after looking into efficiency tips, setting some life goals, starting up a blog and looking into ways of working towards financial and personal freedom, I’ve been able to implement some of the strategies and make myself way more efficient at work.

    Seeing as I’m in a management position, it lends itself well to this sort of flexibility. I go into work early (I find I’m more productive at this time) before anyone else arrives, and I tackle all the menial little jobs first (e-mails, prep work, reports etc). By the time the staff rolls in, I’m ready to go. This takes about 1/2 hr.

    After the morning meeting I jump into work mode for 2 hrs and get all the tasks I need to get done for the day out of the way.

    From there I coast through the lunch hour and early afternoon. Most of the time I work on my blog or do some research on strategies, etc.

    Before my day is out, I take a bit of time and review what I need to do for the next day, so when I get to work the following morning I’m ready to start the cycle again.

    So its not exactly a 2 hr work day – but its pretty close. I actually “work” for about 3. The rest of the day is just me learning and working on personal projects.

    Its quite nice to be able to work and have the freedom of time within the confines of a traditional 9-5 style job.

  • You were right to defend yourself. Naps can be really useful. If you have ever read power sleep, James Maas calls them Power naps… 15 minutes can make a big difference in your energy level. Most people work very long and tiring days for what seems like an unsubstantial payout. You are right that working longer and harder for more payout wont improve the quality of their lives simply because they will be earning more.. in fact it will only make there lives worse. It’s important to enjoy life. As you say, spending lots of time in leisure activity gets boring, I find that its good to take a break once in a while where all I do is.. nothing. This way I am recharged and ready to go back to doing my work.


  • Excellent post. I try to apply this in my everyday work schedule, but some jobs actually don’t allow for this, no matter how much you try and shoehorn it in. I’m thinking of my husband, who works as a cardiac ultrasound tech in a hospital and has eight one-hour patient slots each day. Since each exam takes anywhere from half an hour to the full hour, the only way he can cram two hours of work into the day and nothing else is to demand that he get no more than two patients a day, and that’s not going to happen. Same for doctors, nurses and anyone else who works in a hospital/clinic setting. Or actually, anyone who works in a customer-driven setting. Most of the time these people have no control over their schedules no matter what they do.

    My husband does like what he does. How it’s scheduled, however, leaves a lot to be desired but can’t be changed.


  • Great post, I commend you on being able to work only a few hours and live the life you lead. But correct me if I’m wrong but I’m sure at one point you were researching and working crazy hours. you’ve just figured out your niche. Most people are still working at it. This blog didnt just get to the top over night and only a few hours a day of work. People are just trying to get there.


  • OK…I’m off to do Eben’s productivity course. Coming from the work world of 12 hours a day, I found myself lost when I started my own business. Lost meaning I could not come up with enough stuff to do in the 12 hours I used to work. Strange how we think we only profit if we work many hours. Once I realized the truth that my personal situation did not require 12 hours of work every day, I was able to relax and enjoy the mix of work and life.

  • I am a service provider and I have a remote management team that looks after all client orders and more. Over the last couple months though, my feeling about my work has reversed. Now I wish I could take part more in the day to day business and keep myself busy. I am free almost all day and sometimes I don’t work for days together.

    It has kinda become boring.

  • Hi Yaro!

    I have been learning from your blog; so if you start to see some new comments on old posts from me, that is why.

    I was expecting something about scheduling with this title, and have to say I am pleasantly surprised. As someone who has lived very spiritually, both formally religiously educated and self-taught, there are not many spiritual ideas that come to me that are new. But this one is, which I find refreshing, interesting, and something I will be reflecting on.


  • I’ve been going through your archives, and this post leaped out at me. I am also fond of having battery recharging naps in the middle of the afternoon. People who are bound by regular 9 – 5 routines do not understand this, but it definitely sets me up for being ultra productive in evening time.

  • Good article Yaro,

    Good long article, i’ve been thinking about what i would like to do in “not working day” if someday, i am rich as you are Yaro. I think i want to work out at gym, play guitar in my dream studio, listen to music, or anything as long as i am not doing anything..

  • Great article Yaro! It all goes back to being consciously aware and creating a lifestyle that fits our personality. Freeing yourself from a 9-5 work schedule can open up so many opportunities that can have a much higher ROI than working the typical 40 hour work week. Keep up the great work!

  • Yaro, this is an amazing read. Your line about “if you have self-mastery in times of rest, you can be decisive in times of movement” resonates so well with me. As a full time internet marketer, I’m sometimes prone to working extra hours just because I feel I should or because everyone else is. I’m starting to realise how wrong that is. It really is about working on my highest leverage activities first. And then working out what to do with my down time – I realise that because I’ve never actually considered what I should do with my down time that I just end up working more. Not smart – thanks again Yaro, this post has really got me thinking!

  • Another great eye opener. I am really trying to make a go of the 2 hour work day but its going to take some time. But things are being set into place and with time it will happen and it will be all thanks to you Yaro.
    Thansk again for another great article.
    I can’t wait for the next podcast to come out.

  • I am a strong believer in “work smart, not hard”. All the rich peoples are working smart to be a millionaire. It’s always the boss work 20% and their employee work 80%.

    • This is a very powerful observation.The boss understands that working harder will not necessarily make you richer.At the end of the day,living a full and harmonious life is the ideal.The million dollar consultant-Alan Weiss made this point in his book-Million dollar consulting.
      There are time when I have worked for 24 hours straight with little to show in terms of result.There is a quotation that aptly captures it for me now-“A day can be a pearl,and a thousand years as nothing”.The balanced life is the ideal.

  • 3:30 is siesta time for me, and then it’s back to work and writing again and then off to the club to socialize and network. the first part of my day is checking mail and responding, which takes the longest, the rest is stuff I enjoy doing so it doesn’t seem like work.

  • Wow you just smacked me in the face.(lol)
    I’m new to internet marketing and it seems I’m working my tail off and not getting much done. I must do at least some rethinking of my day.

    Thanks for the great post
    Tim Lalonde

  • Rest is really important, like what you’ve said about your afternoon naps, it really can help you regain your senses…lol..In my part, I work 12 – 15 hours day and I can’t stand facing the computer for 12 hours straight or even 4 hours straight…Breaks or naps between work can do good for you but I’m just talking about the fortunate enough to work from home or managing your own business.

  • Beyond internet marketing!I am interested in your belief system,can you share your thoughts on the essence of life-maybe in a future post?Or at least have a section-What Yaro is reading.Thanks.The post is a call to see the difference between being busy(tasks) and achievement (results).I will sleep more.

  • I have to agree (somewhat sheepishly as I too am currently marooned in the morass of the “work” ethic) that what Yaro says here has a lot of resonance for me – I work the 8 hour day in a job I am currently disliking (mostly because I am working for one of the silly “entrepreneur-must-work-stupid-hours-if-the-business-is-to-succeed-and-I-expect-my-employees-to-do-so-also” types) but I have always felt that it just makes simple sense to break up the working day into periods of “go quick” and “go easy and recharge” segments.

    A Siesta has always appealed to me regardless of climate – after lunch or an extended period of concentration the body is physiologically absorbed with the process of digesting food (fuel for future bursts of fight/flight activity) or recuperating (releasing stored fuel to replace the energy burned in the previous fight/flight) to bother sending much energy the way of the brain – it “knows” what the priority is, even if the work ethic doesn’t! Certainly there are periods in the day where I could murder a good snooze, but because of the 9-5 convention simply
    am not “allowed” to – but who dis-allows me this, really?
    Anybody else here read “The story of the man who was too lazy to fail” from the novel Time Enough For Love by Robert A Heinlein ? – This article has powerfully reminded me of it during an evening in which I have stumbled across Yaro’s blog during my own research into how to break my own nine-to-five non-productive rut (although I feel I am a bit more productive than just 20%! I can’t and don’t want to keep that up until I meet my early grave through stress…) .

    Incidentally, a thought has just occurred to me, (happens occasionally), just glancing at my browser now – maybe tabbed browsing is not such a good idea when you want to do the productive stuff… I think maybe I’ll try going offline and shutting down the likes of Gtalk, tabbed browsing, any other RSS notifiers and all the rest when I want to do “good stuff”. It’s just too many damned distractions!

    Maybe the real “hard work” is having the courage to “work smarter”.

  • How can people that work in IM not know Eben? He is easily among the Top 10 names you come across when you research the field!

  • I used to be like that…online all the time and wasting half of that time. I felt there were too many deadlines and i have no time for wasting on my self, then I got wiser. I found that if I insisted on doing my own things first, I still found the time to do the work for others.

  • It all comes down to what we’re condition to. Whether we’re used to working a 9-5 or working our own business at our own pace, that’s the type of work ethic we’ll put into our business.

    This is great food for thought Yaro!

  • Hi Yaro,

    My audio library was getting a bit dry after I had already listened to many of your shows repeatedly, so I decided to pop out here and get some more. Absolutely brilliant work! I just love your show. I have an online radio show (live but also recorded) and so your tips on interviewing were a great boost to my ego because I thought, “I do that… yeah, I do that!” A fun read.

    So glad to have “met” you. This article is really good too. I am working my way OUT of the working 9 5 world and am so excited for what’s to come when I get big and famous. (I will still listen to you, though, my friend – no worries 😉 )

    Have a great relaxing week & keep nappin’,

    Amy P

  • In China, when you take a nap at your workplace this means you have been working really hard! So it’s totally sociably acceptable 😉

    • I agree, naps are good for kids and grown-ups too. In China, do people catnap at their desk or do they have a special snooze area?

      I follow my own rhythm when I work. Sometimes, anxious and stressed and not as productive. Sometimes, focused for short bursts. In between, I alternate celebrating what I’ve gotten done and lamenting everything that’s left undone.

      No wonder I get sleepy sometimes 😀

  • I agree with this article wholeheartedly. I work long hours and if I did not work on certain day or rest for an hour watching tv, I feel very guilty.

    I think it is time for me to rethink my working hours and re-adjust my lifestyle to make it more fulfilling and productive at the same time.

  • Hi Yaro!
    Great blog post. I agree with you:

    You deserve all the time to relax when you need to do it.
    Nap is so effective to produce success in many aspects of your life: work, family, love, relationships, study, grow, concentration…

    Because when you go down in sleeping it happens a phenomenon like in the hypnosis process.

    Infact quickly you go down in alfa’s brain state and after much more deeper in theta state. This meaning that you go to sleep with your conscious mind, but with the unconscious mind you go to a deeper state of intense celebral activity.

    And how the recent scientific research have showed, this means to go into a mental state of extraordinary and brillant creativity.

    The benefits of all these rapid naps are amazing. Infact you can wake up with a great intuition or maybe with a extraordinary solution to your business or to a problem that afflicts your life.

    Recently I have read an exciting story around the birth of a new fantastic world membership site, that it has happened just after a deep nap of exactly 6 minutes.

    So, if my next nap will be just this lucky nap, my life would change immediately in better.

    I agree with you Yaro about the importance of make healthy naps, how many you need and deserve. And stop thinking and doing what you have learned watching, listening, and modeling all the people in your life, until now.

    You are on this wonderful for learn better success strategies, right?

    Remember friend who read:


    Begin to act in different mode and soon you will see awesome results that you can’t imagine!

    Thanks infinitely Yaro to give me the opportunity of sharing my studies, my experiences, and I really hope to contribute to other success with these few words.

    My hand on my heart,

  • An incredible post. your authenticity shows. that these ideas are yours and not rehashed from others, though I have not doubt you have heard them from others and have built on them and made them yours.

    Yes your message struck a chord for me. I work way too hard. And I agree that I have only myself to blame. I need to rethink my work day. Or at the very least (but certainly the most important) I have to watch myself, be aware of myself, when I am ‘running’ my busy days. what is going on at the level of thoughts and self talk when I run my crazily busy days.


  • I think the value of working in furious spurts can not be empahisized enough. It really works to focus qs hard as you can for about an hour, and to then walk away from your workspace altogether for ten to fifteen minutes, which gives you some time to do all the little things in the garden and around the house as you go. It is amazing how productive this causes you to be on so many levels.

  • Yaro,

    I was hoping you would say more about the business model you have implemented/automated and how it allows you to work less. Please be specific about how it is that you have organized the underlying structure of your business which enables you to be monetarily successful while working less. I would prefer a more practical answer to a spiritual answer.


    Gabe Singer

    • Hi Gabe, the practical answers are in other blog posts, please read through the articles pages and I teach you everything that I do to make money and work only a few hours to keep the businesses going.

  • It’s true. I guess at the end of the day it all comes off to just one thing: being organized. If you’re not – you actually never have the time to get to everything.

  • Awesome awesome post I always feel like I am neglecting my business when I only put in a couple of hours a day. I see your point and I need to change my mindset. I already have a nice solid base established so I am gonna definitely implement the 2 hour a day strategy you discussed. Your right concentrate on the tasks that actually make you money everything else is just secondary!

  • I can’t begin to tell you which part of your post I liked best…it’s a great read! This is one of the lines that hold very true today — “Time is a resource people seem so willing to give away if the promise is more growth, more money and more status, yet you understand that those things don’t lead to more fulfilling lives.” It’s so ironic how we recognize the importance of time, rest, taking it slow, etc. yet we still push ourselves to the limit to be more successful, to earn more, to close more deals, to increase sales! I know many people who are workaholics,who always deliver what they promise. But at the end of the day, (week, or month) there’s always that feeling of lack or temporary fulfillment. I believe that if we are to be truly fulfilled and happy (smiling and giddy!), we really need to rethink our priorities and invest our time in things that are truly worth caring about.

  • Really interesting post! As a patent attorney, its interesting to see that alot of my entrepreneurial patent attorney clients don’t work a normal work week. I think we often have our most creative ideas outdoors or when we are relaxing.

  • This post was enlightening for me. I had recently read in several places success stories of individuals who made millions by working 16 hours a day, every day. I began to model myself after them. The fact that you have a 2 hour day and have become so successful is inspiring to me. Hopefully, some of what you wrote will rub off onto me and I’ll no longer feel like it is necessary to work so much. I’ve been working all day… It’s like I’m addicted. I’ve decided to take the rest of the night down a notch and take things a little more slow. And it’s all thanks to this post! I’d rather have a 2 hour day than a 16 hour day any day… Take care Mr. Yaro Starak. By the way, I’m a huge fan. I’ve been reading and listening to your stuff for years now.

  • Very encouraging post. Naps in between help you rejuvinate that energy and work more productively. For me, not hard work, but smart work helps.

  • It’s very interesting information, Yaro. It matters very much how the man is educated and formed.

  • gr8 piece of work. keep it up. We really appreciate of such kind of stuff in this regard.
    Its very interesting post, I sometimes take naps too depending on how my body feels during the day. Whenever I try to force myself to be productive, the result is never satisfactory.

    Software Engineer & SEO Expert,

  • Human being is not a robot that can work 8 hours a day without any breaks. At one point your brain stops working as fast as it used to and you start thinking about something else. Thank you

  • Long live “80/20”! I try to use this as my guide post for everything I do as I am a perfectionist and clearly “don’t know when to stop”. Hence the 12 hour days. Thanks for the important reminder.

  • WOW, yes! this is a Great Post,

    I definitely am not one of the Entrepreneurs that has trouble with the concept of ‘Not Working’, infact recently (9 July 2011) on my – Travel Blog – (you can find the link on my <iHome Business Lifestyle Blog) I actually wrote a post about a book about Laziness by an author that has a very interesting way of defining work.

    ‘In that post you can also find an interesting Video about
    what some Great Historical Figures have to Say about Laziness’.

    Thanks for writing your post, because even though I do frequently remind myself
    to take Breaks or go Excersising or play Tennis and things like that, sometimes I am so inspired that I totally forget the time and need some Relax-time. So I like the idea of the short Naps, I actually just did a tiny
    (5 minute) ‘Nap’ and while taking this short Relax Time, because of it and because of your story about ‘Not Working’ it made me go back in time
    and walk ‘Memory Lane’,

    And talking about walking, It reminded me of a Funny Story from more than 10 years ago when I worked at one of the Major Record Companies, a collegue that came working at our department, had a huge ‘Culture Shock’ once…, She had been working at a Record Distributions Centre where the work was like ‘Clockwork’, like in a factory and than she came to work at our (Sales Support) Department (I was a Creative Sales Support Employee back than)

    ….., one day after having been away with a whole group of colleges, for more than two hours, she was totally Shocked wondering what on earth had happened, while we totally surprised – wondering what all the fuzz was all about – just replied:

    ‘Well, euh…, we just had a little Walk and Sat in Sun,
    Because it’s such nice weather today’ 🙂

    (During Summer there wheren’t frequently that
    much big Campaigns to work on anyway)

    All the Best,
    To your Happy – Home Business – Inspiration,

  • When we do something we are interested in, it isn’t really a hard work. Only when something is forced upon us (in any means), it becomes hard work. So if our passion turns out to be our job, every day is actually a holiday for us.

  • @root android

    But only if what you love is also financially viable.

  • that’s a wonderful post. Actually it is quite true that out of all the time that we spend working our productive time is only a small percentage of that. It happens to me so often that even after spending 12 hours on work i feel as if it was not such a productive day and sometimes working just a couple of hours makes me feel so good. I also takes small naps of 10-20 minutes at least once in a day to recharge myself.

  • A great article!
    The working time is precisely why I have always fought to be a self-employed
    Why do I have to remain imprisoned for 8 or 12 hours a day, when I can produce the same way, using only 2-3 hours of my life, at the time of day that I like more?
    Unfortunately, any computer work is full of distractions!
    ps: about the naps, sleep 20-30 minutes after lunch is, scientifically, good for our bodies

  • Yaro, thanks for this post!

    But I think the comparison between an 8-hour work day and a 2-hour work day is irrelevant, because there have been recorded studies of people in other countries who work 12-hour days but report having those times being the highlight of their days.

    I believe what ultimately matters is that whatever one is to do ‘at work’ or not at work, that there should be order in consciousness. If someone who is at work finds a state of flow and order in consciousness, then power to him. But when his energy is no longer required at work, he must find another activity that produces the same type of flow in order to keep the mind drifting into chaos.

    A great book to read on this subject is Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He exhausts the concept of the psychology of optimal experience. Great read.

  • this was a great article Yaro!

    thanks for the point being driven thru!


  • When rich people say how to get rich is work hard, whose?
    I read that sentence and start asking to myself, if it was true or not.
    It means, Have or membuat mempunyai a lot of money is not hard to do.

  • Hello YAro
    Great article on productivity.Right now i am really struggling with organisation.Building a blog is a lot of work.So i will try to implement the iseas and tips from your article.
    Thank you very much,hope i’ll find stability and effectiveness with that.

  • Good long article, i’ve been thinking about what i would like to do in “not working day” if someday, i am rich as you are Yaro. I think i want to work out at gym, play guitar in my dream studio, listen to music, or anything as long as i am not doing anything..

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