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Death to the 9-5 - Why Everyone Should Work Like a Startup

Nov 9, 2016 | By Seth David | 0 Comments

Topics: Industry Insights, Startup Firms

I went to bed last night at about 8:30 pm. I am often in bed that early, because the plan is to get up at 4 am, and be at the gym working out by 5. I fell into a deep sleep until about 12:45 am. By 1:05 am I realized I was not going to be able to get back to sleep, and there was no way I was making it to the gym.

When you think of a startup, you normally think of a software development company. There are some big ones that still run very much like a start-up. Intuit has been called, “the 30 Year startup.”

The reality is, that many of us, in many other professions are running companies more and more like startups. The culture is one of greater freedom and creativity. And who decided that we all needed to work from 9-5 anyway? Where did that come from? I can cite 100 examples of why and how different people probably work better on their own schedule. As long as the work gets done, what do you care if your employee does it at 3 pm or 3 am?

When I am too tired to go to the gym, because I’m up in the middle of the night, I have been known to get out of bed, and start working at 3 am. I can work until 7 am, go back to sleep, and then get up again at 10 am. I can work from 10 am - 2 pm, and I’ve put in the standard 8 hour day, all while the rest of the working world (or most of them) are trained like sheep to follow a pattern, where at 2 pm, you’re just getting back into things after lunch.

I’ll still probably go to 4 pm, and then I’ll stop, and go read. I like to read from 4-6 pm every day. It’s a good way for me to unwind, and it also reverses the engines for me. I spend most of my time producing content, but I need to balance that with time spent absorbing it.

We have the apps available so that we’re able to be in constant contact with one another. This makes it so much easier to communicate, even if we’re working different hours. I put my clients in a Slack Team. My Australian startup client, and I often exchange messages from across the world. He looks at reports while I am sleeping, and when I wake up, there will be messages with questions. I can run a report, add it to Google Drive (Google Sheets) and post the link in Slack for him to take a look when he wakes up.

I also use a clock widget on my phone, so I can always see at a glance, what time it is by him:

world-clocks

I have everything I need at my fingertips to communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time. I have notifications, and all kinds of ways I can make sure I am reminded of any follow ups I need. As long as I know what my deadlines are, it doesn’t matter when I do it, as long as it gets done, and there’s ample time for review if necessary. All that takes is planning, and there are so many apps for that.

Last night I decided not to get up and work. Instead I plugged my headset into my Google Pixel, which I just recently picked up, and I love it. I installed the Netflix app, and caught up on a few House of Cards episodes while I laid in bed. It didn’t disturb my wife who was fast asleep next to me.

By around 4 am I went back to sleep. Slept until 7, and I was at my desk working by 7:30 this morning. I didn’t get in the shower until about 1pm. It doesn’t matter. I run my business like a startup. I know what has to get done, and when. That includes writing this very blog post, which was written in Google Docs. The screenshot above was taken on my Pixel and was instantly available in my Google Photos, so I could add it right away.

So again I want to ask you. Who’s idea was it, that we work from 9-5? Isn’t it time we came up with the world and technology of today? If an architect does his / her best work at 2 am, drawing up Blueprints, because it’s super quiet at that hour, what difference does it make?

What about you? Can you see yourself running your business like a startup?

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