To be successful in business, do you need to be a workaholic?
Buffet works two hours a day and is more successful than any workaholic
Warren Buffet is more successful than anyone else I can think of. He works roughly two hours a day. His philosophy is that he needs to keep his schedule open just in case there is a last minute reason why he needs to be available such as an important meeting or opportunity. He is an expert at delegating work to the best people with the best terms. But, he is on a very high level, and we are not. So, perhaps we can’t apply his wisdom to our own situation.
HBR says work less!
Harvard Business Review has many blog entries that keep telling us that managers need to do less, not more. Managers tend to spend too much time at meetings and doing emails and other tasks which are less than optimal use of their time. They need to delegate more and do less.
Koreans say work all the time……
Korean culture has an interesting perspective. I live in a very Korean area and find them fascinatingly imbalanced as a culture. It is cultural to force your kids to study until 2 am for school and exams. Koreans are expected to be busy all the time and be successful. There is no room for failure, and no sympathy for losers. You fight, or you die! Very warlike just like their 5000 year history of being attacked by countries that were larger than them all the time. I believe that their history contributes to the toughness and endurance of their culture.
Korean breakdown syndrome (KBS)
In any case, something very bizarre happens to Koreans in their 30’s. Although Korean culture demands hard work all the time, they allow you to slow down a bit when you get older and still be tolerated. Maybe that is a Confucian idea since respect of the elderly is required. I have seen this happen to one girl and one guy. They started being very smart and hard working. But, something happened in their mid or late thirties. Their desire to work all the time was lost. The meaning of life and meaning of work just faded away. I personally feel that the Korean style of overdoing it to the point of insanity causes very long-term problems later in life. You lose track of the meaning of life, of relationships, family, and balance. Life becomes an insane competition to the death. It is interesting that I am sort of the opposite of Koreans. I was a slacker in my 20’s and a workaholic in my 30’s and 40’s.
To get ahead in business, it is imperative that you slow down
You can’t do everything yourself and get ahead in business. As a business person, you need to become an expert at analyzing which tasks are the most important, and why. You also need to know which tasks you can delegate and how to delegate those tasks. If you just read some blog article about how you need to delegate, and delegate critical tasks to someone who is not committed, you could lose more than you can imagine. You need to become an expert at who to trust, and how to find backups for this person just in case. The minute you slow down a bit, you will have more time in your schedule to do some real thinking, and to interview more people to delegate tasks to. It is a hard transition to go from doing everything yourself to forcing yourself to let others do much of your critical tasks for you. This transition will not happen though, unless you force yourself to let it happen, even if it is little by little.