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Is Hard Work a Good Investment?

Posted on 14 January 2013 by Andrei

Whenever you work on something, you’re basically investing time and energy. When you invest money, you always analyze the potential ROI, so why not do the same thing when investing time/energy? I’ll start by answering the question I asked in the title and the answer is “yes or no” :)

Hard work can be a good investment but if you take things to the extreme, it might end up being a bad one, let me explain why.

Humans aren’t perfect.

Our time is limited and we are physically limited as well.

If you think you’re indestructible… think again!

All of us have periods when we literally work like maniacs, great.

But you have to be realistic and understand that doing this consistently is not a good investment because again, you are only human and your body can’t handle *everything* you throw at it.

Ok, so you had to work all night yesterday, it happens.

But if you do this consistently, there will be a price to pay and that brings us right back to the ROI aspect of the equation.

Let’s oversimplify things and assume you earn $x per month by working 9 hours per day.

Let’s also assume that if you’d work 18 hours per day instead, you’d earn two times more.

Again, this is an oversimplification but I’m sure you’ll get the point.

24 – 18 = 6, so this leaves you with 6 hours/day for activities other than work

Assuming that you manage to finish eating and all of the other activities aside from sleep in let’s say 3 hours, that leaves you with 3 hours of sleep per night.

Two important consequences arise.

Short-term consequence: by pushing yourself too much (and ignoring things like… you know, sleep), your productivity will gradually decrease, so it’s only a matter of time until you’ll make less and less money.

Long-term consequence: in the long run, you’d ruin your health by pushing yourself too much.

So after analyzing these 2 consequences, we’re left with 2 observations, accompanied by one question each.

Observation1: you’d gradually earn less and less, so why push yourself to the extreme when instead of there being progress, the exact opposite happens?

Observation2: let’s assume that the downward spiral in productivity won’t occur in your case and that you’d earn twice as much indefinitely, one important question arises. Would you be willing to ruin your health in exchange for 2x more money? I wouldn’t.

The conclusions are obvious, yet a lot of people ignore them.

You’re not a robot, so pushing yourself to the extreme indefinitely is NOT a good idea.

Find ways to make your money work for you, find ways to increase your productivity and so on.

Be realistic, treat investments of time/energy the same way you treat monetary investments and you’ll thank me 10 – 20 years from now :)

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