Max Maher released another video of a challenge where he worked 10 hours a day for 50 days straight.
For reference Max is 23 years old and runs Skinny Wimp moving company in Phoenix AZ. I interviewedhim to discuss the founding of the business along with his 500 business connections experiment where he drummed up $30k a month in recurring business by going out and getting face to face with a bunch of people.
I personally believe balance is critical once you have your business off the ground but this just shows you what you can really accomplish in the early days if you are trying to make a change in your life and buck the 9/5 and get something off the ground!
I’m sure Max will check in on the comment section here periodically if you have any questions for him.
Episode notes from Max’s original post:
At the beginning of the new year I started an experiment. I was going to work 50 days straight with at least 10 productive hours every single day. My goal is complete. From January 1st to February 19 I worked at least 10 hours every single day, with some days as much as 15 hours of productive time. This is my experience.
For those who are more visual I will link to my video in the below that goes over all this information with some cool visuals
I’m going to first go over my schedule, touch on productivity, followed by my mentality throughout, and lastly the effects and concerns I noticed. I would to preface this by saying this is not me condoning lack of sleep, I don’t function well on lack of sleep. The goal was productivity not how long I could stay up. while doing this challenge I slept 7-8 hrs every single night.
I set a very consistent schedule of waking up between 4:45 and 5am everyday then I would eat breakfast and be at the gym by 6am except for Monday’s I’d skip the gym. Then I’d be at work by 7:45am to greet employees coming in at 8am. My work after that Mon-Fri would be a mix of in office work or out of the office marketing until 7pm when I would come home eat, play piano and go to sleep. On weekends I would stay at the office only until noon so I could then spend the rest of the day working on videos, cooking, doing laundry, and prepping for the upcoming week. Whenever I was driving I would listen to audiobooks.
The time I consider work is time spent running my companies or time working on these videos. Total productive time is categorized as any time doing productive non-leisure activities. Things like work, exercise, piano, and reading.
The first week or so it was hard to wake up that early but after the first week it was a breeze.
I timed my daily activities before and during this challenge with an app called aTimelogger. Before this challenge I woke up around 6am worked 45-60 hours a week on my companies and 80ish total hours of productive time. During the last 6 weeks I have upped my normal amount by as much as 70% even clocking in a few perfect weeks which is what I define as a week I literally couldn’t have spent anymore productive time without foregoing sleep.
The amount I was able to complete any given week was without a doubt at least double the amount normal despite only spending 70% more time working. I noticed that by simply being aware that no matter what all I would be doing is working the entire day and not expecting rest made me search out more and more things things to do. I was completing all of the “it would be nice to try” things instead of just thinking about them and how I’ll get to them someday. I got a massive marketing accomplishment completed on top of my normal workload which I documented the entire process and dubbed “500 Connections” which is returning me me 10s of thousands a month (I will link below). I found that the more I did the more I wanted to do more like a ball rolling down a hill gaining momentum and I found myself wanting to see what my absolute limits were.
As far as workouts go I didn’t have much of an issue making it to the gym although I did notice having slightly less energy and excitement to get a workout in.
Getting this much done was as much an exercise in not doing things as it was in doing them. I didn’t turn on the TV once, I didn’t sit around on social media when I should have been working, I didn’t lay in bed for an hour before getting up because I simply framed it in my mind that that wasn’t an option to do those things. And the craziest thing was I didn’t even have desire to do those things.
During this period I couldn’t have been more pleased with the productivity however it probably wasn’t 100% sustainable
Despite some drawbacks later on I felt extremely satisfied and happy with myself day after day. I am someone who prides himself in being a hard worker and it was an amazing feeling to look back week after week and know that I couldn’t have given anymore effort and was surprised in how much I could actually handle.
If you’re like me and like to be identified as a hard worker I will tell you right now if you’re really putting in the hours people will notice and they will comment much quicker than you think. Within 3 weeks of consistent work I received almost daily comments from employees about how many hours i’ve been putting in or being crazy for how late I was there the night before. I sat on the sofa one day after work and my brother said to someone “this is the longest you’ll ever see him sitting down”
I am a calm person by default but during this marathon I was even more calm, had lower stress and had zero anxious moments, most likely due to a combination of being exhausted and not having any time to sit and worry about anything. It actually increased my confidence.
However the mind-shift that I could do nothing but productive things negatively impacted my social life. The thought of going on a date or out to the bar sounded like the furthest thing from enjoyable. I found myself not texting people back and turning down every social event. I knew If I went out I would be wishing I was back in the office getting my work done. This is obviously not a sustainable lifestyle but I was afraid to stop my momentum.
The worst side effects were mentally after about day 30 I noticed myself becoming increasingly forgetful and my mind slipping. I lost my car keys more than once, locked keys inside a crate at work, and had to start writing down nearly every task I had to do as soon as I thought of it, I even shut the garage door on my car once. After around day 35 my ability to play piano regressed massively in the evening felt like I went back a year and was re-learning to play again.
Obviously there was something negative happening in my brain on the last stretch but several times I tried to research if it is actually harmful to work all day for extended periods without mental breaks and the only studies I could find had to do with lack of sleep so if anyone can find a study on this please send it to me. The entire time I slept enough and ate enough so I am unsure what was happening internally, I was only the guinea pig in this experiment.
Overall I am glad I did this and my biggest takeaway is we are all capable of much more than we think we are. I think it is sometimes necessary to find our limits in order to be able to grasp how much we can actually handle. And my recommendation to anyone trying to be more productive is to set highly specific goals and track your progress, maybe make a project out of it like this. I wouldn’t have thought I was capable of doing this until I did and although I probably won’t do a stretch this long again I feel that now that I’ve done it regular 20-25 day stretches seems much more doable with an entirely new frame of reference.