The Death of 9-5


Imagine that while I'm typing this, Dolly Parton is belting out 9-5 in the background. Got that unsettling image in your head? Good. Let's begin.

I remember when I was a kid, 9-5 sounded horrible. What a long amount of time to be at work. 8:30-3:30 at school was bad enough. An extra hour, AND no recess?! Simply unacceptable. Nowadays, 9-5 sounds like a nice, relaxing day.

What the heck happened?

There are several things working against us. Being an entrepreneur usually means longer hours. Having a desk within sight of your bedroom adds another challenge. Add customers, clients, and vendors in multiple time zones and suddenly 24 hours seem dreadfully inadequate.

As much as I would love to be living the life illustrated in Tim Ferriss' book The 4-Hour Workweek, it just hasn't materialized yet. I've certainly had my share of 4-hour workdays, but rarely in a way that could be romanticized in a book.

No, as any entrepreneur and/or parent will tell you, the days are never long enough to accomplish everything you want/need/hope to. Like a gamer saying "...just one more level...", an entrepreneur will say "...just one more email...".

In reality, I don't any of us are actually "working" more hours in the day.

The problem is time. Errands can only be run at certain times of the day. With a couple exceptions, bank deposits can only be made from 9:30am-4:00pm. That music store that rents the instrument you need for your kids' band class doesn't open until 10:00am. I'm also pretty sure the doctor's office would frown on a request for a Sunday evening appointment. It just seems like, despite the 24-hour life the internet offers, real life needs to be comfined to that 9-5 block of time.

So What?

Well, the problem is that this is also when we used to do our regular work. Since the doctor and the banker aren't opening at 5:00am, that's when we have to do our office work. Now that we're our own boss, we can't have Jerry or Susan cover for us while we get our teeth fixed. Those 2 hours in the dentist chair have to be made up later, which usually means we're eating cold pizza on the couch, balancing a laptop and an iPhone on our lap while we pretend to watch a movie with the kids.

There are certainly days where 9-5 sounds really nice.

Well, what about you? Do you still work 9-5, or something similar? Do you find your days tend to go on forever? How do you manage it?

I know some of you are in the same boat.

How do I know this? Because some of you are responding to my email at 11:00pm just as often as I'm sending them then.