Real Talk: Time to Call Bullshit on Tech’s All-Nighter, Multi-Tasking Culture


OK - someone has to say it: Boasting how little sleep you’re getting, how many hours you’re working per week, and how many tasks you can handle at one time isn’t a badge of honor. In fact, it could be costing you success. And that is not our opinion, it is science.

Studies show that by working more than 50 hours per week — you actually become less productive. In other words, anything after 50 hours is not your best work. In addition, there are significant negative consequences. You become “at increased risk” for cardiovascular issues, relationship problems, weight gain, depression, and a host of other issues.*

Staying up all night and working all weekend — that high adrenaline zone you’re in can only be sustained for so long before burnout is inevitable.

Keep in mind that sleep and breaks are pathways to rejuvenating yourself to enter your next sprint (the next day of work) in top shape. Working yourself into the ground pretty much serves no one – not yourself, not your team and not your investors.

At FounderForward, we are constantly reminding our founders that “burnout is not the price you pay for success, rather it can cost you success.”

We understand that a 50-hour work week may not be realistic in the earliest of startup days. But we also understand that all-nighter cultures are not healthy or productive over the long haul. It is part of your job, as founder, to build a sustainable culture and to work smarter, not harder.



Now About That Multi-Tasking….

The reality of doing things well is that it requires laser focus on individual tasks.

And the reality of multi-tasking is that it is not a reality – it is, in fact, a myth. Science tells us that the brain can’t actually do very many things at once. That it is actually switching back and forth between activities and that we can lose up to 40% of our productivity during these shifts.

Constant multi-tasking can end up shortening our (already challenged) attention spans and making it harder for us to focus - even when we are working on one task. It can also lead to more mistakes in our work.

So...It’s time to stop talking about your ability to multi-task as if it is a talent.

To be an effective leader and a successful founder, you’ve got to stop trying to do 50 things at once. All those tabs open on your laptop screen? Distractions. Having your email inbox open all day — distracting and not productive.

Trying to write emails while you’re also on the phone? Talking to a team member while also answering emails or checking your phone? Not good and not respectful.

Eliminate the clutter. Get rid of distractions. Stop multi-tasking. And make FOCUS your new best friend.

After all, this is an industry where execution is the name of the game.

All leaders struggle with The F Words: Fatigue, Fear & Focus  Learn actionable tools to master them.