Efficiency · Entrepreneurs

study of hours worked by founders

Steve Procter Venture Architect | Tech Entrepreneur | Startup Innovator

February 1st, 2021

I find it fascinating talking to other startup founders about the number of hours they work. A lot don't seem to have got past the Elon Musk thing of "I must work 500 hours per day or I'm a loser".


My hypothesis is hours decreases with age but the quality of each hour increases; and we've also discovered that downtime can rejuvinate the brain and actually free's our minds to have lightbulb moments for our business.


I would love to run a quick study on Cofounderslab and will collate all responses for us to discuss.


So starting with me: 60hrs/week, age 52

Sem Brandenburg CEO

February 4th, 2021

39 years about 30 hours. I have done lots more but I have to admit that in hindsight this was part ego (look at me doing the hours) and part having an excuse to do the easy part (work) as opposed to reflective and confronting things. Value relationships, doing mundane things in and around the house. Getting kids from A to B. Telling the CEO that he is less important than my wife. Etc etc


Quality is much more import than quantity.

MK Marsden using digital, data and tech to optimize the customer experience + create the next generation of shopping and retailing

February 1st, 2021

I am the co-founder of my 8th company. I work 7 days a week and about 55 hours a week. I also exercise 7 days a week to keep my mind focused and my energy where it needs to be. I am 59

Dmitri Toubelis

Last updated on February 4th, 2021

I had runs logging for over 100+ hours per week, essentially 7 days per week with 4-5 hours of sleep and the rest is work-work-work. But this is not sustainable.

I'm 52 now and I find 60 hours as a good balance between getting enough done and getting enough rest.

It also depends on how you count, if I'm thinking about work when I'm showering - I'm working.

The ultimate point of growing a startup is constantly improving productivity and delegating. And if I'm successful, there is eventually a point when the system works without a need for me to be involved much... and this is the time to start something new :-)

Steve Procter Venture Architect | Tech Entrepreneur | Startup Innovator

February 5th, 2021

Hi Dmitri, very interesting to see someone drop from 100+ to 60 as you got older.


60 does seem to be an interesting average for those with what I would call "more worldly experience".


plus of course another 10+ "thinking hours" when out walking or in the shower ;-)

Lawrence Ham

February 1st, 2021

For the past two years, I've probably averaged about 110 hour weeks, but I've done the job of a full team. It's idiotic. I couldn't care less if anyone on my team manages to complete a week of work in 20 hours.


In my mid-30s now, I agree with your hypothesis. Quality > quantity. To your point, a lot of my hours are also spent reflecting as I'm a firm believer that a founder's main role is clarity.

Shahbaaz Lokhandwala fpga project consultant

February 1st, 2021

63 hours/week,age 30

Kathy Doyle CEO at FireFlower Alternative Energy

February 1st, 2021

60, 25-30 hours / week now that I'm a single foster parent to a 4 yr. old on an emergency basis. I'm running two different businesses. I frantically try to fit everything into 2-3 days / week because I never know when daycare will be opened or closed. And there is no "thinking time" when he is up. I use headspace to go back to sleep and avoid thinking about work at night, as I need my sleep. I have always thought it important to figure out ways to turn work off. Several times over the past 20 years, we built the proper infrastructure to take a 7 week RV trip across the U.S. with the kids. So glad we did, as they still talk about it regularly. Working too much is not a badge of honor to me, rather, an indication that I need to do something different for myself and/or the company.

Paul Travis Multifaceted Online Executor: Product Marketing to Program Mgmt. to Business Development

February 1st, 2021

60+ hours, age 56

Steve Procter Venture Architect | Tech Entrepreneur | Startup Innovator

February 1st, 2021

@lawrence, blimey!! My 60 is in my office. I can probably add 15 hrs/week for "thinking work" when I am pottering around the house and on my daily walks. How does yours breakdown?

Steve Procter Venture Architect | Tech Entrepreneur | Startup Innovator

February 1st, 2021

@SteveOwens hired staff who of course tell nontruths to get the job and impress the boss is a different story. I'm really just trying to get a rough picture from business owners and get a convo going about how much we entrepreneurs/founders put in. And see if my theory about age is relevant or not.


So how many do you do?