I think people work more hours than they need to, but you have to recognize that time on task is an important part of success. There is a perpetual discussion about time. Which is better, quality time or the quantity of time? The answer is a clear yes. Quality of the time you spend certainly is important, but the distinction is false. It might be true that 20 hours of quality time is worth more than 40 hours of lesser time, but when you get into the big leagues everybody is bringing quality time. If you are putting your twenty hours or quality time against somebody bringing forty hours of the same, who wins?
When I was in the senior seminar a few years ago, I noticed that most of us successful people had in common that we had taken fewer than average days off either in sick days or vacation time. Correlation is not causality. It is possible that we were successful because we loved our jobs so much that we chose to take fewer days off and the time on task was an effect and not a cause of success. I suspect that feedback loop is at work. Those who like their jobs spend more time on task, which makes them more successful and makes them like their jobs more … But the bottom line is that time on task matters.
You may not succeed completely at everything you do, but sure cannot succeed if you don’t show up.
As I said up top, I think that many people work more than they need to. Time on task ONLY is not sufficient. There comes a point of diminishing and then negative returns on the time you spend on the job. You need time to renew your energies, “sharpen the saw” as Stephen Covey says. This helps you bring that quality time to your job. You need time to renew your skills. Here I am not talking about specific job training, which presumably is part of your ordinary work. I read a lot about things tangential to my work. This is where vision comes from. This vision thing may be more obviously important to higher-level leaders, but it is important to everybody, since everybody is leader of their own enterprise, which is the person him/herself. In the last couple weeks I read four books: “The Generals,” “Insurgents,” Conscious Capitalism” & the latest biography of Calvin Coolidge. None of them were directly related to my work and none of them immediately changed my life, but all of them gave me ideas that gave me ideas that will change how I plan and behave at work.
So I am firmly on both sides of this issue. You need to apply an appropriate amount of quality time to the things you consider important.