Running a business can be challenging. When people hear about a certain company and its success, it is easy to overlook the amount of time and dedication that went into it. But the reality is not that enticing.

Business owners work very hard to achieve their goals and bring their companies to the next level. Often, they sacrifice their weekends, vacations, and social life for something they believe in.

Let’s look at how many hours entrepreneurs dedicate to their businesses and how many work long hours. For more insights from experienced entrepreneurs, sign up for our EWOR Platform and gain access to over 17 courses and a plethora of resources.

How Many Hours Do Entrepreneurs Work per Week?

According to Gallup, 62% of business owners work over 50 hours a week. This number is higher than a standard 40-hour-workweek. Many people build their startups to be independent and work fewer hours, but it turns out differently. A poll of readers of the New York Enterprise Report claims that 70% of business owners also work regularly on at least one day of the weekend.

The main reason behind these long hours is that entrepreneurs care about their companies and usually do not wish to delegate their workload to someone else. As a result of this, they spend the majority of their days working.

Of course, not everyone works that many hours. Many people stick to the standard 40 hours a week or work even less. But such cases are harder to find.

Working Hours of Famous Entrepreneurs

A billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, spends 40 hours each week for both of his companies. In a Podcast,  Elon Musk says he sometimes works even more than that.

“There were times when, some weeks … I don’t know. I haven’t counted exactly, but I would just sort of sleep for a few hours, work, sleep for a few hours, work, seven days a week. Some of those days must have been 120 hours, or something nutty. You’re gonna go a little bonkers if you work 120 hours a week. Now we’re down to 80 or 90. It’s pretty manageable.”

-Elon Musk

Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, does not work long hours. He mentioned in a 2015 Facebook Q and A session that he usually works 50-60 hours a week. This is a very reasonable amount of working hours for a CEO of Meta Platforms. His work ethic is appreciated by his employees, as no one likes to spend days and nights in the office.

How Many Hours Should You Work Each Week?

There is no correct answer. Hours spent working do not equal success or the amount of work done. But you need to put the time in for your business to succeed.

When it comes to deciding how many hours you should work per week, there are many factors to consider. Is it your main job? Or a side hustle? If the answer is that your business is your main source of income, you’ll need to spend more time on it. But if it is just your additional source of income, you probably won’t be able to spend long hours working on it.

Another question to ask is what’s your personal situation. If you have a family, small children, or some mental health problems, overworking will probably not suit your needs. Thus, seeing your life situation clearly can help you decide how many hours can you realistically work per week.

Is Overworking Bad for You?

Nowadays, toxic productivity has become a mainstream trend. Everyone strives to work as many hours a week as possible, forgetting about the dangers it can lead to. Overworking leads to exhaustion and burnout. It is also detrimental to your overall health.

According to a study by World Health Organization, working more than 55 hours a week can harm your health. It is generally connected with the fact that when people work long hours, they don’t get enough sleep and usually spent their whole days without movement, sitting in a chair. Moreover, under stress, people tend to drink their worries away or binge eat. All these factors contribute to possible health issues in the future.

Work Smarter Not Harder

Working long hours doesn’t guarantee finishing everything on time or even coming close to it. A scientific discovery about human behaviour says “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion,” it’s called Parkinson’s Law.  So, if you book a 5-hour slot in your calendar to do something, it will take you exactly 5 hours to complete the task. But if are going to give yourself only 3 hours, then it will be done in 3.

A similar concept is used in the 32-hour work week. Giving people more time to relax and unwind after work, help them feel more refreshed. As a result of it, employees are happier, have increased efficiency, and are more engaged in their tasks. They also manage to complete everything they need to in 32 hours instead of 40.

That is why it is essential to learn how to work smarter, not harder. Being well rested has a tremendous influence on someone’s productivity. But there are other ways that can help you achieve more in less time.

Say No To Multitasking

Multitasking is usually considered to be a great way to get more things done. But new studies claim the opposite. Researchers found that our brains can’t focus on many things at the same time. Thus, answering emails while sitting at a business meeting will reduce your attention and efficiency.

When you multitask, your brain quickly shifts attention from one task to the other. This leads to worse performance and in some cases can even damage your brain. Moreover, researchers found that people who thought they were great at multitasking actually performed worse than people who did one thing at a time.

Try Task Batching

Instead of returning to the same tasks many times over the course of a day, try doing it all at once. For example, instead of answering your emails every time you receive one, try allocating a time slot for it once or twice a day. During that time, answer all the emails and move to the next task at hand. It will save time and prevent you from getting distracted from your work during the day.

Schedule Tasks

Scheduling tasks will help you allocate your time evenly over a week or a month. Try also organising tasks based on how difficult they are. Move the hardest ones earlier during the day when your energy levels are higher, and leave low energy tasks for the end of the day. It could be answering emails or planning next week’s schedule.

Prioritisation and Delegation

Learning to recognise which tasks require your attention the most is an essential skill. It is impossible to do everything alone, that is why choose the most important tasks you want to finish by yourself and delegate the rest to someone else.

Take Breaks

Creativity and efficiency depend on how good you are feeling. So, taking breaks is important not only for health but also for performance.  Having weekends off is great, but taking time during your work day to stretch your legs, breathe fresh air and drink a cup of tea or coffee can influence your productivity for the better.

How To Find Work-life Balance?

Many people struggle with finding a good work-life balance. Having many things on your agenda can make you forget to carve time for the things you love doing. But learning to juggle well work, and personal life is important for your health and happiness.

Here are some tips that might help you to manage your time better.

  • Establish boundaries and learn to say “no”

Your friend may ask you to help him with his tasks to finish them quicker, but you should not overwork yourself because of it. Learning to say “no” and that your working day is already over is key to a good work-life balance.

  • Create a routine.

Sometimes it is hard to do things that you love because you just never have the time. In such cases, creating a good routine might be of help. Spending 30 minutes in the morning with your family or reading a book can help you start the day not with thoughts about work, but in a nice atmosphere.

  • Prioritise your health.

If necessary, take that day off and relax. If needed, try therapy and work through anything you have on your mind. Mental and physical health are more important than hours spent on a project.

  • Manage your time

While planning, it is tempting to give yourself less time than necessary to promote motivation. But, in reality, it leads to more pressure and anxiety because you do not meet your strict deadline. Giving the task as much time as it needs or even a little more can help keep your stress levels down. 

If you are interested in time management, check out Getting Things Done to learn more about it.


Not all entrepreneurs spend day and night in the office. Working long hours isn’t a guarantee to have a successful business. On the contrary, being married to your work can have negative consequences on your mental and physical well-being. Thus, learning how to juggle work and personal life is vital for being creative and efficient in your workplace. Aiming for quality hours over quantity can bring amazing results.

About the author

EWOR is a place where the most extraordinary people find the education, network, and capital to solve the world's biggest problems. Our unique combination of an entrepreneurship academy and early-stage VC (up to €150K investment) firm was built for founders by founders, creating an unparalleled community for like-minded entrepreneurs and over a dozen unicorn founders who are building impactful tech companies.