The Other Eight Hours


“In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking” – Sir John Lubbock

The #1 excuse I hear when people want to do something impossible is that they don’t have the time. It’s a common excuse but one that falls apart pretty quickly when you realize that the Gary Vaynerchuks & Richard Bransons of this world still manage to accomplish more piles of work than we can imagine even though we’re they’re just as human and rotate around the sun at approximately the same speed as everyone ele [I say approximately because it’s hard to accurately calculate Richard Branson’s speed when he’s kitesurfing with models on his back]. I haven’t had the chance to personally ask both of them how they’re able to get so much done in the same amount of time as everyone else, but if you watch them, the difference is clear: their success comes from how they use their other eight hours.

8 Hour Math

Lets assume you have 24 hours in a day [last time I checked, this was pretty standard]. We’ll also assume you have a regular 9 to 5 job and spend a solid 8 hours at work. We’ll also pretend you listen to general medical advice and get 8 hours of sleep every night. BOOM. 16 hours gone. Scheduled away to oblivion before you even get to look at it. Right here there are two conclusions you can make:

  • Conclusion #1 – “I just lost 16 hours of my day. That’s almost my whole day. Guess I’ll zone out, watch TV and see if I can’t get another nap in”.
  • Conclusion #2 – “I get 8 extra hours to do something. That’s plenty of time to hustle and go create something”.

Lots of people come to conclusion #1. You don’t usually hear a lot about what they end up doing.

A lot fewer people that come to conclusion #2. They tend to do amazing things.

The Truth

8 extra hours every weekday is a lot.

Over 1 week, that’s 40 extra hours.

Over 1 year, that’s 86 extra days.

Over 5 years, that’s 430 extra days [that’s almost an extra year and a half of time!].

I could list out out 100 different ways you could use that time, but you don’t need me taking up more of your time. You already know what you need to do. You just need to actually do it. Your time is valuable. Start acting like it. Choose to use your other eight hours.

How will you use your other eight hours today?

[Photo Credit]

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  1. KC says

    No, I think most people DON’T know what they need to do. They know the hours are there, but they can’t use the hours because they a)are so stressed by the rest of their life that the idea of doing something more seems….exhausting or b)they have no idea what to do. The number 1 comment I see on fb is “I’m bored”. Everyone knows what they don’t want to do, but in this society we attempt to beat individuality and desire down until no one knows what they want–other than more money. An extra hour hours is almost cruel.

    • says

      Interesting thoughts KC. I’ll disagree though. I think a lot of people really do know what they want to do, they just don’t think they can do it or they’re not sure how. A lot of people really do have that long-held dream or desire they’re holding onto but they don’t do it because they don’t think it’s possible. Your thoughts?

  2. says

    While I don’t usually get 8 other hours, I do the most with what I get.

    This makes me think of one of my favorite quotes.

    “You’ll never crush your own mediocrity working only four hours a week.” ~ Robert Bruce

  3. says

    Love it Joel – that’s a real ‘glass half full’ rather than ‘half empty’ way of looking at it. And of course you’re right – that’s 8 hours a day – you can do a lot of positive things in 8 hours. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. says

    This reminds me of the people at @workisnotajob they do great pieces of inspiration about getting up and doing “what you have always wanted to do” — using these “EXTRA 8 hours” seems like a good way to get that done!

  5. says

    I tell ya, it is amazing that you pretty much waste 40 hours a week, doing nothing.

    When I was at my last job, I was up at 6am to be at work by 8am. Worked til 5 then took another hour to get home. 12 hours of my day gone right there. Add sleep, and I was left with 4 hours a day, typically between 6 and 10pm.

    Mix in there having dinner with my wife, unwinding from work and Southern California traffic, I realistically had 3 hours.

    But dammit, I made a conscious decision to make the most of them. I started Operation: Consolidation. I prepared the house for us to move, and packed us along the way. Mix in there gym time, and it made it a crazy 3 hours, but you go to bed feeling like you accomplished something aside from a paycheck.

    Thanks for the reminder to use the whole day to your advantage

  6. says

    Great post Joel. This is the attitude I operate under and have started a couple businesses this last year all while working full time. It’s all about the hustle – how bad do you want it?

  7. says

    Hi Joel – great post. Really puts a positive spin on getting things done.

    One thing I would say is that I don’t know anyone who only works 9-5. And this is where the challenge lies.

    Typically doing anything other than work requires a big chunk of sleep to be lost.

    All the self made millionaires I know have one thing in common – an immense capacity to work long hours with minimal sleep.

    It is a rare person who can succeed in their own right without sacrificing their health to some extent.

    To me, this is a sacrifice worth making. For most people, it isn’t.

    • says

      I’m prone to workaholism. I gave it up last summer and decided to leave work at 6 no matter what. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you give yourself a hard deadline & prioritize the really important work. I think minimizing sleep can help with getting more than just 8 hours, but rest is important and I think you can be successful without losing control of your health. Once again, it comes down to priorities & what you make time for.

  8. says


    You’ve touched on an area very near and dear to me! I think the “other 8 hours” are the key to personal happiness and professional success. I believe that so strongly, I wrote a book :-) called “The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose (

    Nobody has eight hours of free time, of course, but even if you have 20 minutes or two hours a night, you can begin to invest it. Think about it . . . you lose 8 hours to sleep, you sell 8 hours to an employer, so that leaves just the other 8 hours to grow, advance, explore, and have fun.

    If you invest this time into worthwhile endeavors, you can radically improve your life.

    Great post!

  9. says

    So glad you said this. Anytime somebody tells me they don’t have time I want to scream “You’re just fu#$#ing lazy.” But I keep myself from doing it. As you noted above, when you break down even an hour a day it adds up over time. I was just talking to a friend about this the other day. He was telling me that he didn’t have time to work on something that he’s been really wanting to do. I told him “you don’t have to do all of it in one day you know? You just have to do some of it EVERY day.” I don’t think it’s that people lack time, it’s they suck at managing it. This is a subject that’s of real interest to me Joel and I might even be interested in writing a series with you on the subject. In the process maybe we can kill the 8 hour workday 😉

    • says

      I feel the same way :). There’s always time. I think a lot of people are operating out of the fact that they don’t know that time can be managed. Once they realize they control how they approach their work & allocate time, you start to see their behaviors change drastically.

    • says

      You’d be surprised at the number of people who actually get mad at me for suggesting they have free time. I’ve received countless emails, message board posts, reviews, etc. from people hammering me about this. I’m too nice, but I’ve often wanted to write back saying “If you’ve got time to complain that you don’t have time, then doesn’t that mean you have time?”

  10. says

    This post was a great motivator for me. Thankyou. Organization is not my strong point, so I am constantly struggling with getting behind in my homework, now I have to help my son get caught with his homework, and try to think about finishing whatever other projects to finish, I get caught up in “that is impossible”. Your thoughts about finding the 8 hours is really helpful to me.

  11. Richard says

    I stopped watching tv, started a blog, a soap co, and have inspired friends and family to do the same. I am living proof that if you work non stop you can achieve some awesome stuff.

    Right now I’m learning the art of perfuming, which is related to soaps and small scale personal care product manufacturing. I never thought that 3 tears ago I’d be building a mini factory and producing the things I’m doing.

    People are generally surrender driven and have been defeated before they even take 1 step forward. They’re apathetic and slothful. I just can’t live like that, looks like you can’t either. Excellent post!

  12. says

    This is a great post Joel. I know that I’m prone to time wasting, but being essentially self-employed at the moment, I realise how much time there is in a day.

    I’ve always wanted to be able to do more in a day, but I sometimes would find myself burning out, and then, because I don’t sleep well anyway, I have a hard time recovering. Do you have any tips for that?

    Thanks. Great post, very inspiring! :-)

    • says

      Polyphasic sleeping is an interesting method that I’ve heard people have moderate success with. Basically it lets you get by with sleeping a few hours a day by doing scheduled naps. Interesting philosophy but I’ve never tried it myself.

      As for procrastinating, just pick one thing. 1 thing. Then get it done and do the next thing. Don’t focus on the million things you have to do or you’ll never do any of them.

  13. Tarulatha says

    Came across your blog when I was searching for the book by Robert Pagliarini – “Your other 8 hours”.To me, its not about the time that you have, its about what you do with that time with the limited resources and domestic constraints that one faces in life.I wish there was someone or some kind of a road map that could help to show you the way to use this precious time that life gives you.


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