Should startup founders take weekends off?

Sergei Timoshenko
22 replies


Iscu Andrei
@sergei_timoshenko, great question! I think this boils down to affordability: can they afford to? Usually, the founders have the drive and the vision that makes a startup successful. There's much to take into consideration before one could even ponder the possibility. Family, stress, costs, etc. My honest opinion is that they can't afford to. A small sacrifice in the begining pays off in the long term. But I am interested to see different opinions and the considerations they are based on.
Sergei Timoshenko
@iscu_andrei When we were at the accelerator, many founders of successful startups spoke to us. All of them advised finding time for rest, time for family. They gave examples that they achieved better results when they spent the weekend away from work.
Iscu Andrei
@sergei_timoshenko I agree you need time off. Especially for family. But some of the people I know, do it daily (allocate time, 2-3 hours), for hobbies, family, etc. For sure, after a period of time you need a day or two to disconnect and rest. However, I'm not so sure about having a "hard" rule for weekends off.
Sergei Timoshenko
@iscu_andrei I absolutely agree with you about the "hard" rule :)
Michael Bogdanowicz
@iscu_andrei @sergei_timoshenko I am sure that you need to take rest sometimes. Because new ideas comes when mind is clear, not full of tasks.
Sergei Timoshenko
@mikhail_bogdanovich You are right, I completely agree with you!
Ruben Wolff
I would tend to agree with @iscu_andrei, although I would suggest to try going slower on the weekends, and to take the time to breathe. You want your startup to be successful, yes, but you don't want to burn out in the process
Sergei Timoshenko
@iscu_andrei @rubenwolff There is a perception that the potential to burn out is a big problem for many founders and their startups, do you agree?
Iscu Andrei
@sergei_timoshenko if you get lost in the work and forget to relax, yes, the risk is high. That's why giving a daily slot for relaxing activities matters a lot. You don't wait for the weekend when inevitably will end up working also...
Ruben Wolff
@iscu_andrei @sergei_timoshenko I would say yes, as they often spend a lot of time and energy into it (as they should, but when they don't take care of themselves at the same time, it can get problematic health-wise)
Renzo Brus ๐Ÿ’ปโšก
Mental health is fundamental ๐Ÿง  Take your time for family, friends and passions ๐Ÿ’†๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’†๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ
Dinakar Sakthivel
I recently 'had' to take a day off, so I did. The next day turned out to be my most active day since a long time. With that I decided to relax more on Saturdays and Sundays.
Alexander Moen
depends on your situation. I've run one part-time business on the side doing only 5 hours per week. It's mostly automated and has been growing decently over the years. That being said, it is not designed to pay for my life. I like having a business that can be sustained without worrying about taking money out or whether I have enough attention for it on any given week. I just feed the profits back into it and have been doubling it every year and will eventually sell it for a nice profit. If your business needs to feed you and pay the bills and provide security, then you should work hard as hell until you achieve the level of profitability needed for it. I am in this stage with another business of mine that I just launched. After it has grown enough to reliably take care of you, it depends on you and your goals. Some people want a simple and flexible business and other things are more important in life. For other people (like me) I have big goals and my business is the key driver to making those goals happen, so I'll always go the extra mile. I also never plan on retiring or stopping and am more concerned about leaving a lasting impact and legacy, so it'll be pedal to the metal til death for me. But, that's not for everyone. Despite that, I have, however, found that I get more done when I take one day off per week and don't think about work and sleep in twice per week. That is enough for me to recharge my batteries, take care of the other aspects of my life, and come back strong the next work day.
Arpit Mishra
It's a marathon...why not. I have been a fool working 7 days a week, to realise late that it just takes away the fun of building a startup. Weekends are for brainstorming, when you are relaxed you think about what went wrong or right in the past week. And come back stronger
David J. Kim
I wouldn't say "hard" weekends off because you have a lot of work to do as a startup founder (if your ambitions involve a large exit). But you shouldn't work nearly the same amount you do on weekdays either, otherwise the days will become a blur and you'll burn out. But spending 2-3 hours on Saturday and Sunday to brainstorm, plan, and just think higher level is super useful and you still have plenty of time to rest and relax.
Gleb Braverman
Yes, absolutely - we need to recharge.
Eugene Hauptmann
100% I'd go as far as actually make it part of the company's policy. if you're overworked or if you have a burnout it will end up costing you more than you think.
Erin McCune
Your brain needs downtime to recharge, and that's when you're able to think creatively, which you need as a founder. Do I take full weekends off? No, too much to do. But I do try to take at least 1-2 days completely "off" per month, and sleep in at least one morning per week. I also find that screen-free recharge times are critical (I have a membership to a local float tank center- 90 mins of sensory deprivation + epsom salts = bliss)
Mia Pham
Let's be real even if we do get the weekend off, we rarely take it. Taking the weekend or time off, I would boil it down to mental health. Can you continue and be happy? It gets to a point just continuing in a cycle of "trying your best" you become vulnerable to negativity and fall prey to your own thoughts and self-doubt. I've woken up in sweats because of my job and literally started working because I thought I wasn't doing enough and disappointing everyone I know. So sometimes the best thing is to step away then see things in a different light rather than be miserable even if it means taking the weekend or a whole workday off. I would sacrifice my income if it means I can step away to save myself. *I know that having the option to step away is a privilege and I acknowledge that I am extremely fortunate.
Sergei Timoshenko
@mia_pham You always need to find the strength to stop for a while. This will provide new opportunities!