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There's a fine line between working hard and burning out--and where you fall on that spectrum has a lot to do with the culture of those around you.

On Monday, personal finance site WalletHub published a report ranking this year's hardest-working cities in America, comparing 116 major U.S. cities using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Gallup, and more. The ranking heavily weighted factors like average workweek hours, employment rate, and number of vacation hours unused, and lightly weighted factors like average commute time and share of workers with multiple jobs.

Here are the report's top five hardest-working cities:

  1. Anchorage, Alaska

  2. San Francisco

  3. Virginia Beach, Virginia

  4. Cheyenne, Wyoming

  5. Irving, Texas

Unexpected, right? I took a quick straw poll of Inc. writers and editors, and the most common guesses included Washington D.C. (ranked No. 8 by WalletHub), New York City (74), and Chicago (77). Austin, the top company on Inc.'s Surge Cities list of best places in the U.S. to start a business, came in at No. 9 on WalletHub's ranking.

In the report, a panel of academic experts wanted to make one thing clear: Working more doesn't necessarily lead to increased productivity. "We simply are not wired to be working constantly, and we lose valuable mental resources as the workday goes on (the problem is especially dire when we are behind on our sleep, to begin with)," wrote Stephanie Andel, an assistant professor of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Of course, launching your own startup takes a huge amount of work--and often, not a lot of sleep. You might be clocking in 80 to 100 hours per week, and in the early days, you'll likely expect your employees to do the same. Just make sure you're doing all that work in the service of something fulfilling and worthwhile. Otherwise, you're simply working for the sake of work. Those are bragging rights nobody should want.

Published on: Feb 25, 2020