It is an unwritten rule that someone set in stone a while ago.

It might be time to break the tablet in two.

Here's the basic idea.

To start a successful company, you have to work at least 100 hours per week.

Elon Musk did it. An entrepreneur who called me just a few minutes ago did it. Marissa Mayer pretty much encouraged it or said it was a good idea.

You hole up in an apartment somewhere and focus on a computer screen, or hold 20 business lunches in a week. (By the way, lunch is only once per day, usually.)

At one time, it worked because there were major differences in how we communicated even a few years ago, there were few services that could help and not as many innovative apps. We had to make a lot of phone calls. Texting was hardly a viable option even a decade ago, or at least it wasn't as common like it is today.

Yet, we're living in the different age.

Working 100 hours, as I've explained before several times, is a bit like trying to build a yacht by yourself, one plank at a time. Sure, you can to get up early in the morning, then you have to work all day, then you have to stay up late because that's the only way to build the ship. It is not that efficient. Also, it's maybe a little crazy.

Here's a good example of how things have changed.

Lately, I've been using the FancyHands service more and more. These assistants can take on any task at any time of the day. For example, I can ask an assistant to process a bunch of email pitches for me or set up my schedule for a conference. So far, I have saved exactly 43 hours by "hiring" these assistants to help with my daily job duties.

One of the biggest changes, certainly since Elon Musk started his first company, is that we can talk to bots now. I use Alexa on the Amazon Echo speaker and Google Home all day to set reminders, check on the weather, and even order products. Not typing up all of those requests likely saves me a good five hours or more of work per week (seriously).

Hiring an assistant, talking to bots--they help save time. But AI is changing the 100-hour work week rule for entrepreneurs more than anything.

One of my favorite time-saving tools is Microsoft MyAnalytics, a dashboard that helps you determine how much time you spend on email, if you need to attend certain meetings, and your overall productivity effectiveness. It analyzes your work and can make suggestions on how you spend your time each week.

I haven't even talked about pre-ordering an Uber so it is waiting for you on the curb after a meeting, or the fact that connected car technology will someday make it possible to drive the perfect speed from one location to another to drive traffic, based on machine learning. I haven't mentioned how computers are much faster, that smartphones have apps for saving time, or that airlines are about to offer reliable, high-speed Wi-Fi.

Right now, there are countless AI assistants, time-saving apps, and other digital aids that can radically reduce the hours you have to work to start a company. It's all about working smarter, choosing the right services, and refocusing on the important tasks.

Let the bots do thew work, OK?

Published on: Jan 11, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.