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How to get rich without overworking yourself

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Barbara Corcoran has an unpopular opinion that sets her apart from most millionaire entrepreneurs.

“I don’t agree that you should work your buns off to get rich,” Corcoran, the founder of real estate firm The Corcoran Group and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” tells CNBC Make It. “Never entered my mind my whole life. And I’m rich.”

Corcoran certainly worked hard to reach her current status: The 74-year-old investor struggled with reading and math in school due to dyslexia, and used problem-solving skills and resilience to create her own lane in real estate at age 23. Almost 30 years later, she sold her firm for $66 million.

But she never put her work before other aspects of her life, like family, health or time off, she says.

Some of the world’s most prominent business moguls seem to opt for the latter. Elon Musk practically works every day of the year, except for “two or three days,” he told CNBC’s David Faber in May. But lately, the billionaire has signaled that he sees the value in slowing down.

Self-made millionaire Grant Cardone has encouraged working 95 hours per week to attain a seven-figure net worth. “If you can outwork the rest of the population, you’re going to get lucky,” Cardone told CNBC Make It in 2017. “If you gave me $5 billion, I’d still be grinding tomorrow.”

How to get great results without sacrificing work-life balance

People who work long hours are at a higher risk for ischemic heart disease and stroke, according to a May 2021 report from the World Health Organization and the Internal Labor Organization. What’s more, productivity declines sharply when a person works over 50 hours a week, according to a 2014 Stanford study.

Corcoran suggests you ask yourself two questions that will you help focus on working smarter rather than just working harder:

  1. How could I do even better tomorrow?
  2. How can I do better than my competition?

Then find sustainable ways to act on the answers you come up with, like by completing tasks one at a time and taking breaks when needed.

People who follow this plan “become rich,” says Corcoran. “The money comes and finds them somehow.”

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”

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Why Barbara Corcoran doesn't save money — and how it's made her rich

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