Yesterday I re-tweeted this:
You have to admit that the fact people are willing to work twice as much just so they can work what they want is ironic… and kinda logical. When you do something you love, you gotta pay the price. Right?
Wrong. Let me tell you how I’ve been forging my way to “work smarter, not harder” and “to work better, work less“.
(Because you are the gate-keeper of your time, nobody else.)
First, remove distractions.
Within a few weeks of installing the Slack desktop app, I realized it’s killing most of my productivity. So I muted notifications and started turning it off around 5 pm, and guess what? Nothing happened. Nobody complained about my not being there and I didn’t miss out on anything… much.
Another distraction is twitter, but this one I choose to keep because it actually brings me joy. (You win some, you lose some.)
So make a list of your distractions and take them on, one by one.
And remember, sometimes you convince yourself you’re hustling, but you’re actually suffering from “busyness” – keeping busy, but not doing much. To avoid this, make sure everything you do is important.
Second, disconnect on the weekend.
Unthinkable? Maybe at first…
But before you can learn to “work smart” and have “work-life balance”, you have to start small. Think about it – the weekend was always meant for rest. A lot of other entrepreneurs and freelancers do it, so why not you?
As soon as you see how good it feels to take a break and return at full speed to your work on Monday morning, you’ll be ready to take this all-important step. And even if someone wants to reach you on the weekend, they can use the phone, or get used to the fact you’re off on weekends.
(And it won’t be the end of the world if you check your email or social accounts Saturday morning or Sunday evening. We all slip up.)
Third, free up your evenings.
Once you have experienced the pure bliss of free weekends, you’ll be more willing to take the evenings off as well. If you don’t have much of a life offline – like the author of this article – you’ll be less likely.
You know what helps?
Having another little obsession curbs the first one.
So after months and months of throwing myself in work, I realized… I had completely ignored my book. And once I started working on that again, I just wanted to get work done by 5 pm every day, so I could relax and do some editing later in the evening. Your mind and body know what you need.
It’s a matter of making sure you have a healthy, balanced regime.
Fourth, be selective.
I used to say yes to any work that came my way, but eventually it got exhausting. Can you imagine working three jobs and squeezing two more projects whenever you have a free minute? It’s madness.
So next time you want to say yes, watch this:
And think about the time it will take. Really work on your schedule.
Take the final step…
…if you want to take it. In my case, my days are free enough as it is without adding a third day of rest. I mean, if you’re working like crazy every day, you might want to add a third day. And that day might as well be Wednesday. And you can apply it at your company if you’re the boss.
I’m not fully sure I understand this new frame of working or if it’s going to become popular all around, but it’s worth a try.
What do you think? Are you brave enough to try the 4-day work week?
P.S. If you’re considering it for your company, read this article.
10 thoughts on “On My Way to a 4-Day Work Week”
I definitely used to fall into the ‘busyness’ trap. I’ve been making small but much needed changes to my scheduling. For example, I now don’t tend to have any meetings on Sundays, and I finish working at 9pm at the latest. (Some context: I have a full time job and own a business on the side). I’ve also kept up with theatre acting, which tends to knock out 4 nights a week when I’m in a show. I wholly believe in Parkinson’s Law and the absolute importance of prioritising. I have a checklist of 6 items per day (one of which is always a self-care item, such as ‘Exercise’, ‘Eat 5x fruit & veg’, or ‘Read for 30mins’. A lot of it also has to do with accountability. (Hence the lists, since I don’t have a family to be rolling their eyes at me).
Also, I’d draw notice to the fact this is only workable if you’re your own boss. 😉 However wonderful it would be otherwise!
Great blog. 🙂
Yep, totally. Only works if you can make it work.
Thanks for the great ideas! I have tried with lists, but failed, something about a piece of paper or note on the screen glaring at me, makes me want to procrastinate. I’ll have to figure this one out.
Now there’s a blog idea or two! I’ve been looking into productivity versus free time ‘hacks’ (for want of a better term), as well as that mythical beast – common sense in business. I’m in the process of setting up some webinars to that effect. Maybe we could do some sort of collaborative blog or bounce some ideas at each other at some point? 🙂
Maybe! Email me. 🙂
violeta . nedkova @ yahoo . com
I already only work 4 days every week, unless there is a huge bug or a timeline I’ve massively underestimated.
My Slack usage is slightly reversed, I don’t use Slack while I’m working as much as I use it while I’m not working. Slack is the only way you can reliably reach me to chat with me. I don’t have WhatsApp, Viber, FB Messenger or any other chat app I run with any regularity, don’t have them or Slack installed on my phone either. Don’t have Internet on my phone, so you can’t send me mail either when I’m not at home with my laptop.
That being said I’m on SSG for fun, as an admin and to help people out. I try out new programming languages for fun to do something I love that is not related and can’t be used for work.
Hey webhat! Funny, I remember you used to join a lot of Slacks. It’s SSG only now? I understand the need to be a part of something bigger, tho, it’s how I feel about Product Hunt. I used to spread my attention thin, too, between communities, but now I know better.
As long as Slack works, who am I to stop people. It has some awesome characteristics, so keep hustling and rocking SSG. Expecting great things. 🙂
Let us know how it goes 🙂
It’s funny, because I went quite the other way around. Initially, I was all against busyness (I called it busy-work) and was all about productivity. This was actually quite natural because I was freelancing, so there had some intense days of work, under contract, then free days, alternating. I kept this rhythm when I started to work fulltime for startups – doing my 8 hours super intense then taking free time.
What I noticed is that it was extremely stressful. Also, I tended to be a bit harsh with my coworkers should they ask me something, because I always felt like I hadn’t enough time. Nowadays, I can work almost anytime, but it’s always cool. I didn’t think I would ever say that, but I love busy-work 🙂 I also have the feeling I do more concrete things, when looking at results, but that may be biased (I have more experience than when I was doing intense work).
Anyway, just a personal experience, keep us posted about how it works for you 😉
Cool! Actually, I believe it depends quite a lot on the person as well. It might be working for me because I perform better when I have a concrete schedule. Or maybe the summer’s making me lazy. 😀
Whatever it is, I’m not complaining. And I know what you mean about concrete blocks of work. I’m actually that way with my book, or try to be.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Olivier!
This is awesome. I’ve been working on exactly this area of my life. Freeing up the evenings has been so relieving and turns me into a productivity monster in the AM.
Awesome, keep hustling in the mornings, Jon. 😀