Found this VERY interesting article about a guy and his wife who scaled back to a 4 day work week… Granted, they’re self employed, but some of the insights they gained from this change are inspiring and have correlations for those of us that work for “the man”. Here’s my favorite parts in case you don’t feel like reading the whole thing:
If you’re like most people, you’ve got too much to do and not enough time to do it. The e-mail inbox is always overflowing and the list of to-dos never ends. You always feel that twinge of guilt because you’re never spending quite enough time on what you should be. What’s even more frustrating is that the more you work, the more it seems there is to do….it hit me: there will always be more to do. Working more won’t change that. In fact, working more is actually counter-productive. I was starting work everyday at 5:30 AM and working till 10:00 PM, but I still wasn’t done with everything. If I was working those extreme hours and still couldn’t keep up with my to-dos, then clearly working more wasn’t the solution.
The problem wasn’t a time issue, it was a mental issue. I knew I had a whole week to finish my work, so I spread it out over five (or seven!) days. If I knew I only had four days to finish a whole week of work, it would’ve motivated me to get things done more efficiently.
So here’s the challenge: work fewer hours.
If you have a normal 9-to-5 job, you might be thinking “Well that’s great for you Ryan. You can control your work week. My boss will fire me if I propose working a four-day week!” And you’re probably right.
However, you can take the challenge in many different ways. Instead of getting into work early and finishing late, tell yourself that you have exactly eight hours to finish all your work for the day. Set a mental barrier at the end of the day and know that you will shut down your computer and pack your bags exactly at five o’clock. (emphasis mine)
When you tell yourself that you’ve only got a limited amount of time to do a huge amount of things, you’ll find it helps you focus and work faster.
Now that we’ve been working a four-day week for three months, we’ve realized that we can’t always get the same amount of work done. Let’s face it, there are only so many hours in the day, and if you work fewer days, you will inevitably not get as much done.
But in the larger scheme of things, does that really matter? Will we lie on our death bed and say “Damn, I wish I would’ve got more done at work?” I doubt it. (emphasis mine)
We have more peace. More time to think. More time to enjoy life. It’s fabulous.
What this article is really about is encouraging you to challenge what society tells you to do. Is it written in stone somewhere that “Thou Shalt Work a 40 Hour Week”?
A lot of the constraints and barriers we place on ourselves are completely unnecessary and even worse, keep us from being happy. My hope is that taking the Four-Day Challenge will help you enjoy life more and pursue what really matters to you.