4 Day Work Week

Like lots of people, I have a job that’s 5 days a week, Monday to Friday.

Every weekend I take some time to plan out the following week (what I’ll eat, what I’ll do, etc…), but a few weeks ago I got stuck. The events leading up to that point? A multi-month crescendo of feeling like 2 days off every week wasn’t nearly enough.

Sometimes, when I would end the week well rested, and my plans lined up perfectly, 2 days would be fine, but most of the time I’d feel like I had to make some impossible choice.

Rest and relaxation? A social life? Passion Projects? You can only pick 2! (or 1 if you have lots of errands to run!)

I decided I was tired of choosing and felt like it was time to try the 4 day work week. Basically my plan was to take all the hours I’d normally do in a week, and put them into 4 days instead of 5.

At first it sounded scary (working an extra 2 hours every day???), but a trip to the office helped me regain some perspective. Between commuting, preparing lunches, picking outfits, and transition times, I’d spend 7.5-10 hours a week just to be physically present at the office each day. Pre-pandemic, I was literally doing the same “scary” schedule, but with only a 2 day weekend! I could totally do this!

I made a new schedule: starting earlier, taking a shorter lunch, finishing a bit later. I moved my workouts around, so that I’d only have one during my workweek instead of 3. I also started meal prepping in such a way to maximize leftovers, and started being more regular with my sleep times. Somehow this new plan also means getting way more sleep overall, even during the work week. I now have 3 days without alarms at all, and only 1 day where I need to get to sleep early to get to the gym in the morning (down from 3).

Ok, this all sounds great in theory, but how is it working in practice?

Well, I wrote this on Sunday, after my first run through the 4 day week, and so far I feel more balanced than I did at the same time last week, but I feel like it’ll take a bit more time to get used to it and really say for sure whether this works for me or not. I’ll be checking in here once a week, so look out for that.

Some noteworthy things about the last week, in no particular order:

  • I got so much done at work! I expected things to be about the same, but I had a surprisingly productive week.
  • It feels a bit awkward announcing the new schedule to co-workers, especially when many of them are working 5 day weeks.
  • I had amazing workouts, since I wasn’t pressed for time.
  • I did a bunch of tedious but important house tasks on the weekend, that I would have put off otherwise because I want to have a life.
  • I planned a dinner with a friend.
  • I laid in the sun in a park and didn’t stress about all the other things I could be doing with that time.
  • I did some long-term planning that I’d been putting off for a while.

I’m curious to see what next week will be like, but so far things look promising!

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