Balancing Work Schedule with Life Schedule
When you think about the circadian rhythm inside every human body, it makes a lot of sense why we sleep at night, and are away during the day. There are all kinds of things to suggest why we do this and why we eat at the times we eat. But if you look at a 7 day week, it’s rather odd that someone one day decided to make its employers work 5 out of the seven days. Are there research studies I’ve missed showing how the human body performs best when it wakes up early 5 days a week, then sleeps in the other two? Is there some secret connotation tied to “the Mondays” that is actually positive and people are actually excited to go back to work? We’ve found that instead of this crash style work schedule that you have no say over (similar to a fad diet that only lasts a few weeks or months), shifting to a flexible schedule that allows for shorter but more productive work sessions allow us to get more done, remain excited about the work we’re doing, and avoid ever dreading Mondays or any other days for that matter.
What Kind of Work Schedule Are We Talking About
We are not simply saying to only work 3 or 4 days a week, because that would create the same type of “gasping for air” feelings that people get with their weekends. Which often lead to binge drinking and less than ideal eating and shopping habits. Most of the time we actually work more than 5 days a week!
What we’ve been finding since leaving our 40-hour/week jobs almost two years ago now, is that eliminating all forms of rigid time frames helps allow you to work when you feel the most inclined. Now I know a lot of you might joke that “I’d never get anything done.” But as harsh as this might sound, that’s usually the ego talking, and its often simply trying to be funny for others. Deep down inside just about all of us, we have a strong desire to do good in the world. Make a difference, leave a legacy, help others, and all of these require action. Action that you will naturally be motivated to make once you align yourself with your true passions and eliminate the limiting beliefs that might be holding you back.
When you free yourself to work out of passion and desire to achieve more, it will no longer feel as forced. A good analogy would be the 300 soldiers who fought under King Leonidas, vs the soldiers who were forced to fight under the Xerxes. This internal drive will have you fighting for more, and you might (like we often do) hate when Saturday rolls around because so many things close and you now struggle to get all the things you want done. Bottomline, we end up working 6-7 days a week, but our days will consist of 0-8 hours of work each day.
Won’t I End Up Working More Than 40hrs Each Week
Let’s first ask, “Do you really think you only work 40 hours/week now?” Think about the time it takes you to commute each day, that unpaid lunch that isn’t quite long enough to go anywhere so you just hang out in the lunch room, all the time spend telling your family stories about what’s going on at work, maybe even extra time you put in to prepare for that deadline, prepping for that promotion interview, or simply checking your emails on your phone after work hours. These run the time sheet up pretty high, and these are all going towards someone else’s dreams of building a company and making money. Now for most of you, there will be lots of side projects that you have going on, maybe its a side business, maybe its taking up a new hobby or sport, maintaining your home, shopping for new toys, or a whole slew of other things that likely interest you more than your job. Now if we consider all these things work (essentially they are all things that either make you money or save you from paying someone else to do them), I’ll ask you again “Do you really think you only work 40 hours/week?”
By shifting your time and effort to things that get you excited, you find it less obligatory and liberating to spend time on them. Once you’ve identified these things and MADE the time for them, find a way to monetize off it will often come quite naturally if you’re willing to learn. In the end, you may very well spend 40 hours each week working on them, but they will likely fly by and you’ll be asking for more time if you have found a true passion of yours.
Let Loose on the Weekends – It’s Always a Weekend
Considering we majority of us went to school 5 days a week for fish hours each day, we’ve been groomed from a very early age to think this schedule is normal. So when you look at this new flexible schedule, it might seem as though you are losing your weekend. I can’t let loose, go out drinking, eat like garbage, and forget about work. There’s two major things wrong with this outlook.
First, weekends can be whenever you want them to be. If all your friends (still working mon-fri) want to go skiing one weekend, then go, and come back to work when your ready. But at the same time if you’d rather escape for a quite weekend away with your spouse, tuesday-wednesday might make for an even better weekend. You aren’t losing your weekend, you’ just now have the freedom to choose when that weekend comes, and that can be an uneasy feeling of responsibility for people.
Second, going through the 7 day cycle of working 5 days at a job you don’t love, then binging on the weekends to keep your sanity, spend time with your family, is pretty much the exact same as eating only dry salad during the week, and pizza and cupcakes on the weekend, then expecting to lose weight. It’s difficult to maintain if you even manage to see a hint of results. Having a steady, flexible schedule allow you to go out for drinks whenever the occasion feels right, we’ve spent significantly more time with each other since ditching our corporate jobs, and time management feels about as natural and healthy as it possibly could.
Same Scheduling Concepts Apply for a Calendar Year
If you look at the average vacation allotment that most corporate employers offer, the average is between 2-3 weeks each year. Again its crazy to think that someone wanted us to work hard 50/52 weeks each year, and we all bought it. We won’t even get into the whole process that some people have to go through in order to get it “approved,” but this obviously has some of the same pitfalls that a 5/2 work week has. You work way too hard at something you don’t love, for way longer that you wish you had to, and come up for a gasp of air for a whopping 3 weeks each year. Studies are out there, both third party and internally done, that show workers are significantly more productive if they are allowed an unlimited amount of vacation. Giving them the responsibility to choose the amount that is right, will boost productivity, creativity and employer retention. Yet hardly anyone but innovative startups are offering such things.
A flexible work schedule allows much more freedom when it comes to choosing when you want to go on vacation and for how long. And when you begin to see vacations not as an escape from the real world, but an expansion of it, you really see the value of taking that extra time to chase your dreams. Remember, no one ever lays on their death bed wishing they’d worked more.
Why are we sharing all this? Is there some sort of sales pitch coming? No. It was just an interesting conversation we’ve had a couple times with a few different styles of people (some very into the entrepreneur lifestyle, some incredibly loyal to the corporate world), so we thought we’d share some of our thoughts, and welcome any discussion on here! We obviously made a major switch to a remote lifestyle, but one of the greatest things we adopted was a flexible schedule that could have as much or as little structure as we saw fit, given that time, date and place in our lives.