The Four Day Work Week?



Issue 216 of A List Apart is out, and Ryan Carson‘s article makes a lot of sense… not that I could ever accomplish that!

Working a four-day week is much harder if you run a service-based company. For instance, design companies will have to really work hard to keep a four-day week, simply because clients will expect you to be in the office five days a week.

Hah! Try seven! I don’t think I’ve gone one full day without working since I went full-time in my design business (I barely took maternity leave when I had my second child this past January!). I really wish I could do this, but I just don’t think it is possible for me to actually create a 4 day work week. A deadline is a deadline and if I take a project on and say I’m going to have it done in 7 days, I need it done in seven days (barring complications) or else I lose credibility (at least in my own eyes).

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.

Great point, but I think for many of us we strive to never fail, and to be as accomplished as possible; I know that is my focus at this point of my life. I should think that if I didn’t complete a goal because I didn’t work as hard as I could, I would be disapointed in myself. On the other hand, I also presume if I spend as much time working the rest of my life as I do now I’ll be regretting not spending enough time with my ever growing family!

I do love this article though, and I’m going to (try to) apply some tips soon. For instance,

“Only check your e-mail twice a day: The surest way to waste time is the ol’ Send and Receive button.”

Boy, do I need to follow this. I hit refresh prolly 6 zillion times a day (even though I know I don’t have to since gmail automagically updates your inbox for you!) to make sure a potential client hasn’t accepted a job proposal, or a current client hasn’t gotten back to me with pertinent feedback.

Of all the tips he listed, I do follow one of them most of the time, and that is “make lists”. The todo list is my best friend, and a quick glance around my house would show anyone my unabashed love of them.

I think this is a great read for anyone running their own business or freelancing/contracting, but I think we all need to remember that there is a dog-eat-dog mentality in this business and if you aren’t there when someone needs you – you can easily be replaced. Make your boundaries and schedule clear up front, and any worthy client will surely understand.

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