I’ll be honest, I’ve never had a job from Monday to Friday. On tour you usually work a two on, one off schedule. It’s required, because the days are long. I’ve always thought it was a decent structure for work. For the time being, I’m in control of my own time.I felt like I should be working the typical Monday to Friday. The ‘two on / one off’ schedule felt far too lax for real work.
Five days are a long grind. The work I produce on Thursday and Friday was lacklustre to say the least. I wasted Saturday on catching up with everything I neglected. On Sunday I was usually exhausted and dreading a repeat of the same routine.
Accepting the working week at face value felt wrong to me. Something that is ordinary, does not imply it is optimal. Remote & Flexible work is on the rise. There is an opportunity for us to discover our optimal work patterns. Business are becoming receptive to the idea that the traditional 9-5 is not optimal.
Knowing the best way you work will give you an unfair advantage in the new economy.
You can find powerful advantages in exploring a problem space that seems settled. By daring to be different, you expose yourself to the chance to find something new. Having a predisposition to exploration is an advantage. Cultivate it in all that you do.
You might start the exploration of optimising your work by splitting your days off.
The Light at the end of the Tunnel
I’m never further than three days from a rest day. Why is this important? Grit. Determination. The motivation to do things that push us. When a break feels close, it’s easier to push hard. It’s like the sprinter who can see the finish line. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is always in sight. There is no sense of dread.
It has a similar effect on me as ‘cheat days’ in diets. I am able to push off distractions, knowing in a few days I can indulge if I so wish.
Week Day Time Off
During the week everything is quieter. Business are open earlier, and for longer. Getting chores done is easy. It’s hard to let go of the idea of the ‘weekend’ being a ‘weekend’. No one wants do chores at the weekend. Having a day in the week that is free from other commitments helps get chores done. Leisure activities are off-peak. This costs less and are more enjoyable sans-crowds.
I like to wake early. It is a forcing function for productivity. If you’re working at 6AM, you’ve got no choice but to get it done. It primes the day for success. No one sleeps in and kicks ass. Seize your alarm and seize the day.
It’s hard though. It’s sometimes even demoralising. You can make it a lot easier by knowing a lie-in is coming. It’s rare I even take the lie-in when I can, but it helps to know there is one there if I need it. I am able to maintain the willpower and energy that’s required to do hard things.
To improve, you must be uncomfortable. To be uncomfortable, you must have a positive mental attitude. To maintain this attitude, you must rest. To maintain discipline, you must have resolve. To have resolve, you must rest. With regular rest, you eliminate failures of determination.
Weekend Work is Focused Work
I work on Sunday. No one needs you on a Sunday. You don’t get any emails that throw off your focus. There is rarely any emergencies. All that exists is you and the work. Use it to clean house. Finish the things that got nudged along. Get ready for the week ahead. Have something to show on Monday.
Maintaining the Machine
The conditions of your success depend on the maintenance of ‘the machine’. What is ‘the machine’? It is everything outside of the work. All the other things we must do to enable good work. A tidy home. An orderly mind. A healthy relationship. Administration.
Productivity starts with a haircut. Get these things done on a Wednesday and you’ll thank me. Cook a great meal midweek, and your spouse will thank you too.
You are in Control
Being self-employed, running a business, entrepreneurship. All are hard on mental health. It’s important to remind yourself why you chose this path. If you wanted out of the rat race, then stop to enjoy being out of the rat race. Put your emails down, and get outdoors. Remember the reason you did it in the first place. Be a little less dogmatic with your time.
Give yourself permission to be explore the way that you work. Question your assumptions. Start with splitting your days off. What if you started at 4am? What if you started at 11am? What if you worked for 3 weeks and then took a week off?
Find the secret sauce. Get the best out of yourself, and give the best of you to others.