Productivity and the Four-Day Workweek

Do you have the nagging sensation that the more things you accomplish, the more that work seems to creep up on the sidelines, waiting to be done? Do you feel like always ending up with even more work piled up in your to-do bin? Ah, the ironies. It’s probably like the Murphy’s law of productivity. Something is bound to go wrong (or you won’t succeed in getting your stuff done).

Most of the time, it’s probably just a matter of perception. Of course you do get things done, but with the continuous stream of new things needing attention, there is the tendency to lose track of your priorities and the status of tasks at hand.

It’s interesting how a lot of websites, web apps and blogs focusing on productivity and GTD–getting things done–have grown in popularity of late. There are those focusing on time-tested ways of enhancing productivity. Then there are those that propose radically different ways of addressing productivity issues more effectively, usually called lifehacking, among other things.

One of the interesting ways (IMHO, at least) to hack your life is by hacking your workweek, which would usually involve reducing the number of days one typically works. Say, you work from Mondays to Fridays, then you could try to shift your schedule instead to working Mondays to Thursdays.

There are various ways one could go about with this, such as reducing the workdays, but not the actual number of hours worked. However, Ryan Carson of A List Apart would say otherwise–he opted for a four-day workweek without actually considering the total hours worked.

The problem wasnâ??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 wouldâ??ve motivated me to get things done more efficiently.

So hereâ??s the challenge: work fewer hours.

In many cases, productivity doesn’t always equate to number of hours worked. There are the good hours, and then there are the bad ones. Sometimes you get these magic moments and work up a day’s worth of creative work in a few minutes. And yet there are those times when you never seem to accomplish anything worthwhile for so long.

The keyword here is working smart instead of working hard. It’s all about efficiency, indeed. But we all know that, don’t we?

So what had become of the four-day workweek challenge?

Now that weâ??ve been working a four-day week for three months, weâ??ve realized that we canâ??t always get the same amount of work done. Letâ??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.

To each his/her own, I guess. For some, working less hours would mean working less, per se, or at least percievably so. But IMHO what matters is the quality of life–and thus, the quality of the ensuing work–that’s important.

Once we trained ourselves to stick to the four-day work week, the benefits were absolutely amazing. It was like someone had added another Saturday to our week! On Fridays, we sleep in, fire up the coffee around 9 or 10AM and then relax around the house or head into town to a coffee shop. It really is amazing.

We have more peace. More time to think. More time to enjoy life. Itâ??s fabulous.

In the end, life’s more important. We work to live, after all, and we don’t live to work. I could probably try the four-day workweek, but that would mean I’d be taking off three days from my current seven-day week (what about a six-day workweek, then?).

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