5 Reasons I've Implemented a 4 Day Work Week
Why it is important to have time to yourself
Read Time: 5 Minutes
3 years ago when I hired my first employee we were still working from my home office. I knew it would be an adjustment, not just having help, but having someone in my home almost every day. What I didn’t know then was how I really worked best and what my alone time meant to me. I had been working by myself for just about 4 years, so I had become used to that. The one huge change that I noticed though, wasn't that I was uncomfortable having someone there with me, and it wasn’t that I felt distracted having to delegate, it was that I seemed to be hyper focused on making sure that my own tasks felt “valid”. Like, if I was searching for inspiration for a partnership, I felt like that was a fun part of my job and that I shouldn’t be showing that to my employees. I should be doing something “harder”. And tasks that I deemed not “valid” to be doing during normal work hours were the ones that really inspired me and motivated me to continue creating in my business.
So, at first, this sucked the life out of me. I was uninspired and always had this extreme awareness of the perceived value (to others around me) in the work I was doing. I mean, I was used to floating around, working as I pleased, getting stuff done according to my own routine. So the change was huge. And at the time, I didn’t even know it was happening. I thought, things are changing and so am I… that’s why this feels different. It wasn’t until recently, maybe a year ago, I realized what it was. As a self-proclaimed introvert (most of the time), I LOVE my alone time and draw energy and inspiration from it. When I work in groups, teach classes or go to an event, I am drained afterwards. Don’t get me wrong, I still love all of those things. I just know now, that I have to have a happy balance of being by myself to be creative. When around others, I tend to focus solely on them instead of myself and what I am doing.
Originally, while we were working from my home, I designated a day that we all either took off, or worked from home. This was mostly so that I could go run errands or do things outside of my home without feeling like I was leaving everyone in my house. We moved into our office over a year ago though, and we still take that day to ourselves. I think it is amazing and necessary for so many reasons. Here’s why…
You have a chance to catch up on all of those things that typically nag you during the week. For me, this is stuff like laundry (WHO wants to do this on the weekend??), doing returns, making a Target run, sourcing props for a shoot, taking a meeting off site, personal appointments, personal errands (dry cleaning, car wash, banking, etc). Knowing that I have a day to do this stuff without feeling bad for leaving the office keeps me sane.
You have a mini break to look forward through part of the way through your week. I love Wednesdays because I know that I have to get shit done so I can breath a little on my Thursdays. I still do work related things on my days out of the office but I keep the fun stuff, like grabbing flowers for a shoot or picking up supplies for lettering classes, for Thursdays.
This is probably THE most important one of them all. Letting yourself reset so that you can be creative and open to inspiration. I personally find inspiration and my best ideas when I am alone. I do love brainstorming with a group, but to really hash it out and come up with those brilliant ideas, I NEED to be alone and I NEED to have plenty of time. So I often spend my day away from the office thinking about new blog post ideas, concepting shoot or project ideas, or actually shooting projects and posts. I also love to get out and browse shops to get inspired on these days. You never know when a little accessory or a cool book you find is going to inspire your next big idea.
There’s been research that has proven employees work more efficiently if given a shorter amount of time to do so, and a longer amount of time to be “off”. At some point in the week our brains are just too drained to produce anything of value anyways. It makes sense… doesn’t everyone want a 3 day weekend? Wouldn’t we all work a little harder if we knew that was coming every week? I know I would. And while we (at AFF) don’t take a “3 day weekend”, we actually take Thursdays to do our own things or work from home, I think it still applies.
It’s a great time to create for no reason. I’ve tried to do this daily, create just to create, but I find it really hard to set the time aside. So having a day with no agenda or deadlines gives you room to get creative. Get your paint out, try a flower arrangement, or even try a new recipe. Do something just for you with no intention of doing anything with the end product (unless you’re eating the food from the recipe you tried… do that).
So while I kind of filter through all of these, the biggest one for me is number 3; the time to reset. Some weeks I don’t have a day to myself because the week is just too jam packed and I can feel it come Friday. And of course, everyone is different, some people LOVE being in groups all day, every day. It is how they thrive. Even then, I think taking a day to do something different could be beneficial for extroverts… so instead of staying home they meet a group for coffee or attend networking events. I think it’s mainly about giving yourself the time to focus on what you need, even if it’s just for a few hours.
How do you guys schedule your work week? Are you in an office 9-5 daily or do you have more flexible schedules?