Many of us probably feel like we don’t have enough time during the week to get everything done. When it comes to working, the typical 5-day 40-hour work week has been the standard for the longest time.
For many entrepreneurs, they find themselves working 6 or 7 days regularly just to keep up with all the demands and responsibilities. While flexible work situations like working remotely can allow you to get projects completed at any time of the day, you may even want to consider cutting down on your work week as well.
Recently, the prime minister or Finland proposed that the country switch to a 4-day work week or a 6-hour work day. She believes this could be ‘the next step’ in working life allowing workers to spend more time with their family and find a better balance. Europe as a whole seems to be trending more toward a shorter work week and or shorter work days as the norm.
This might make you wonder, could a 4-day work week work for me?
How Much Time Are You Really Losing?
If you’re considering a 4-day work week, you first thought may be, how am I going to get everything done? If you’re working 5-6 days per week now, the thought of dropping down to 4 weeks may seem like you’re losing a lot of time.
To test the theory, you need to get clear on how much time you’d be losing in a sense. Track how many hours your work per day on average or per week. I tend to work 5-6 hours per day but I work about 6 days per week. If I cut down to 4 days, I’d probably be losing anywhere from 6-10 of my designated work hours per week.
This adds up to even more time if I consider the entire month. Realizing how many hours you’ll cut it just one factor that comes into play
Can Your Efficiency Be Increased?
Just because you’re working fewer hours with a 4-day work week doesn’t mean you have to be less efficient. Since you know that cutting your work schedule down will decrease the time you can spend working, see if you can focus on working more efficiently.
I know most of us (self-included) are not productive 100% of the time during our working hours. Personally, I feel I get distracted way too much and do procrastinate sometimes. So it’s safe to say that my efficiency can be improved if I want to cut back on my hours but still get just as much (if not more accomplished.
The thing is, having a 4-day work week doesn’t mean you have to earn less. You can still earn just as much as you would with a 5 or 7-day work week so long as you’re efficient and make good use of your time. In my case, I could easily bump up my work days from 5 to 8 hours to make up for the other days that I’d be taking off. In addition, I can learn how to consolidate some tasks and automate other things.
How Would This Affect Your Work Flow and Results?
This is another important thing you should consider when deciding whether a 4-day work week is right for you. You’d have to learn how to make your business work in just 4 days out of the week. Your availability will become slightly more limited. This means you’ll have to schedule meetings and meet deadlines often within your 4-day window.
You may find that your inbox is overflowing after taking a Friday or Wednesday off and it will take you time to sort through all your messages. Again, these are things that can be worked through with proper planning.
Ultimately, you may be able to make this new schedule work for you. When you think about it, you can design your week however you want. You may want to take Fridays off or Mondays. You can even split your week up and work Sunday and Monday then Wednesday and Thursday. If you’re self-employed or calling the shots with your own business, it’s totally up to you.
How to Make a 4-Day Work Week Actually Work For You
If you feel this way of scheduling your work tasks will be best for you and your family, there are a few ways you can go about making the transition. Remember, you can likely make the switch without cutting back on your income.The obvious solution would be to consider working 10-hour days if you normally work around 40 hours per week. This could mean you work 9 am to 6 pm or something similar during those days.
Or, you can work on improving your efficiency and productivity in order to get more done in less time.
Work With a Deadline
There are so many benefits to working under deadlines. One of the main perks is feeling urgency behind what you’re doing which can motivate you to ward off any distractions. When you know you can’t continue working on a project tomorrow or just want to get it out of the way, you become more focused on getting things done within your time constraints.
Raise Your Rates
An easy way to get paid more without working more is to raise your rates. Have you done this lately? Make sure that you’re always developing new skills and finding additional ways to provide value for the people you serve.
I know a virtual assistant who used to charge around $20 per hour for her services and now she charges $60 per hour. Clients still pay the increased rate because she has an advanced skill set and always exceeds expectations.
Integrate Passive Streams of Income
Work on making your business more passive this year so you can adapt to a 4-day work week. You can do this by selling more of your own products and creating a sales funnel to market them, renting out something that you own, utilizing affiliate marketing, or using an agency-based business model where you broker the work and hire people to do it for you.
Hire a Strong Team
If you want your business to operate most days, you can hire a strong team to fill in at the times when you’re not working. Hire and train the right people who will keep your business running smoothly on the days that you don’t work. That way, your customers and clients will still feel like their needs are being met.