In my new position as Director of Technology for Fortrus Financial, I negotiated for a thirty hour work week.
I have been interested in the idea for quite some time now, as it would provide me with more balance and flexibility, and I’ve heard it hasn’t been detrimental to businesses.
My brother-in-law has also moved in this direction in his position, but we’ve each done it a bit differently. He is going to work four 7.5 hour days and take off Fridays, and I am going to work five 6 hour days per week.
I’ve been doing this now for almost two months, and I figured it is time to make note of my experiences.
I feel as though my work time is more focused and productive. I still go through bursts and lulls of productivity, but I find it much easier to be productive and stay productive for a six hour day versus an eight hour one. Especially, since I’ve recently had jobs that tracked productive time versus unproductive time.
Part of what is helping has to be the new position I’m in as it is so varied compared to the one I was in previously. Each day allows me to choose my challenges, and that inspires productivity. So I can’t say that all of my recent productivity has been from the reduction in work hours, but some of it is likely due to that shift.
I suffer from depression and anxiety, so having more time to relax, unwind, and focus on taking care of myself is amazing. I have been finding myself more focused on wanting to improve my physical health recently and have been self-reflecting a lot more. This introspection helps keep my depression and anxiety at bay. Being more relaxed has likely been the largest noticeable change in my day to day life. I don’t feel as stressed, despite being in an executive level position with a great deal of responsibility and huge expectations.
Annie and I are working on our second novel, and I have been finding it much easier to be creative with my current schedule. I have even started working on a short story on my own, as well as considering other projects I’d like to put effort towards.
Yes, I make less now versus the last job I was in. The company I work for has to pay twenty-five percent less than they would if they had me for the full forty hours. This means that Annie and I are slowly having to tighten our belt regarding our expenses and the frivolities that we have become accustomed to. This is still in transition, and will likely be something we struggle with for a little while as we aren’t great at budgeting.
One change that I am not a fan of, but is just the way things are now, is that I have to commute now. Annie and I only have one car, and if I want to get errands done around my work schedule, then I need to drop her off at work. So even on days where I don’t have to go into the office, I’m sometimes commuting nearly an hour to work from home. I also am currently going into the office twice a week, and that means nearly an hour in the car between dropping off Annie and continuing to the office.
In trade, I probably spend nearly six hours in the car a week, where in my previous position that was one hundred percent remote, I spent none. It feels a little bit like I traded paid hours of work for driving, and I hate driving. This is probably the worst change, but I do realize that most people work forty hour work weeks and commute on top of that.
Not as Different as I Expected
When I was pushing for this option, I had expected that I would feel like I had a great deal more free time. I was getting ten hours back per week and, surely, I would get more accomplished in my home life, write more, and be able to learn some new skills with that time.
As much as it is nice to get that time back, I don’t feel like my life is very different. I still work Monday to Friday, and I do take advantage of the extra time, but I sometimes wonder if I wouldn’t be better off with the bigger pay cheque each month.
I am trying to work on thinking of my ten hours a week as “David Improvement” time. I am trying to focus on my health, my happiness, and my creativity. I am hopeful that over time, I’ll be able to work on various projects that I wouldn’t have accomplished otherwise by continuing to push myself to take advantage of the few extra hours I’ve gotten back.
Do you have or want an alternative work schedule? Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to talk about this more.