A change in pace – working only four days a week – but why should I justify it?

Now tell me, would you do it if you had the opportunity? Would you really?

Would you happily trade less money for more time? And if you did, how would you feel? Would it make you feel lazy? How would you react when everyone else was groaning about the long, last day of the workweek? Would you feel like you weren’t contributing to society and being selfish?

Working 4 days a week
My Friday workstation

My company structures its workweek to allow everyone to take a half day Friday (if they choose). Monday-Thursday is 8.5 hours which leaves only 4.5 for Friday. I drive about a 140km round trip to work each day. So it begs the question… is driving that far worth it to only work 4.5 hours? I think – no.

And yes, I could just tack an extra hour onto my 8.5 hour day, working 7-5:30 Monday-Thursday (plenty of poor sods do it), but I know that inevitably this would mean Fridays spent frantically catching up. And do I really need the extra euros anyway? When you factor in costs of fuel and car maintenance, I’m not adding much value. So no, I won’t be doing that. I will simply be working 34 hours a week from now on.

And then of course everyone asks you: “So what are you planning to do?”

Now, I do have a plan. I’m going to use my Friday mornings to write, something that has been neglected due to the tedium and chores of daily life.

But what if I didn’t have a plan? Why do people feel like they have to have some kind of plan? What if I just wanted to sleep in, relax, meditate, watch movies, read books… why wouldn’t that that be ok? If I could afford it, why not?

I feel like some kind of weird obligation has been drilled into us. The working day is five days a week. So if we are not working five days, then we must have some kind of reasonable excuse for it, like kids, or study or at the very least an intellectual hobby, like writing. Something worthwhile.

Otherwise you would probably be dubbed lazy, unmotivated or lacking ambition. If you said you were going to use the time to catch up with housework and other homely duties you would be scoffed. Everyone else manages to do those things and work full time, why can’t you?

So what is with the focus on work and making money? At a certain point it doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Why work all those hours just so you can afford to buy something that saves you time, simply because you spend all your time working?

I understand the need to work, to use your brain, to function in society. I think work is important socially, personally and economically. And I understand that some people are literally working to survive. But right now at this point in my life, if I don’t have to, why should I? I realise I am in a privileged position and I am thankful for that. It may not always be this way.

So I will work my reduced hours, live a more fulfilled life, maybe get something written in the meantime. But if I don’t, that’s ok too. Until a time comes that I need the time for something else, or I really do need to earn more money, I am going to use it for myself, to do what I love and to have some downtime. And I don’t think that’s selfish. I think that’s just part of taking care of myself.

P.S. On my first Friday off I wrote for five solid hours. I don’t feel like I ever achieved that level of work on a Friday. Loving life!

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One thought on “A change in pace – working only four days a week – but why should I justify it?

  1. kellyteitzel January 23, 2016 / 10:53 pm

    What a brilliant headspace! Congratulations on taking time for yourself.

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