What would happen to my business, my income, and my life, if I went from working full-time hours to part-time hours?
That’s what I’m about to find out!
Starting today I’m going to chop 20 hours off my working week, which means I’ll be working just 25 hours a week rather than the current 45 hours I ‘clock in’!
The initial experiment will last one month, and if it’s successful (my business doesn’t go bankrupt and my family don’t get sick of me) then I’ll make it a permanent change!
This is a big deal for me, and something I am both excited and nervous about…
Less work = more time to enjoy living!
Working 5 full days & over 40 hours a week, and only getting 2 days off doesn’t see like a good trade to me. I enjoy the work I do, but there’s a lot more to life than just work!
I’m hoping that reducing the hours I spend building my business will give me a better balance, and the time to focus on what really matters to me and my family.
And even though I’ll be working 20 hours a week less I’m hoping to be able to maintain my current income (& maybe even increase it) by working smarter, rather than harder.
Time freedom v’s money
“Time is more important than money, and experiences are more valuable than things”
I think most people would agree with the statement above, so then why do we spend so much time chasing more money which we use to buy more stuff?
Probably because society tells us that’s what we are supposed to do – it’s what our entire economy is based on!
I realize I’m lucky. I run an online business which means I can choose the hours, and days, I work. Plus most of my income is ‘passive’ rather than client based which gives me even more flexibility.
But even if I had a regular job I would seriously consider reducing my hours, even if meant taking a pay cut (or even better – negotiate to be paid based on outcomes rather than time spend staring at a screen).
I’m not advocating that everyone should quit their jobs & I don’t think money is evil. But also I don’t think work, or earning money, should be our primary focus either. There’s no point working 60 hours a week, if you don’t have the time or energy to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
What am I chasing & what really matters?
If we never stop ask ourselves ‘what am I chasing?’ & ‘what really matters to me?’ then we’ll never own our own lives and will end up following someone else’s version of success.
I recently asked myself these two questions, and started to think about what I wanted in my life. I realized I had my priorities out of sync, and had been focusing too much of my time and energy on my work, and not enough on really living life to the full.
Life is short. I don’t want to wait until I retire to ‘enjoy the good life’.
We are more than our jobs (or we should be)
It’s easy to get sucked in to the trap of being defined by our jobs – often the first question we ask people when we meet them is ‘what do you do’?
I know quite a large chunk of my self-worth is based on my job & my ability to provide for my family (I think this is probably something which is common in men especially).
I also know how easy it is to justify working harder now, in order to ‘enjoy the good life’ another day. But another day never comes. There’s always more to do. And it might be too late by the time you retire.
I’ve been talking about reducing my work hours for a while now, but I’ve always been able to come up with an excuse – I’ll do it when I’m earning $xx per month, I’ll do it when my income is more secure, I’ll do it when I’ve finished this project….But the ‘right time’ never comes. It probably never will.
Working smarter, not harder (earning a full-time income in just 1/2 a day a week)
On our recent road trip I worked about 1/2 a day a week on average for 7 months and still pretty much maintained my income.
Whilst I need to put in a bit more than that for my business to be sustainable in the long-term – I probably don’t need to work 40+ hours a week.
By only concentrating on income producing activities, avoiding ‘busy work’, stopping procrastinating, saying no more, and eliminating, automating and outsourcing I am actually hoping to improve my productivity (& income), while working less hours.
Where the 40 hour work week came from (& why it doesn’t work anymore)
The 40 hour work week, which is now a 47 hour working week according to Gallop, came about during the industrial revolution. Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motors, implemented the 8 hour work day, at a time when many workers were working much longer hours in factories.
He actually did it not just for the health of his workers, but also because he wanted people to have more time to buy and use ‘stuff’ – including the cars his company sold!
Times have changed, but most people still follow the same working pattern. 8 hours a day Mon – Fri. Most work now happens in offices rather than factories, and often doesn’t stop when we leave at the end of the day. The line between work and non-work has become very blurry, and many people end up ‘clocking on’ again to catch-up in the evening or weekends.
Some countries, like Sweden, are starting to experiment with a 6 working day. The results show staff are happier, more productive, and there’s less turnover – so it’s a win for everyone.
What will I do with my ‘free’ time?
I’m looking forward to spending more time together as a family – with more adventures, more fun, and more time in nature. I can’t wait to get stuck in to our veggie garden, and have the time to contribute to my local community more than I do right now.
Will it work? tracking my time & progress
I think Lara, my partner, has her doubts and probably think’s I’ll fall back in to old habits pretty soon, so we’ll see…!
To help me stay on track I’ll be monitoring my my time using an ‘timer’ app called Toggl, and reporting my progress on this blog.
Let’s see how it goes…