I work 5 hours a day, and I have never been more productive
There is something very wrong with the traditional 9 to 5: it does not work.
Scandinavian countries control the World Happiness Report - Norway as the third most fertile country in the world and Helsinki wins the title of best city for work - life balance. And their normal working week is less than 40 hours. They work whopping 359 times less the Americans every year.
How I started working 5-hour workdays (unknown)
When I retired in a major 2022 career to become a freelance writer, I wanted to continue working for eight days. I was a “real” full-time writer, after all, and I had to prove it by working just like everyone else.
That is, so that I could not.
I contracted COVID-19 in May 2022. After returning to work in June, I began to notice my focus and energy faltering. The doctor told me that it was brain fog - a common side effect seen in those who have contracted the virus. I knew I might have to take it down for a few months.
On most days, I could not work longer than five hours. But surprisingly, my productivity did not slow down with the decline in working hours: I earned the same income, met deadlines comfortably, and left the desk on its heels. achievement. My clients were just as happy as before.
But was my productivity skyrocketed just because of the rest I had to take while I was getting over it? I was skeptical. I decided to continue on the shortest workday, despite overcoming it in July. And I never go back to the eight - hour workday again.
8-hour vs. 5-hour workdays
I work in Pomodoros for everything - from writing to answering emails to networking. I monitor how many hours I work, what I work on, and how long I take to complete an action using the Pomofocus timer and the data it provides.
Before that, I worked eight or nine hours a day. But I was almost overwhelmed by the hard work I put in. “I may not have rested enough, designed well, or learned enough productivity techniques,” I thought.
It was rare for me to end days thinking, “if only I had more time” - because there were always some unexplored things on my to-do list.
Now, when I only work five hours a day, I notice that I am cutting off almost all activities. I know I only get five hours made more secretive with my to-do list: I better assign priorities, say no more, and sign up only for the essential meetings.
I work softer, not harder. The same tasks also take less time to complete now. I can write a well - researched 2,000-3,000 word article in half the time, which will give me more time to grow my business.
My relationship shifted to work. With just five hours I was led to say no to just doing interesting freelance writing works that would also pay off well. And instead of working up to 1m, I started asking for heavier dates (and my clients gladly agreed).
Nothing is as urgent as it seems.
Pursuing a more fulfilling life outside of work - with hobbies, socializing, going on long walks, playing the fiddle - gave me more confidence and creativity. mind. With more spare time and fewer hours attached to the chair, I was able to make room for personal passion projects like developing my newsletter (check it out here), working on my website (here), and laying the foundation for my podcast.
But it was not easy. I often felt like I could do more, make impractical lists, and find it hard to challenge my mindset about working. I’d like to share a few things that helped me, just in case you start thinking about trying out with the five-hour workday as well.
The movement of the mind
The biggest hurdle for me was not managing the tasks well in the limited five hours - it made my brain believe that there was no connection between the number of hours I worked. and how productive I am.
I can't overstate how important it is to change your mindset first - before you worry about the practical concerns. At least 81% of people spend less than three hours a day on creative work.
I recommend doing a time test to see how many hours you work in a day and how many of those are pregnant. You may notice, after several hours, that if you sit more just you will get a reduction in results. That’s when you know you should stop working for the day.
Work in your mind
There is a time of day when you work best. It may be in the morning before your children wake up, it may be late at night without any worries, or it may be late afternoon. You tend to do your best work in those hours and do more in less time. This is your best time to focus.
For me, it's easier to grasp the state of flow in the mornings. I make a conscious effort not to schedule meetings or in-person meetings in those early hours to make the most of it.
You can get these peaks of thought through trial and error or by using a time tracking app. Once you know your best hours, you should increase your day accordingly - direct your energy, not your time. (Here's a guide from Zapier on how to find your chronotype and record your productivity.)
Prioritize and value rest
When you carry your office with you everywhere, you need to be disciplined about rest. In his book, Rest: Why you get more done when you work less, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang talks about the importance of downtime and explains why work and rest are only complementary.
He broke the records of highly successful people from a variety of industries - from scientists to artists - and found a similar record: work hard for four to five hours, and spend the same amount of time relaxing. deliberate.
For people with less control over their work days, such as doctors and officers, Pang recommends taking long vacations without technology or using weekends to engage in enjoyable activities. it is also a bit physically and mentally challenging.
I set a hard date for myself to get up from my desk at 5pm and not check email on the weekends. It gives me plenty of room to relax physically and mentally, unplug a bit, and return to a more refreshed workout.
Plan your work day on purpose - and truly
As I began to notice the increase in productivity, I began to challenge myself to do more and more in those five hours. I allowed unnecessary tasks into my to-do list and set myself impractical expectations - which not only affected my mental health but also affected the quality of my work.
I quickly realized I was setting myself up for failure. I knew I valued quality over quantity, so I got picky. I would complete my to-do list into three items, estimate how long they would take me to complete, and add an hour of buffer time.
Here are my three golden tips for reasonable design:
- Estimate what you can do in a day
- Estimate the time it will take
- Highest disturbances during the day
You do not need to make it more complicated. Go easy on yourself, and make it a point to be more interesting while making your to-do list.
Five hours is enough (sometimes, it's more than enough)
Personally, my life turned upside down after I put in the five-hour workday. My mental health has never been better, and I have never been able to do so much at once. Now, my days have a place for spontaneity, daydreaming, and boredom.
If you are just starting to work out in fewer hours, I recommend taking it slow and customizing the suggestions in this article accordingly. do life. It's better to build a routine that works for you by trying rather than going around finding the perfect system that you can't stick to.
How many hours we work each day is a question that is of paramount importance today. It's time to ask better questions: how do you find more time to think? How can you reduce anxiety? How can you manage your energy well? These are the questions that we should all be focusing on.
This article by Rochi Zalani was originally published on Zapier's blog and is republished here by permission. You can read the original article here.