Since initially writing about my three day workweek I’ve had a few requests to shed some light on how I’m doing it. I’ll preface this by saying I’m making less money now than when I was working five days per week, but the tradeoff in additional time with my family and friends (when they’re not working) is well worth it.
Coinciding with our move from North Carolina to Colorado in May, 2011, I was forced to make my workdays more productive. Getting a house ready to show, fixing it up to sell, then packing and moving across the country is tough to do, even on a flexible schedule, so I initially defaulted to working three days per week starting in April, 2011 when all this started happening.
After getting a taste of Colorado summers (one of the only places in the States less than 80 degrees this summer) I made three days my regular schedule.
I Work Every Day
OK, technically I’m working more than three days.
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.” – James Michener
My average week…
Monday is usually a day off but this week I woke at 5:15am and drove 20 minutes to do some rock climbing with Jon Dale (or Kevin Miller, Keenan Erwin, Jeremy Hamilton, Nate de Koning or anyone who’s available for that matter).
Jon and I climbed for three hours when Christine and the kids picked me up on their way to swim lessons. School starts soon and lesson will end but I’ve been spending Mondays at the pool then having a picnic lunch in a nearby park.
Christine went grocery shopping when we got back and the kids and I went on a walk only to get caught in the rain towards the end.
I grilled our dinner, hung out more with the kids then Christine and I caught a movie before bed at 9:30pm. I’m not usually a night owl and you’ll notice I’m up early every day to support my three day workweek.
I wake at
6:15 5:45am and walk to my studio almost every day. While my computer is starting I study proverbs for a few minutes. The book of Proverbs has 31 chapters which fit neatly into a month. Even if you’re not a Christian you’ll pick up great business insight from reading these every day.
After reading I quickly accomplish a few things before my girls wake at 7am:
- Respond to blog comments – I schedule blog posts to release at 5am ET nearly every day. Since I’m two hours behind on Mountain Time, plenty of comments have already been posted.
- Clean my email box – clients have responded to emails I sent the day before and I reply back where I can. Gmail helps me stay organized in my inbox so it doesn’t take me long. I try to respond to an email right away, but if I can’t do it quickly I set it aside for later in the day.
- Twitter – I respond to conversations and direct messages (emails within twitter). Hootsuite helps me see everything and respond quickly. I also check a few custom searches and use them as a “gather” activity to send new folks helpful content on my website. More on this in a future post.
- Shipments – Become a Coach is about the only product I’m shipping right now and I usually have time to put them together in the morning so Christine can ship them for me.
Just before 7am I head back to the house (I just measured and it’s a 45′ walk) to be there when the kids wake up. They know to stay quiet in their rooms until then and they’re usually pretty good about it. Christine’s not a morning person so I do this every day to let her sleep an extra 30 minutes or so.
Most days I’m back into the studio by 8am or so. Tuesday mornings are usually filled with coaching clients while the afternoons are booked with recording a few radio shows (Coach Radio and the No More Mondays Show) and later leading Free Agent Academy classes. This week I’m leading a Coaching, Marketing and Online class.
I try to finish my work day by 5pm but sometimes I work up to 6pm. Dinner, family and kid stuff follows for the rest of the night.
Wednesday is my biggest day for coaching and free consultations. Again, I’m up at
6:15 5:45am for my morning routine and it’s rare for me to do anything outside of coaching on this day.
Lately I’ve been great at getting enough sleep and exercise so I usually wake before a crescendo of birds tweeting (my alarm) sounds at
6:15 5:45am. It’s a great feeling and I get a ton done before the kids wake at 7am.
In addition to a few clients and free consultations, Thursday is a big day of blogging, writing and project work. I complete and schedule Coach Radio posts, any guest posts I need to submit, along with Need a Topic. Need a Topic is fun since I develop ideas throughout the week then knock out the next full week of posts in about 1.5 hours. I’m usually done by 5pm on Thursday and back with my family.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are full days and I stack a lot of work into them because they’re the only days I’m in my studio (other than early mornings).
Friday is another day I tend not to work but you know that’s not fully true. Again, I’m up at
6:15 5:45am to read and respond to email and blog comments.
Christine and I might take the kids climbing or hang out with them in the river for a few hours. It’s a lazy morning for us followed by a trip to the farmer’s market for vegetables and lunch. Wally’s Tamales is incredible if you come visit. I might find a friend to climb or hike with or get out on my own for a bit later in the afternoon. You may end up seeing a video about it the next week.
The same morning routine greets me again at 6am (I sleep in on weekends). I’ve found routines to be key in working a three day workweek. In 30 minutes I can reply to nearly everyone I need to, prepare a few shipments and promote some interesting things on twitter. I might even take the girls out climbing or hiking so Christine can have some alone time. We’ll usually get together with some friends or work on projects at home in the afternoon.
You guessed it, my day starts at 6am with the same routine. Sleeping late won’t exist in your life if you want a three day workweek. I try to give myself at least a 24-hour break of no email and that usually happens between Saturday at 7am and Sunday morning.
We’re off to church, back for lunch and will probably find ourselves doing some outdoor activity during the day; again, sorry if it’s blazing hot where you live . Sundays is always pizza for us and we try to do it with friends. At some point I try to jump back into my email on Sunday evening just to clear out my box a bit and prepare for the week ahead.
Three Day Workweeks are Tough
Working less than five days per week is not for the faint of heart. I have an ideal schedule that I try to stick to but it doesn’t always happen. A meeting might get squeezed in here and there but it’s just as likely that rock climbing will as well. Last week I was in the studio for only 2.5 days so I could fit in some rock climbing on Wednesday afternoon.
If you want to work your own three day workweek you need to be ultra-focused on what’s important, schedule it and stick to your calendar.
Increase Your Blog Traffic and Subscriber Count
At Need a Topic you’ll get topics, tips, & techniques three times a week to help you stand out from the crowd and actually make money from your time blogging. I cover writing, audio and video to help you become profitable. Try the 7 day free trial.