9 Comments

Summary:

Much of the working world revolves around the seven-day week: five days on, two days off (though web workers, as we’ve discussed, often work more than the traditional 40 hours). But if you’re an independent web worker, there’s no particular reason to tie your own hours […]

Much of the working world revolves around the seven-day week: five days on, two days off (though web workers, as we’ve discussed, often work more than the traditional 40 hours). But if you’re an independent web worker, there’s no particular reason to tie your own hours to the standard Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 work week. Over the years I’ve experimented with a variety of different ways of structuring my own time, and quite often I come back to taking a “midweekend”: one or two days off in the middle of the week, with at least some work on Saturday and Sunday. Seem nuts to you? Here’s the method to my madness.

The sort of work I do – software design and development – benefits immensely from being “in the zone,” with minimal interruptions from phone calls and instant messages. This state can be difficult to get to during normal working hours when clients are in their own offices; it’s much easier to achieve on the weekends when they’re not around to bother me. Saturday and Sunday tend to be my most productive days, simply because I have fewer interruptions from those working traditional work weeks.

Of course, taking Wednesday and Thursday, or Thursday and Friday, as my weekend, doesn’t mean that I can be completely unavailable to clients on those days. But it does mean that I can take advantage of the flexibility of web workerhood to be available while keeping most of the time to myself:

  • I simply avoid scheduling conference calls, online meetings, and so on for the midweekend days.
  • With a good system for organizing incoming email, I can monitor for urgent messages once or twice a day and leave the rest to wait until I’m taking a full work day.
  • Because I’m working to deadline and billing by the hour, it doesn’t matter when I work, only that I deliver.

In practice, I tend to work a few hours even on the midweekend days, but I’d be working a few hours on regular weekend days anyhow. So that’s a wash for me.

On the flip side, going grocery shopping or taking the kids to the museum mid-week means you get to avoid the crowds who want to do these things on their precious weekends. There are definite benefits to being out of step with the rest of the world. Of course, this doesn’t work so well if you want to go to sporting or entertainment events that only happen on the weekends – but there’s nothing to say that you have to take your recharge days on the same days every week. Flexibility is, after all, one of the best things about being a web worker. If you’re just recreating a traditional office environment on the web, you’re missing out on a lot of the fun.

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. I 100% agree with this method. Getting in Zone can come at different times during different weeks and you want to work when you are most productive and can focus. I took yesterday off at the last minute and today I feel completely recharged and like you I know I will be working a few hours one each weekend day.

    I know I do my most creative work during the night and weekends and I think subconsciously I know I will not be interrupted. During the day I am just waiting for the phone to ring and IMS to pop up.

  2. 100% agreed. I do my most productive work in late in the evening when everyone else is asleep. I also tend to let most phone calls go to voicemail when I’m working and check the voicemail and email hourly.

  3. Barbara Saunders Friday, August 24, 2007

    100% agreed as well. I discovered the beauty of midweek shopping and free days at the museum back when I was a waitress. I carried over the revised schedule to freelance writing work weeks. My stress level goes way down when I can get my life done while others are working, then retreat from the crowds and get work done while nine-to-fivers are standing in lines.

  4. I do agree with your method… It is great to have a mid week weekend and avoid the weekend traffic and rush

  5. i:
    work in the evening and weekends ( the noise is low and calls don’t exist).
    shop at midweek.
    go to mountain with my family on saturday ( normally the people in spain go sunday and shop saturday ).

    I work at home.

    Sorry my horrible english

  6. Webworking Hours « Web Worker Daily Monday, November 19, 2007

    [...] that it allows us in our daily lives. We can, if we like, rearrange our schedule to take a midweekend. We can work in bursts, schedule ourselves to start early or work late, or even (like Travis of [...]

  7. » Webworking Hours – Your Gadget Pro Monday, November 19, 2007

    [...] that it allows us in our daily lives. We can, if we like, rearrange our schedule to take a midweekend. We can work in bursts, schedule ourselves to start early or work late, or even (like Travis of [...]

  8. WebWorkerDaily » Archive 5 Ways to Rescue an Unproductive Day « Sunday, July 20, 2008

    [...] you’ve got the flexibility, just give up and let it wait for tomorrow. Declare an impromptu midweekend and head for the beach (take your Blackberry or iPhone with you if you must), knowing that your [...]

  9. Duh! Work in a bar or club. Weekends mean shit. That’s when you work. You want to cop off with a barmaid/man or Bouncer. Arrange your date on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. (Monday they’re all sleeping:)

Comments have been disabled for this post