Thursday, June 18, 2015

In praise of the 4-day week.

Back in Birmingham, working as a Science lab tech at schools I used to work 5-days, 40 weeks of the year, with school holidays off. But I also used to work at Nostalgia & Comics, blessed comic shop in Birmingham, every Saturday as well. This pretty much meant I used to do a full-time job like regular people do.

Up here in Pocklington, working as ICT/Computing Teaching Assistant & Technician I started off doing 4 and a half days a week, holidays and weekends off. Oh, the bliss of a full weekend, especially on the rare occasions that I managed to actually leave school on Friday lunchtime, where it would sort of, almost feel like a three day weekend.

But then Molly grew up and started getting to school herself, which meant the reason for me needing to leave school at a time to pick Molly up was no longer there. Hence as soon as she got keys I found myself working later. And later. And later. Getting things done, filling the available time and more. You know how it goes. Eventually I realised I was easily working at least an hour extra every day and shuffled my working patterns around to stop this. Hence I now work Monday to Thursday. Have been for more than a year now. And bloody hell, it's a wonderful, wonderful thing. Seriously, if you can do it, you should do it.

It takes a while to get used to sure enough. Suddenly Wednesday is no longer the middle of the week, it's the day before you get that Friday feeling, and speaking of which Friday is now Thursday. Which means you wake up on Friday feeling a sense of incredible freedom, full of potential. Well, that is, if you wake up early enough. I'd be awake to see Louise out, and then Molly out, but all too often I'd head back to bed and completely waste the morning.

The solution? Start booking stuff for Friday morning. Doctors, dentist, deliveries, whatever I could, just arrange it for 9, stick all the alarms on and get out of the damn house. And getting out of the damn house meant it was a day full of potential. Or, more to the point, a day full of writing. Friday became, and is still, my favourite day of the week. A familiar pattern developed easily. Get up, do stuff, fulfil appointments, get things that need getting, then it's off to the local bar for coffee, copious amounts of coffee accompanied by similarly copious amounts of writing. The reviews seem to flow better there, less distractions, more focus. Before I know it, it's midday and I'm caffeined up to the gills. By then it's time for home and the afternoon. Some days that can be a trip to Burnby Hall, the local gardens. Some days it's jump in the car and head further afield for an explore (always with the laptop and reading material of course). Some days it's stay at home and listen to Mayo & Kermode's film review on Radio 5. But no matter what it is, the day always seems to be full of getting stuff done. And anyone that knows me knows what a joy it is to get things done.

So yes, if you can, switch to a 4-day week. It's so brilliant that I'm trying to work out if there's any way I can manage to swing a 3-day week. Unlikely, but who knows.

Of course, all this free time means I simply have longer to work on writing. I love it sure, but there's a bloody good argument to be made that I'm actually working a LOT more now than when I did do a proper 6-days a week thing!

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