The Case for the Three Day Weekend

My friend Fred only works from Monday to Thursday.  In the summers, only Monday to Wednesday.  I considered his substantial business success and tried to square that with what I saw as fewer work days- and Fred is a manager to boot!

One day I just asked him, “Fred, what’s the deal with taking Fridays off?”  Not defensively at all, Fred explained that after 9/11 his whole mindset changed and he wanted to spend more time with his family.  The work part, that would have to figure itself out.  I was dumbfounded that such a profoundly successful guy would actually put his family before his job. 

Guess what?  It hasn’t hurt him in the least, from a career standpoint.  From a family standpoint as well, things couldn’t be better for Fred and his family.

Now consider your own work schedule: what if you could create a framework so that you, like Fred, could enjoy a three day weekend each and every weekend.  According to one top thinker, it might be easier than you think.  

I’m enjoying the interview with Graham Allcott of ThinkProductive in anticipation of the latest Productive Magazine.  According to Allcott, people should consider Fred as less of an outlier and more of a model for knowledge work.  

The argument goes like this:

1. Knowledge workers can focus and crank out work in just four days per week.  If they really buckle down, kill off unnecessary meetings and schedule in “I’m-not-available” time, all of their work can get done in four days.  While in the agrarian economy, five or six days were necessary, today’s knowledge worker only needs four.  He's like a ninja weilding a sword towards unncessary interruptions and scheduled events.  

2. A three day weekend allows for true renewal.  When you return on Monday, you’re fresh and ready to rock and roll.  You didn’t spend most of your weekend running errands or doing lower level tasks.  The three full days off work for your wellbeing rather than against it.

3. By only working four days, you focus only on what’s truly important.  I know that in my own life, if I have to get something done, it gets done.  I once had months to prepare for an exam for my professional license.  The extra time did nothing but encourage me to procrastinate and study at the last minute.  On the other hand, if I only had a month to prepare, I probably would have studied more.

So what do you think?  Wouldn’t you like to work just four days per week?  It is possible with a bit of planning, an appreciative boss (unless you are the boss), and a desire to experiment with your own productivity.

Now that's a kind of work experiment that I think I'll try on for size.  

Photo courtesy of FE