On Working Less: Two Hours On, One Hour Off

The traditional American way of life teaches us that most work falls on weekdays, roughly between the hours of 9-5. I’ve never been a fan of these constraints, so the ability to choose how and when I work was a big catalyst in becoming my own boss. But guess what? I didn’t embrace the freedom I’d given myself. Instead, I subconsciously slipped into the typical 9-5.

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In fact, it wasn’t until I hit burnout and was forced to slow down, that I realized what had actually happened. You see, the healing process didn’t allow me to work long days, which at first, made me feel guilty as hell. But after awhile, shorter days became normal and clarity set in. I realized that I was the designer of my own life, including the hours in which I worked.

So I spent the next several years working shorter days and not feeling sorry about it. But once the side effects of burnout subsided, I started squeezing more work into the same amount of hours, thinking I could handle it. Soon enough, half days started feeling like full days, and I was back to feeling absolutely exhausted.

Since then, I’ve come to learn that it’s not always about how LONG you work. It’s about HOW you work. You see, while some of us are natural pace setters, some of us can’t help but sprint towards the finish line. I personally fall into the latter category, so I’ve been trying something new in order to relieve some of the accompanied fatigue. I’m calling it ...

TWO HOURS ON, ONE HOUR OFF ...

This approach unfolds just as it sounds, where I’ll work for two hours, take one hour off, and repeat, with a goal of 4 work hours total on any given weekday. So far, this method has been an absolute game changer. Because now, instead of moving fast throughout my usual four hours, there’s a natural break where I’m able to leave my office and do something else.

During that time, I’ll typically have lunch and practice yoga, read, or do anything that’ll slow down my working mind. Then, when I come BACK to my office, I’ve essentially reset and am ready to work through the remaining two hours at a reasonable pace.

I realize that this approach may not work for everyone or some of you may even be thinking “duh Breanna, I already do this.” But either way, I wanted to share this with you as a simple reminder that YOU are the designer of your own life.

Whether you work for yourself or not, think about what kind of small changes you can make to better the WAY that you work. Maybe you adjust your schedule to account for your most productive hours. Or maybe you add more breaks into your day, even if they’re quick. Start in whatever way that you can and know that sometimes, the simplest adjustments can make all the difference. So why not give it a try?

Please note: This post was originally published in the Rowan Made newsletter on March 21st, 2018. If you like what you see, you can join us (most weeks) right here. There are no opt-in promises or fancy worksheets on the other side. Just me, being honest with you.