The Hours

As I’ve mentioned, I work from home, which gives me more flexibility than a lot of people have in terms of when and how I get things done. In the spring of 2010, I made an agreement with my company to work four long days instead of five days. It’s 5:00 a.m. until 4:00 or 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. We still have child care on standby on Fridays in case we need it, but most weeks I’m finished with work by Thursday evening. (Unless you count the million times I answer email between Thursday night and Monday morning…)

I had always assumed that I would stop this nonsense when John started school. With some changes happening at work it looks like I’ll actually stop a little sooner. I’m both sad about it and maybe a little relieved. Here’s a review of my experiment:

The Good. I’ve had more time to spend with John, obviously. Having a weekday with him to read, play, kick around town or just stay in pajamas has been a delight. And a three day weekend, as everyone knows, feels more like a break. By the third day, you can clear your head, rest, and be ready for a productive Monday. I actually really like the early morning work hours, too. Nobody else is working so there’s no email coming in, no IM, no yammer, no phone: just work. It’s nice to have those productive hours before things really get started.

The Bad.  Everyone I know is too busy, and I’m not trying to claim that I’m any busier than anyone else. Far from it. But having four long days at work and then John at home on the fifth day leaves me feeling like I have absolutely no free time before 8:00 at night. There’s just no give at all in the schedule – few lunches, no quick runs in the morning before work, etc. That can start to wear you down.

The Ugly: I don’t mind getting up to work at 5:00, but the unexpected and unwelcome side effect is that I now wake up at about 5:30 on the weekends, too. Ouch.

So, although I wouldn’t trade this year of Fridays with John for the world, I’m ok with going back to something a little bit more normal soon. Hopefully someday I’ll sleep in until 6:30 again.

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