Listen: We are here on earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different!
-- Kurt Vonnegut
Since late July, I have been working three day weeks. When this all started, I only meant to do it for the month of August, yet here we are at the end of October and only now am I gearing up to transition back to the five day week.
In my defense, I haven't been sitting around in my pants playing video games...well at least not all the time.
Monday, Tuesday, and Friday I have been working two separate contracts. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday I have been getting up to all kinds of mischief.
As a contractor, i work hard for my clients and do everything I can to ensure the very best ROI for them (their investment being my time). Sometimes this means working very long days, and sometimes it means unsociable hours - this in itself sounds like any job in the tech industry. But, one thing you do get with contracting is that sensation of an extra little bit of freedom and control. Freedom and control that until now, I have never been able to find; not back in the day when I used to run a board shop, not when I ran a small development agency and not in any full-time roll.
This freedom, combined with just about enough money to get by on has made for three months of happiness and satisfaction I don't think I have experienced before as an adult.
So I have spent some of this time on surfing in Cornwall, I spent some of it catching up with old friends and family. Some of it was spent playing the piano, some the guitar, some brushing up on my German (it's still piss poor) and some of it in Deutschland itself. I caught up on my industry reading, played with some new frameworks, worked on some side projects and considered at length how to improve the services that I already offer. I also sat around in my pants and played video games for a bit too.
As a result, I have been much more relaxed. I have been more productive on the days I have been at work, and have been learning new things at a rate greater than I ever been able to before.
There has been literally, no downside, apart from the fact my bank balance has been a little lower; a price worth paying in my opinion.
Now I am mega excited about getting back to work five days a week. Fresh, recharged and ready to go; I have some really exciting projects coming up. Then in 2017, when I am feeling a bit tired and worn out, I may taper down my hours again.
Long of the short, there's an enormous amount of benefits to working a shorter week, even if you only do it for a little while. Give it a try.