As I have stated before, I am aiming to achieve my goal of retiring at 40 whilst at the same time working a four day work week. Yes, I know it's insane but it's good to have goals.
Besides, if I miss it at 40, then I'll probably hit 45. But that figure isn't the most interesting one. To me the most important figure above is that I'll be doing it whilst working a four day week.
My four day work week started in September and almost as soon as I started doing it, I was blown away by how good I felt. I decided to take Wednesdays off to split the week up and just the thought of only ever working two days on the run, before having at least one day off, was probably the best decision I ever made.
I had various detractors including people saying "but then you get two Mondays" to which I counter "yes, but you also get two Fridays!" And besides, all the people I knew who took Fridays off wanted to have a long weekend so they could go away every now and again - unfortunately, they never did.
However, no-one said that a four day work week was bad and in fact, a good percentage of people started thinking whether they could do the same.
As it turns out, Wednesday, for me at least, turned out to be a magical day. Almost like going to Disneyland every week - it was a dream come true.
A Change of Lifestyle
Early on I realised that my life had changed quite dramatically. I finally had more time to do things. being able to cook more often, eat better and exercise more has been refreshing and of course, the ability to do other things I enjoy, like walking, cycling and taking photographs meant I was distinctly happier than before.
It came at a cost though and that was a financial one. My pay was instantly 20% pro-rata lower than it should have been. In reality it really didn't bother me as much as I thought it might since I had already altered my lifestyle enough such that I'd stopped spending enough money on frivolous things that it actually cover this difference. On reflection then I was no worse off than before (luckily I'd also had a pay-rise a few months earlier which also helped).
It Lasted Two Months
You might be able to guess that my four day work week is no longer - temporarily - but for the moment it is but a dim and seemingly distant memory. At the start of November, work asked me if I could go back to five days a week until the end of the year. It is only two months and I knew the question was coming anyway so I happily said yes since I like to think I'm quite agreeable in these situations...
...not that I knew what I was letting myself in for.
The first week seemed to go quite fast, the second a bit slower and now, in my fourth week back at five days, life seems to slowly grind onwards ever inching towards that singular Friday when I finally get time to myself. It's not so bad but I have already realised that my life is the worse off, in a number of different ways, for it.
I have less time, my diet isn't as healthy as it was, my exercise routine has waned and I feel a little more stressed about a number of things. I certainly have less time to do bits and pieces as you'll have noticed by the dip in the number of posts in November.
Now, I'm sure that there may be some readers who'll be saying "We've all got to do a five day working week so just live with it" but here's my case as to why I need a four day work week (and not just for mental reasons).
As a single guy, I inherently get less time than couples do (and here, I mean couples with no kids - couples with kids certainly get less time to themselves than I do). Let me justify that by saying for my situation, I'm the one who has to tidy the house, I have to do the shopping, I have to cook for myself, I have to do the washing up and the washing, I have to pay the bills and talk to the bank/utility/phone companies. Oh, and I also have to earn a living. With couples, they can at least share a number of these chores.
A number of my friends go out cycling while their partners shop and cook. While they clean up afterwards, their partners can get on with other things. If both of them tidy up, it takes half the time and in some cases less.
So you see, by having that little bit more to do what sometimes feels like an infinite number of chores really helps. This way I can at least spend proportionately more time doing the more feelgood activities like recreation or hobbies.
The Extra Pay
When I started back at five days, I knew I would probably enjoy getting my increased pay-packet but in reality, what I got extra - whilst significant - doesn't really compensate for all of the negative things I have already been feeling whilst back up to five days. I'm usually a happy person, and that's still the same, I'm just not as happy as I was in September and October.
I knew that over these two months I would switch my thoughts between sticking at five days (to help my finances and retirement plans) or four days (to enjoy life a little more) and wait until the New Year to decide which I wanted to stick with, but I think I have already made up my mind.
I shall go back to a four day work week come January and not care about the extra money. It's a call between my head and my heart and unusually for me, whilst my head has invariably won in the past, this time my heart has won out by a large margin.
As one of my friends said to me a few years ago "You can always earn more money but you can't earn more time". And that is why I shall go back to just four days in the New Year.
I'm curious as to what you would do, so if you were in my situation, what would you choose? Please explain.