Working from home feels more popular than ever. And as we do, we’re all trying to find a rhythm that’s good for our businesses and our souls, right?! Lately, I’ve been super curious about the 4-day work week philosophy. It all started when I picked up Shorter. This book highlights the fatigue of being constantly “on,” offering up the idea that working fewer hours actually gives our productivity a serious boost, as well as making us more creative and profitable. Um, hello — sign me up for that!
A few weeks later, I saw that my friend Amy Porterfield was testing this work week rhythm out with her own team. Of course, I was so curious to hear how this experiment played out, so I downloaded her podcast episode about it right away. She offered some great action points for stepping into this new way of thinking about the work week, as well as how to figure out if it’s actually working for you, so after listening, I just knew our team needed to try it out for ourselves!
I’ll be honest, I’d love to try it out myself, and I hope to put it to the test after my book launches this summer. But while I settle into post-maternity leave working mama life, I’m in a “work whenever it fits” kind of season right now.
Thankfully, two of my incredible full-time employees, Kylie and Marisa, stepped up to give this thing a try. We’ve all learned a lot, and I’m here to dish all the details. If you’ve been curious about this weekly rhythm for yourself or your team, I hope these tips help you know just what to do (and what not to do!) to make your own version of the 4-day workweek a success!
DO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A STRUCTURE IN PLACE.
The 4-day work week is supposed to free us up, not cause our systems to fall apart. Keep your content strategies and project management systems rolling by using a software system to keep things in order. Personally, I’m a big fan of Monday.com for managing tasks and Slack for team communication. Staying up to date on those systems will make the shift to four days of work so much easier, I promise.
I know for Marisa, she had a very full workload before swapping to 4 days, so it took some restructuring to make sure she wasn’t working 10-plus-hour days on her workdays just to have 3 days off. You want this transition to give you and your team more FREEDOM, not cram more work into fewer days. So find ways to simplify processes, automate tasks, and delegate other responsibilities so that no one has too much on their plate.
While you’re at it, go ahead and plan your weekly schedule with your team. Maybe Mondays and Thursdays will be “meeting-heavy” to bookend the week, but Tuesdays and Wednesdays are dedicated to giving everyone time to get in their creative flow and stay productive. I’ve found that dedicating certain days to specific tasks, projects, or types of work really comes in handy, especially if you’re going to free people up to do their best work in less time.
DON’T WASTE YOUR “EXTRA” DAY.
It would be way too easy to kick back and accomplish absolutely nothing with your newly found freedom. And hear me out: if you need a rest day, that is absolutely fine (and I highly encourage you listen to what your mind and body needs). I just don’t want you to waste a day if you do have other goals and dreams stirring in your soul! Give your “day off” a plan, whether that means knocking out grocery shopping and personal appointments, working on a side hustle, or intentionally spending time with your people.
I don’t advise treating the fifth day as an extended weekend. Instead, think of it as a “me day,” designed for crossing off a neglected to-do list or taking care of something you’ve long been meaning to. Maybe even use part of it to plan out your next workweek to enter the next week feeling fresh and ready to dive in. When I use that day wisely, I sit back down on Monday feeling like I got just what I needed from my three days away. Marisa said the same, and she loves being able to take care of household chores and responsibilities on Friday so she could actually enjoy her weekends and recharge before starting work again.
When Kylie and I chatted about this, she felt the same way. As our podcast producer, she’s created efficient systems and strategies that allow her to get more done in less time. She feels like that extra day provides a much-needed reward — time to devote to her own dreams, passions, or basic life needs. When you’re intentional about your extra time, it can give you a major win in so many areas of life.
DO TRUST AND EMPOWER YOUR TEAM.
Micromanagers, hear me: the 4-day work week is a powerful exercise in releasing a bit of control. When you and your team are all spending less hours in the office, you’re gently forced to keep your eyes in your own lane, trusting that you’ve made great hires who can handle their own lane, too. Trust them to get their things done — and then empower them to be free to step away from work.
For Kylie and Marisa, this was huge. Kylie had been hoping for a 4-day week opportunity for years, so that she could devote time to her own passion projects without burning out by always working on the weekends. I’m really grateful for all that Kylie brings to my team, but I also want to see her soar in her own right, and this schedule shift really helped.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE THIS YOUR OWN.
For me and my team, taking Fridays off just makes the most sense. But remember, this is yourexperiment, so don’t be afraid to make it your own! If your business requires weekend work, take Monday-Wednesday off and find a Thursday-Sunday flow that works for you — or really any other schedule that works for you.
The beautiful thing about entrepreneurship is that we get to set our own rules and write our own stories, so test out the 4-day work week in your own way and see how it works. If it’s amazing, keep doing it! If not, keep looking for the rhythm that will allow you to be productive, creative, and profitable, because that’s what we’re all after at the end of the day.
DO MAKE YOUR SCHEDULE CLEAR TO OTHERS.
Once you’ve planned your 4-day week system, make your schedule clear to colleagues and others who rely on you for their work flow. It also helps to have an email autoresponder set to go live every Friday, just to make sure people know you’re not ignoring their correspondence. Communication is key!
OUR FINAL VERDICT
The 5-day workweek is a fairly outdated concept, as it turns out — a remnant from the Industrial Revolution, when factory owners realized that more time equaled more production (and, of course, more money). Back then, domestic work and household logistics were also hugely undervalued. These days, we all deserve time to devote to our own passions and priorities — a day that belongs to us and not our employers.
We’ll all eventually resent working efficiently if our only reward is more work. The 4-day workweek offers us a “time raise” instead of a salary raise. For you and your team, time could very well be the most valuable asset — so get those systems in place, communicate well, solidify your plan, and then try out this 4-day experiment. You might just find out that it’s how your business was always destined to run.