Yesterday, I told you that you are able to crush it while watching f*&%ing Lost. But that is obviously easier said than done (anybody remember this fantastic piece Martin wrote last week about a blogging reality check?).
You want more money?
But don’t want to work more hours or get a second job?
I’m totally up with you.
So, how can you make more money by working less? Man… this has been my main obsession for the past 8 years. And I only found the solution 3 years ago! Darn! The trick is quite easy in theory: simply work less ;-). If you have read The 4 Hour Workweek, you know what I am talking about. However, working 4 hours per week is not accessible for most people. It’s more like selling the dream than finding a way that you can actually take some real action to achieve this.
I seriously think that you and I can get out of the Rat Race and live the life without working much. But let’s be realistic for a moment; this won’t happen this year, next year either… and probably not before the next 5 to 10 years (and this is only if you hustle like an animal!). However, you can improve your position today. How about working 4 days a week and keep your pay check? But be careful, you need to do this slowly, step by step if you want to achieve this.
If you want to start working fewer days in the corporate world, you better have a solid reason to do so. If not, the dream crashers will tell you that it is not possible or that you may want to pursue “other career opportunities” as you don’t fit in here. So you need to find an acceptable excuse to work 4 days a week. With a softer boss, you can try the family/work argument. However, I would only use it if you are 100% certain that you are working in a company where they facilitate and encourage family/work flexibility. Most don’t… yet (sad!).
There are a few other options that are more easily accepted. You can find yourself another sideline project from your current tasks that will improve your department’s productivity or profitability. If you present a clever idea to your boss that will make him look good, there are not many reasons why he would not give you a day/week to work on the project. You can work on cost reduction, productivity, profitability or marketing (making presentations). These are buzz words managers love to hear.
If you are out of ideas, you can also go back to school (that was my excuse). I picked a program where I had to go to class on Fridays so they had to let me go 1 day a week to do something else.
If you don’t want to go back to school and there are no ways you can improve where you work (that’s impossible, by the way), there is another way that will hurt: simply use 1 day of your own vacation to take off each week for 6 weeks or so. This will be enough to build your case study, which is step #2.
There are 2 things you must do once your excuse is accepted:
#1 Do all your regular work in a 4 day schedule
#2 Build your case study with facts that show you can work 4 days a week and do the very same job
During a 6 to 8 week period, you will have the amazing opportunity to show that you can work 4 days a week and get all your things done during that time. It is very important that these 6 to 8 weeks are among the best weeks of work you have ever done. You want to show them that your motivation and productivity have increased. In fact, if you are not more motivated and more productive, you won’t make it anyways ;-).
The key here is to force you to think differently. The point is not to work more hours during these 4 days. The point is to optimize your day so you can do your job and still finish at 5pm to head back home.
While you are finding ways to become more productive, keep track of your results and your success. It is important to build a solid business case. If not, your employer won’t listen to you.
2 months after you made the decision you want to work 4 days a week, you are now ready to make the big jump. Don’t be afraid to ask for a meeting with your boss, to ask for 1 hour of his time. This is when you will show him what you have accomplished over the past 6 to 8 weeks and that you now want to keep that 4 day/week work schedule.
You may think that he will ask you to work on special projects on the 5th day since you became more productive. This would be the trickiest part. If it happens, you can simply tell him that in order to be fair to your productivity and commitment towards the company, you would ask for a 20% income raise as your colleagues do 80% of what you do. He will obviously refuse, so you tell him that the fair thing to do is to leave you at 4 days a week under the one condition that you will always do the work required in 4 days without complaining, making mistakes or being late.
How great is that, you just found a way to reduce your number of hours while keeping the same pay check! What’s next? I’ll tell you in my next article ;-).
In the meantime, I want to know what prevent you from doing this? What is the biggest challenge you are facing to change to a 4 day work week? Are there any? If yes, tell me. If not, take action!
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