The 7-Day Work Week Experiment — And the Wisdom of The Day of Rest

  • I would be in much better sync with my team who are distributed around the world, and I would have a better handle on my emails and work by having time in the weekends too.
  • I could work less than 40 hours a week and be more productive, since I would have long breaks between super focused work periods.

The 7-day work week routine

I’ve been an early riser for a couple of years now, and during this experiment I was rising at 4:30am. I aimed to do 5.5 hours of work each day, which is around 38.5 hours a week.

  • 5–6:30: 90 minutes of focused work.
  • 6:30–9: Gym, breakfast, shower, etc.
  • 9–11:30: 2.5hrs of focused work.
  • 11:30–3pm: Lunch, then extended rest period.
  • 3–4:30: 90 minutes of focused work.

Results of the 7-day work week routine

In the end, I have decided that I won’t continue with the 7-day work week routine. Here are two of the things that didn’t work out:

How the world works does affect you

This is one of the things I wanted to avoid believing for the longest time. I don’t think it’s ever healthy to believe things “are the way they are,” and in many cases I think this can be forgotten. After all, as entrepreneurs we are in the business of changing reality by making something out of nothing.

I burned out, even with lots of breaks

I wanted every day to be exactly the same. So I worked each day and rested each day. I went to the gym every day, I adjusted my work out so that this would be sustainable.

The wisdom of the day of rest

After trying a 7-day work week, I became quite fascinated by the concept of a “day of rest”. It occurred to me that this is a tradition that has been around for a very long time, and of separate origins. Almost all of the world observes some form of a weekly “day of rest.”

“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.”

Similarly, in Buddhism there is the concept of Uposatha which is the Buddhist day of observance. I find it interesting how Buddhism teaches the purpose of this day:

“The cleansing of the defiled mind.”

I feel a sense of calm and confidence in the knowledge that many thousands of years of wisdom all converges towards the idea of a weekly day of rest. Certainly from my naive experiment I now feel that this is a very good practice.

6 days of work, 1 day of rest

Both from my own experiment and the wisdom of the day of rest, I have become interested in the idea of a single day of rest. However, I have not once come across anything advocating two days of rest. This is one of my biggest takeaways from this experiment, and I plan to continue to work on the basis of 6 days of work and a single day of rest.

Work was so important, here was the original formula for labor. If you have forgotten it, remind yourself. Six days of labor, and one day of rest. Now, it’s important not to get those numbers mixed up. Why not five/two? Maybe one of the reasons for six/one: if you rest too long the weeds take the garden. Not to think so is naive. As soon as you’ve planted, the busy bugs and the noxious weeds are out to take it. So you can’t linger too long in the rest mode, you’ve got to go back to work. Six days of work, then rest.

I think one of my biggest takeaways from trying a 7-day work week is: despite the conclusion that rest is important, a single day is the perfect amount, no more. I am working to consistently live by this method for as many of the weeks as I can during the year. I believe that this will be a key to success.

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