You can always make more money but you can’t make more time

Why I now work a three-day week

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Two weeks ago, I officially changed from a full time employee to working three days per week and dramatically shifted the balance in my life. For me this move is bigger than just a change in working hours. I’m viewing it in the beginning of a new approach to my work and life and I’m very excited about it.

What are you going to do on your days off? Are you going to get a second job? Was a three-day-week really what you wanted? I find myself feeling a bit nervous when people ask me questions about it because I know it’s a bit of an unorthodox choice. I don’t have kids, I could be 35 years away from retirement and I don’t yet have a fully-fledged side hustle to keep me out of trouble.

So I thought for my first dip back into the blogging world, it might be good to talk about the reasons I’ve made this decision and why I’m really happy about it.

I love my job

So for the three days a week that I am employed, I work as a Marketing and Communications Manager for a college — and I love it. I love the people I work with and feel like I’m making a difference. I also really enjoy the nature of the work I do. It’s a perfect blend of organisation and creativity and I feel like I’ve definitely found my niche, work-wise, in a marketing role. Working three days a week means I can give my role more love, more energy and more enthusiasm as I’m safe in the knowledge that I will have plenty of time to rest and restore come my extra-long weekend.

Creativity

As much as I love my job, I am a creative person and am always on the look-out for my next exciting project. I used to believe that this was a failing or a bad thing but I’ve come to realise that it truly is a strength. It’s why the ever changing world of marketing suits me and why I love the pace of the digital world.

Having this extra time means I can explore creative pursuits that have been sitting patiently on my to-do list for a while. Time for writing, photography, crafts, baking, raw dessert making and more.

Movement

Movement is a biggie for me. Three years ago, I gave up my job as a secondary school teacher which was, in hindsight, quite an active job. I was always bobbing up and down the classroom, rushing to the yard for duty and carrying piles of exercise books from one room to another. Working in marketing since that has meant much more time sat at a desk. And while I know it’s totally necessary and needed, having more time means more time for fitness and smashing my health goals. So far, I’ve been enjoying walks in nature on my days off and lots more yoga classes.

Home Making

Simply put, I want to be at home more. I want to have the time to pour love into our terrace house, to finally hang our wedding pictures on the walls, spend time choosing soft furnishings and to curl up in a chair with a blanket and read a book. Ed (my husband) is a wonderful cook and it’s become so easy to rely on him to dish up plant based deliciousness day in day out. But I want to cook more and enjoy the process of creating delicious food and recipes. I want to feel more organised when visitors come to stay and to have time to plan and get sorted for that. I want to spend more time snuggling and cuddling with my beloved felines, Martha and Lucas and have moments for gazing at the stunning view of the Sheffield hills from our big bay window.

Helping my husband with his business

Ed (or Veg.Ed in the internet world) is on a mission to educate the world about the benefits of eating more fruit and veg. His fledgling start up enterprise needs marketing, organising and strategising and I’m delighted to now have some time to invest in this cause that I too, care deeply about.

This all sounds great but what about money?

I know how easy it is to get caught up in money worries — believe me. I also don’t have secret pot of money which is funding my new adventure. But what is more important? Having more time to enjoy life or more money to spend on things? Money is a renewable resource; time isn’t.

In practical terms, before making this decision, I had to sit down and do the sums. I put together a budget for monthly and yearly outgoings. And I made an A, B and C version of it. In the C (most basic) version, we have everything covered plus some money for travel and home improvements. The B and A versions have incrementally more spare pennies for niceties. But with the C version, our necessities are covered and that’s the first most important step.

In medium term, we definitely want to explore ways of creating extra income streams but there is no immediate pressure to do that. More time also means better spending decisions and less frivolity, more cooking from scratch and less eating out and more planning outfits with the clothes I already own and less ASOS try now, pay later.

Keeping the faith

I can’t pretend I’ve got this all figured out but I can tell you I’m determined to work it out along the way. When the doubts creep in, I let them go. I’m taking time to notice things to be grateful for and to feel the joy of my new found freedom. It will be a journey of little tweaks and sacrifices but I’m committed to living the life I want without compromise.

Thanks for reading,

Maria