Why You Can Work And Have Fun Anytime
The Seven-Day Weekend
Do you know the feeling when you want to be productive but your body and mind aren’t helping you at all?
Today I am feeling like that. And that is ok. I am a human being, and I cannot be productive all the time.
It is Wednesday, and it is the middle of the afternoon right now, and I am considering stopping working today. Let’s call it a day. “But it is so early,” you may reply. Well, the good part of being an entrepreneur is that you can choose your work hours. I don’t need to work 8 hours per day from Monday to Friday. I can work whenever I want. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have to plan and organize my days.
Business hours are the hours during the day in which business is commonly conducted. Typical business hours vary widely by country. By observing common informal standards for business hours, workers may communicate with each other more easily and find a convenient divide between work life and home life. Business hours usually are from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday.
But, who said that work only needs to happen during “business hours”?
I read a book a few years ago called The Seven-Day Weekend, by Brazilian entrepreneur Ricardo Semler, where he talks about work and fun. We learn that we should work from Monday to Friday and have fun on the weekends. That is one of the most things that society expects from us. Most of us do that without even realizing it. In fact, most of what we do in life we do without questioning. When we start questioning everything we do, we can find different answers from the rest of the population. We don’t need to act like everybody else.
When I had my gaming company, we worked 100% remote. That doesn’t mean that our work was a mess. At that time, working from home was not that popular as it is today, and many people told me that I wouldn’t grow my company without an office. My story proves otherwise.
To make that happen, we had processes and guidelines to help everyone perform better. We encourage everybody to work the most part in business hours. We did that because game development is teamwork and business hours are easier to have everybody working together. However, if a person decided to work earlier or later in the day, that was her call. What matters in the end for me is if the person finishes her work.
We had a daily meeting that started at 10 AM, which was the maximum time to start working at our company. It wasn’t that early, right?.
I had an employee that started at 9:30. He was an engineer, and he had 30 minutes to work before attending the meeting. I didn’t believe he could get much work done in that time, as it takes time for an engineer to finish something, but I never say anything. He was responsible for his productivity. After some weeks of doing that time, he said that he would start at 9 AM because he realized that 30 minutes wasn’t too much time. He could choose to begin at 10 AM, but he preferred to start earlier. A few more weeks later, I asked how he felt, and he said he felt much more productive.
I had another employee that arrived at the daily meeting, went back to bed, and started working at 1 PM. He could ask for help from other people in the company during the afternoon, but nobody worked at night. As he was new to the company, he usually needed help, but nobody could help him. Because of that, he couldn’t finish any work. On the next daily meeting, he said he could not finish his work because there was nobody to help him. I gave him feedback, saying that it would be better to work more time during business hours. He never did that, and his performance kept low. After a few months, I fired him.
Nowadays, I have been focusing on work six to eight hours per day from Monday to Saturday. But that doesn’t mean that I will be productive all my work hours. Suppose I am not feeling productive, who said that I should keep working? I will not give up on the first instinct, but if I keep pushing and nothing changes, there is no need to keep insisting. That will only make you feel worse. Also, I prefer to work with daily goals, which means that the number of hours to achieve them may vary.
I once went to the movies on a Tuesday afternoon. And I was not on vacation. I was not doing ok then decided to get out of my home. I went to watch Spider-Man: Far From Home. I must confess that it felt weird. In the theater, there were only teenagers and older people. But then I asked myself: why is this weird? The feeling was that I was supposed to be working. I then noticed that what I was feeling didn’t make any sense. If I kept that feeling, I wasn’t going to enjoy my experience watching the movie. I really wanted to know about the multiverse in the film (have you watched it?).
While it still may feel a little bit weird not to work during business hours, it is not odd for me to work on the weekends. A few years ago, I was much more workaholic. I believed that I should be working all the time to achieve success. That just led me to burnout. I don’t recommend it. However, even now that I have a more healthy relationship with what I do, I don’t mind working on the weekends once in a while. If I have something important to finish or am inspired, there is no reason for not working. Nowadays, I have been taking Sunday off completely. But that doesn’t mean if something urgent comes up on Saturday, I will decide to only work on Monday.
We can have fun and work whenever we want. I understand that that is not possible for most of the workers in the world, unfortunately. However, if you are an entrepreneur or an independent worker, you can organize your days differently than the rest of the world. I gave this freedom to my employees, but that is not something that all workplaces can provide. There are industries, like health, that that is not possible. That doesn’t mean that all industries need to follow the same restricted business hours.
When I don’t feel productive during business hours, I usually play some instrument. I already tried to be a musician in my 20’s (I am 32 now), which is a great hobby I love. In my living room, where I also worked, I have electric drums, an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar, a bass guitar, and keyboards. I can choose from a variety of different instruments to play. When I play, I feel like I am in another world. That feeling usually helps me to be back to work more energized. That doesn’t always work. But again, that is ok.
I may also decide to go to the supermarket. I have been doing that a lot, so it is not weird for me anymore. I don’t care about what people will think of me.
One day, when I was coming back from the gym at lunchtime, a neighbor of mine came to talk to me. She was the mother of another girl of the same age as me in the building, and she asked me if I didn’t work. At that time, I lived with my mother. People think that if you are at home during business hours means that you are unemployed. At that time, working from home wasn’t that popular yet. I answered politely that I worked from home. As I got there, I took a shower, had lunch, and started to work again.
Working out during lunchtime is something that helps me a lot, for example. I already tried to work out before or after work, but I really need a big break during my workday. My lunch usually has two hours. I imagine that this a lot of time for American standards. I had a partner that took less than 30 minutes to have lunch and went back to work. He was more American-like. We once traveled to Thailand and worked together in our Danish investor office (globalization is terrific). We had lunch together, but I couldn’t be back to work as fast as he could. Everyone has a different time of productivity. We must learn how our body better runs so we can work with our strengths.
The Seven-Day Weekend mindset, where work and fun can happen any time, does not mean that you should not organize your days and weeks. We must build routines for our lives. People are creatures of habit, and routines offer a way to promote health and wellness through structure and organization. Having a routine can significantly improve our productivity. However, you don’t need to follow other people’s routines. You need to figure out what is best for you.
I did an exercise once that I needed to grade my productivity every hour of the day. I had an alarm reminding me to do that. I did that for two weeks, and I learned that I am more productive after lunch. Because of this exercise, I organize my day around that now. You won’t necessarily have the same peak of productivity as me.
It is 4 PM now. There are still business hours for me to work, but I will watch Better Call Saul now. Maybe I will read a little too later.
Remember: you can work and have fun any time. Don’t be restricted to work only from Monday to Friday and having fun beyond that.