How to Work Less and Have A Happy Life

Many individuals question why every week can’t be more play and less work than the first day back following a long weekend.

Joe Sanok believes it is possible.

Joe is a licensed counselor, business owner, public speaker, and host of the Practice podcast. He’s also the author of Thursday Is the New Friday: How to Work Less, Make More Money, and Spend More Time Doing What You Want, which will be released on October 5, 2021.

Joe tried working Monday through Thursday for the first time in college when he planned his schedule to give himself a three-day weekend. He began his job working the standard 40-hour Monday-through-Friday schedule, eventually increasing to 50 hours each week.

However, a series of personal setbacks in 2012 convinced him that he needed to spend more time with his family.

“I had to re-calibrate what I desired,” Joe explains. “I decided to try going back to a four-day workweek for a while.” And each month was better than the previous one.”

Joe tells Chief Storytelling Officer Kindra Hall on this edition of SUCCESS Stories what Henry Ford has to do with our understanding of working hours, why more time off implies more productivity, and why boundaries are vital for preserving your schedule on this episode of SUCCESS Stories.

We’ve been measuring time in seven-day pieces for so long that we forget it doesn’t have to be this way.

Humans did not invent time: as far as we know, the Earth has been orbiting the sun since long before our species emerged from the primordial ooze.

The parts into which we divide time, on the other hand, are arbitrary. Have you ever wondered why a minute has 60 seconds and an hour has 60 minutes? It isn’t due to some physics phenomenon. It’s because the Babylonians’ astrological system was based on the number 60.

When it comes to ancient history, there have been numerous instances of weeks that were not seven days long.

The Roman week was ten days until circa 300 A.D. when Emperor Constantine decided that the entire Roman Empire would adopt a seven-day week.

When it comes to the labor component of the workweek, Henry Ford is to credit (or blame) for the 40-hour standard.

Joe says that, until 1926, a normal workweek consisted of 10 to 16 hours each day, six or seven days per week. However, Ford knew that if he offered his employees more free time, they would have more opportunities to travel and, as a result, would desire a car.

You may reassess the concept of time to suit yourself if the Babylonians, Emperor Constantine, and Henry Ford were able to do so.

Stress Does Not Help You Be More Productive.

Many people say they won’t try a four-day workweek because they don’t want to be overworked four days out of seven merely to get the fifth day off.

To this line of logic, there are two possible responses. To begin with, with the correct productivity tools, you won’t need to be as stressed-inducingly busy on workdays. Second, working four days a week will provide you with more time to unwind, lowering your stress levels. Reduced stress levels also allow you to be more productive.

Consider a time when you were under a lot of pressure. You were probably not motivated to try anything new or achieve a new goal. You probably didn’t feel like you were accomplishing anything either.

When people are worried, they don’t work to their full potential. Giving yourself time to replenish your batteries from Friday to Sunday will help you stay energized and focused from Monday through Thursday in the long run.

Gradually—But Firmly—Transition

There is no scientific method that can assist you in making the transition to a four-day workweek. Find out what works best for you in terms of both practical and psychological factors. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Find Out How You Like to Sprint.

When you sprint, you focus all of your concentration on accomplishing a single work or project in a short period of time.

You may have previously attempted to reduce your work hours but felt too overwhelmed when it came time to sprint. Consider the two elements that make up your sprint style this time, and customize your work to them.

When do you prefer to sprint? Do you prefer to sprint for short, regular periods of time (e.g., once a week)? Or are you more productive sprinting for longer periods of time on a more irregular basis (e.g., four days in a row once or twice a month)?

How do you work best? Do you work best when you’re transitioning between distinct but related jobs (for example, writing, researching, and planning)? Do you get more done if you focus on one task at a time? Some people prefer variety, while others prefer to focus.

Set Both Hard And Soft Limits.

Opportunities will present themselves that will compel you to work on your day off. Set parameters that will allow you to include that regular day off into your schedule while being flexible enough that you won’t feel like you’re foregoing once-in-a-lifetime business opportunities.

Hard limits:

Anything that requires you to work on your day off every week, in the long run, must be ruled out. The same can be said for one-time or short-term tasks that don’t provide enough value to justify sacrificing your reset time.

Soft limits:

Some things are simply too good to pass up. Don’t be so set in your ways that you won’t consider meeting someone you’ve always wanted to meet just because they’re only available on Friday.

No one can tell you what exceptions you should and shouldn’t make. Say no more than yes when it comes to giving up time: save it for the truly exceptional possibilities.


Start modest scale trials to test how the four-day workweek works out while you’re still putting your toe in the water.

Take a month off on Fridays, for example, and watch how it affects your work. According to Joe, you’ll most likely wind yourself putting off certain jobs over and over in order to complete the more critical ones.

This will not only show you that you can fit all of your work into four days, but it will also show you which areas of your job you should outsource.

It’s an experiment to work four days a week. Yes, in terms of productivity, but more in terms of what your life could be if you had 52 extra days a year to do whatever you wanted with the people you care about.

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