I failed at 4-day weeks
Ep. 74: How to work fewer hours with Alicja Tokarska
How are you? Crumpled in a heap as school holidays come to an end, or raring to go as autumn business season kicks into gear?
Maybe you’ve spent the summer hols rethinking your working pattern.
If you listened to my six-month review a few weeks back, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to shift to a four-day week. And failing, miserably.
When you love what you do and are lucky to work with amazing clients, it’s far too easy to just keep saying yes… and forget to protect the time off you promised yourself.
And when you work for yourself, there’s just always more that you could be doing, isn’t there? More marketing ideas to test. More Notion-fiddling. More email newsletters to write.
So my dream of a four-day week hasn’t borne bananas just yet.
(Though I’m no longer working weekends, which is prob good news for my husband 😬)
Anyway, when I published that episode, the response suggested that I wasn’t alone in wanting to reduce my hours. Luckily for me (and now you), Alicja Tokarska heard my plight and came to my aid.
In today's podcast episode, she shares her top tips for working fewer hours while continuing to run a thriving business and deliver top-notch services to clients.
Today’s episode: How to work fewer hours! (with Alicja Tokarska)
Alicja Tokarska is a freelance translator and subtitler who, after working round the clock for far too long, made the decision to transition to a new working pattern and now works Monday to Thursday.
Alicja shares her experience of moving to a four-day week along with tips on how she makes it work, including:
What prompted her to make the transition to four days a week
Overcoming mental and practical obstacles to working fewer hours when you're used to being 'on' all the time
Managing client expectations around availability
How the move has changed her business
What an average week looks like now (and how others can do the same).
Listen here »
🌟 Bonus clip: How Alicja uses Asana to plan her time…
Are you a fan of Asana? What’s your fave project management tool?
🧠 Insight: “I’ve never lost a client because I’m not working on a Friday” – this was my fave quote of the episode.
One of the obstacles to making changes to our business is worrying about how other people react. But a 40-hour, Mon-Fri work week is arbitrary anyway. When you are in charge, you get to decide your working pattern. If you want to work evenings and weekends, you can. We don’t need to explain that to anyone.
But we can go a step further if we want: being visible in how we protect our time and set boundaries is actually a service to others, by modelling a more flexible and productive way of working for the people we work with.
➡️ 15 Minute Action: If you want to reduce your hours, you need a plan! You can’t just block out a Friday and expect it to happen (believe me, I’ve tried).
Figuring out what processes, systems and support you need to make your shorter week a reality could take some time, but a good place to start is to list out all the tasks you do in the course of running your business. Now work through them and identify any that could be eliminated, any that can be delegated to a VA, and any that can be tightened up with automations and tools such as Zapier, Calendly or even email templates. Consider where you need to build in time to your client projects to make sure you don’t allow that work to creep in on your planned day(s) off. Let me know how it goes!
Would love to know – have you changed your working pattern recently? Any advice for someone looking to reduce their hours?
Until next time, happy freelancing!
P.S. Gill Andrews and I will be going live on LinkedIn on Monday 5 Sep at 12 noon (UK time) to announce which lucky listeners will be getting a free, signed copy of her book, Making Your Website Work. Still time to enter – check out this episode to find out how, and leave us your top takeaway on the LinkedIn post by 10am on Monday.