How I work 3 days a week

sanah-suvarna-161883Before we start, I wish to point out that this is not some dodgy scheme to make you rich in 4 weeks, or some African Prince looking for a bank transfer. This idea of this article is to provide you with more time, yes time! Time, which for a lot of us is constantly running out. Please note all of this is my opinion, based on experience in the field and research into how to be more efficient. Why do people in the western world work 5.5 days a week, or as a business owner up to 70-80 hours a week? If you’re working more than 80 hours a week as a health practitioner, then you really need to evaluate why and what you’re doing. It is has been proven that working long hours consistently, increases your health risk to stress, cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer etc….. So why work yourself into the ground and then have to deal with the effects? I appreciate that starting off in business or taking on a new project can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be constant. So, here’s how and why I’m working 3 days a week.

Why 3 days? I’m working 3 days a week because it takes me 3 hours to commute back and forth to work. So if I only work 3 days a week, I save myself 6 hours a week! Also, based on my outgoings I can afford to work 3 days a week, this doesn’t mean that I’m not earning money. I still put money in my pension, company expenses, income protection cover, tax return and pay off the mortgage. So why would I work 5.5 days a week…..

Timetable: I work Mon 11:30 – 7:30, Tues 8:30 – 3:30 & Thurs 11 – 7. This way, if I need to see a client twice a week for follow up, this arrangement allows that. This provides me the potential to see approx 40 clients and I speak on a radio show every 2 weeks to help promote the business. On Wed and Fri I’m spending more time with friends and family, working on other projects, enjoying my hobbies or trying to stay fit to avoid the health risks. To my wife’s disappointment, cleaning is not a hobby.  

Client reaction: What happens if a client wants to make an appointment on a Wed and Fri? It’s simple, they can wait.  It may sound like I’m turning away business, but unless you’re dying (go to hospital if that’s the case) most people will wait to see you, if you’re good at your job and will get use to your availability. Some people think you’re strange when you say you only work 3 days a week. What do you do with the rest of the week? My answer is always the same…. Enjoy life!

What structures do you have:   To allow my 3 day week to work for me, I use a lot of structures to streamline the process, the main one is outsourcing my telephone calls and diary to a company (I don’t have a receptionist – yet). I use online booking through cliniko and facebook. I generally don’t sms my clients (apart from automated reminders) because they may feel it’s an easy way to contact me. If I don’t know the number ringing my private phone, it goes to voicemail with the clinic number and instructions on how to make an appointment. For more on this point read this blog.

Parkinson’s Law (Read this): The law postulates, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. So if you decide to work 5.5 hours a week there will always be tasks to fill it! If you work 3 days a week, you’ll become better at prioritising your tasks. I’m starting to sound old now but as the younger generation say – YOLO: You Only Live Once!!

I heard a great statement recently and it goes something like this…. If you want something to be different, then you need to do something different! To find out how to structure your work day to improve and maximise your work/life balance for the future and get more free time then speak to PracticeNav via email or take our Free business audit to find how we can help.

Colin Phillips
Business Consultant

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