Why You Should Tell Your Boss You’re Not Coming in on Friday

In my prior career in medical software, I worked both five and four day weeks. Guess which one I preferred?

Correct! But I was also rested and refreshed on Monday when I worked 4 day weeks. 5 day weeks? Not so much.

Late in my tenure in software, I was asked to create a feature that was the most complex work I had ever done in 14 years in the field. I made almost no progress for months despite a lot of effort. I was beginning to think it was impossible. I also hadn’t taken a vacation day in 6 months.

Then I went here (highly recommended) for 3 weeks and came back. I looked at the task again, saw it with new eyes, and got to work. I accomplished more that 1st day back than I had in the prior 3 months.

Research is emerging that rest is a necessary precondition for productivity. Microsoft Japan went to a 4 day workweek and saw productivity go up 40%. Perpetual Guardian, a financial services firm in New Zealand, did the same and their profits increased by 12.5%.

If we’re rested, we’re healthier, happier, more creative and more productive. In my investment business today, where I have no one to answer to other than myself, I alternate brief periods of focused work with long stretches away from that work. My actual active time can be as little as a few hours per week, and the results are beyond what I expected.

So with that in mind, I think I’ll go test out my new hiking boots!


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