Monday, July 7, 2008

Long weekends mean long work weeks

At the start of the summer, I planned to take a few Fridays off in-order to have some long weekends. After all, who doesn't want to have some long weekends in the summer?

There is just one problem with this, I ended up working quite a bit more then 40 hours in the week. I found that I would work almost a full day extra in the week I would take a long weekend.

The Thursday before and the Monday afterword were stressful as I tried to wrap up 40 hours of work in 32, and then catchup on Monday.

After a two weekends, I decided to stop. Instead, I resolved to take at least a week off from work when I take vacations. This way I can completely unwind and not stress about half finished jobs back in the office.

It is really important to unwind on your time off, and when I am off for a week, I don't worry at all about work.


sebastian said...

Every situation is different (eg. manager vs developer) but for some, taking Fridays off, as you suggest, can actually relieve stress and increase quality of work.

Here's some suggestions that might help:

1. Let everyone know you will be away (in advance).

This will encourage people to contact you with urgent issues before you go. It will also make it easier when you return because you will get less messages while you are away.

2. Budget your time to include tying up loose ends.

Before you leave, you will want to make sure that your team will not be blocked while you are away. Making sure to reply to any pertinent issues, completing code reviews, etc. This can take some time, so you'll want to plan in advance to get it done before you leave. Since being responsive is already important to you, there probably aren't too many unresolved issues pending. The challenge is to address things that come up last minute (see #1).

3. Unplug.

Your coworkers don't take a vacation at the same time as you do. A blackberry can keep you "at work" even if you're not physically there. Make your phone number available for real emergencies, but with good planning you should be able to unplug on your day off.

If you only work 4 days, you are not expected to do 40 hours of work. It's always easy to do extra work, especially if you enjoy your job, but with good planning and discipline, the extra day off can recharge your batteries and result in a more productive 4 days of work.

Jason Mawdsley said...

Those are all good points Sebastian, and in theory all make sense. Unfortunately, they don't always survive reality. :)