Perfect Work Day?

Working here might be ok I suppose…

In a perfect world my work day would probably be along the lines of something like this:

07:30 to 08:00 – Get up (slowly) and have a cup of tea
08:30 – Go for a run or do some other sort of exercise
09:00 – Shower and dress
09:30 – Make a decent breakfast and eat it
10:00 – Start the commute to the office
10:01 – Arrive at the office, check some emails etc
10:30 – Read up on some of my favourite blogs, post some comments, etc.
11:00 – Do some jobs around the house
12:00 – Social/Recreation time: See who’s around and go and see some friends and family, maybe for lunch or even a round of golf. If no one is around then have some lunch at home and read a book o research some stuff that interests me online
16:00 – Come back and do a couple of hours of “actual” work
18:00 – Prepare and eat dinner
19:00 – Either entertain guests if we have people over or do some more reading or a bit of TV.
21:00 – Do some more “actual” work
00:00 – Go to bed

As you can probably tell, I am not a morning person and have weighted this deliberately to be doing work later in the afternoon and night. I am always more productive later on and especially later in the evening so this makes sense to me. You will also notice that there is only around 5-6 hours of actual work here, but according to the productivity increases we’ve gained over the last 50 years I should actually only be working 4 hours a day, so this should be more than enough (also my increased productivity at those times I’ve chosen to do my work would probably count for a further 2 hours anyway).

How does this square up with a typical real work day then? Here is a rough schedule of a typical work day for me:

06:00 – Get up
07:00 – Get the train to work
08:15 – Arrive at work, make and eat a quick breakfast
08:30 – Do work!
13:00 – make and eat lunch
13:30 – Do more work!
17:00 (or 18:00, or 19:00) – Get the train home
18:15 (or 19:15, or 20:15) – Arrive home
X:XX – Make and eat dinner, do some jobs around the house then generally too knackered to do much else / or sometimes see friends and family.

As you can see there are some stark differences in the two schedules:

  • Getting up at least 1.5 hours before I really would like to
  • Commuting at least 2 hours 29 minutes more than I would like to
  • Working at least 8/9/10 hours compared to what I would call a happy medium of 5/6
  • Being “engaged” in work related duties for at least 11.25 hours a day when I would call a happy medium 5 or 6

The differences between the desired employee and employer schedules are only going to create cognitive dissonance and therefore ultimately… make me unhappy. I’m not going to sit here and whine about it, I’m just stating this as a matter of fact. And it’s worth highlighting because I know that a lot of other people are in exactly the same boat (or worse) work wise, and feel exactly the same way as I do.

There are many and obvious reasons why it might never happen, but wouldn’t it be nice if employers trusted their staff enough to write their own work schedules…?

I am certain that with the right employees (easier said than done of course) that efficiency would increase if this were to happen, as people will know when they are most and least effective, whether that be times of the day, days of the week, or even times of the year.

Also, with communications technology going the way it is and an increasing number of means and benefits for remote working (for both employee and employer), along with what I can see happening in the Financial Independence community – more people reaching FI and leaving the workforce after recognising they are getting a bum deal, and once FI they have much greater bargaining power over their working conditions (should they choose to continue or go back) – I can only see remote working and flexible work schedules increasing in the future. And hopefully one day fairly soon I will have the power of impending FI to negotiate some better working hours for myself.

In the meantime though I will keep on heading for the exit route as fast as I possibly can.

This is just a fairly off the cuff example of how I might plan my day if it were entirely up to me and I still had “a job” (which incidentally, I do of course!). There is a lot of flexibility built into my perfect work day as well which I think is another key to being happy, doing the same thing everyday gets a little boring. On the other hand, other people love a regular schedule and would get extremely upset if it went out the window. I guess I am not one of those people, I am guessing my perfect work day may be a bit unconventional and not for everyone, and I am also guessing some folk’s perfect work day will look a little like mine whilst others will be nothing like it at all.

What would your perfect work day look like?