Episode 123: The short week – productivity in less time


During the Industrial Revolution, factories needed to be running around the clock so employees during this era frequently worked between 10-16 hour days. In the 1920s however, Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, decided to try something different: his workers would only work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Almost a century later, most companies abide by the five day workweek. But times are changing. Companies and countries across the world are starting to implement the four-day workweek. In fact, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 43% of companies in the U.S. offer four-day workweeks to some employees, and 10% make it available to all or most employees. Apart from doing something nice for your employees, the short workweek has in most cases positively impacted their bottom line.

Delta Emerson, president of global shared services for the tax services firm Ryan said his company turnover rate dropped from 30% to 11%, revenue and profits almost doubled, client satisfaction scores reached an all-time high, and the firm has received multiple “best place to work” awards.

But let’s get real. We may not all get the great fortune of a long weekend every week. For those of us stuck in the five-day workweek, here are tips for turning your week into a short week, leaving you a whole extra day to tackle bigger things and get ahead.

Our inspiration for this episode comes from Four Secrets of People Who Finish Their Workweeks on Thursday.

How does the workweek look like for our hosts?

Ross, our resident entrepreneur, does not work a four-day workweek. He often works long hours, which can trickle into weekends – a typical entrepreneur’s life. However, Ross does treat himself to short weeks once and a while. When he does, he schedules an out-of-office notice and ensures he schedules his time efficiently to ensure he doesn’t miss a beat.

Kristine works a semi four-day workweek – she works from home once a week. To ensure she is as productive as possible she swears by her bullet journal to mark down important tasks that need to be done by the end of the day/week. She also ensures any meetings in the office are run efficiently so she can spend as much time in the office accomplishing what she needs to get done.

Julia works a true four-day workweek and, like Kristine, uses her bullet journal to keep her on track. Every day she sets MITs (most important tasks) that must get done by the end of the day. Those MITs add up to a pretty successful workweek – regardless of the length.

Shortcuts and how they help with productivity

One suggestion from the Fast Company article is to find shortcuts. The article says:

Successful people are always concerned with producing top-notch results—however, they also find little ways to save time in the process. So, take a page from their book and have a good, hard look at your routine. Are there places where you’re spending a lot of unnecessary time?

Here are a few shortcuts our hosts use:

  • Ross uses Buffer and Crate to streamline content curation for his social media accounts.
  • Upwork and Freelancer are great tools to help you hire talent to do those repetitive tasks that you don’t have time for – for example managing social media content curation, research, sales, etc.
  • Julia abides by inbox zero, which refers to clearing your inbox except for emails that need your attention. File or delete the rest.
  • Kristine uses checklists, and not just daily to-do lists, but checklists for repetitive and complicated tasks. For example, she has checklists for news releases to ensure she never misses anything. It also avoids re-inventing the wheel and takes the guess work out of your next step.

Guest host: Building your personal brand

Young PR Pros always strives to bring you valuable lessons that you can use in your journey to build your career. And although we have strong collective mind among the four-person team, we sometimes reach out to other professionals across the country and the world to ask for their advice.

This month, we bring you Michelle TenHave from Sudbury, Ontario in Canada, to talk to us about building your personal brand.

Here are some tips she offers for young professionals:

  • Be authentic – online and offline.
  • Be aware of your online and offline presence. Your professionalism should span across your social networks, as well as how you present yourself at networking events.
  • Work on your verbal and non-verbal communications.
  • Take ownership of you career by continuing to learn and staying on top of trends.
  • Own your personal life. Do what you enjoy, but be mindful someone may be watching.

Thank you to Michelle for her advice. If you want to connect with Michelle you can follow her on Twitter.

Also, don’t forget to check out Boss Talk, hosted by Michelle. A few weeks ago she interviewed our host Kristine about the life of a podcaster.

Don’t forget to share your opinions, or what is on your mind by writing a comment below, or on our Facebook Page, send us an email or audio note at youngprpros@gmail.com, or send us a message on Twitter @youngprpros.

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