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A good deal of the four-day week’s lure is it gives us a three-day weekend. But what about a compromise: A three-day weekend every second week, with normality prevailing the other week?

That’s the guiding principle of the 9/80 schedule. The individual works four nine-hour days and an eight-hour day the first week, followed by two days off. Then comes four nine-hour days and a three-day weekend. It adds up to 80 hours in nine workdays.

“With two additional days off each month, a 9/80 schedule can provide opportunities for workers to complete personal errands, spend quality time with loved ones or simply relax and decompress from work. These extra days off can also be strategically incorporated into employees’ plans, offering the opportunity to extend holidays or travel more,” Eva Chan writes on the ResumeGenius web site.

The push for a four-day week often runs up against the issue of money: Should the company pay the same for fewer hours of work, hoping for greater productivity as hours are collapsed, or should employees sacrifice remuneration? The solution often is working four 10-hour days, which can be tiring and inefficient.

The 9/80 is less daunting. And if the company is not enthused instituting it for all employees, perhaps you can negotiate it for yourself – or if you are your own boss, implement it, giving you a better weekend rhythm, with more work-life balance.

Another idea to contemplate in planning your work week is a resistance list. It catalogues all those things you have been mentally resisting doing. Then you commit to tackling one item each day – not necessarily completing it, but making progress.

Ottawa-based productivity consultant Chris Bailey says of the items on his list: “These tasks are ugly - I don’t want to do them, though I do want to have done them.” That probably would apply to your list as well.

He notes the curious thing about resistance is that most of it lives at the beginning of a task. It’s like warily jumping into a cold pool but then staying for an hour. He also has found overcoming resistance is something we can improve. By making it a daily requirement, you reduce the associated drama and just get it done.

“Making a resistance list is a habit you’re likely to put off, but that’s the point. The fact that you’re resisting doing something is usually a sign a task is important,” he writes in his newsletter.

A third technique to consider for organizing yourself is keeping field notes, recording fragments of each day that seem significant in a journal. Anne-Laure Le Cunff, founder of Ness Labs, which researches productivity, calls it self-anthropology.

“In the same way that anthropologists take field notes to understand humanity, you can use this practice to learn more about who you are and how to improve your life. Keeping a personal field journal will allow you to create a trail of breadcrumbs to deconstruct patterns and imagine new directions,” she writes on the company blog.

Unlike logs that focus on events at work or interstitial journaling, writing entries between tasks to help you transition from one project to another, personal field notes are captured anytime and anywhere. Perhaps something you are reading is worthy of note. Or a podcast. Or something in a conversation. The time is also noted, to help remember the incident and provide order.

“By taking notes in the present moment instead of waiting until a dedicated time to reflect, you are less likely to forget some important experiences; this includes fleeting moments of inspiration and ideas that often get lost in the bustle of the day,” she says. It can illuminate trends in your life that might help you improve and grow.

The 9/80 schedule, resistance list and field notes are worth testing for your life.

Quick hits

  • When you’re in the middle of some work, author James Clear urges you to set your expectations high. That encourages you to keep reaching and fulfill your potential. But once the work is done, release yourself from your expectations. The fastest way to ruin a good outcome is to tell yourself that it’s not good enough.
  • Always get your job offer in writing, advises executive recruiter Gerald Walsh. Verbal offers can disappear, leaving you adrift – perhaps you have given notice on your existing job and the new one vanishes. A written offer provides clarity and legal protection.
  • Entrepreneur Seth Godin says if you need to be proven right, learning is a challenge. If you’re eager to be proven wrong, learning is delightful.
  • Tech writer Lindsay Kolowich Cox offers these Google Drive shortcuts: Create a new document with shift + t. Create a new presentation with shift + p. Create a new spreadsheet with shift + s. Press / to search your Drive.

Harvey Schachter is a Kingston-based writer specializing in management issues. He, along with Sheelagh Whittaker, former CEO of both EDS Canada and Cancom, are the authors of When Harvey Didn’t Meet Sheelagh: Emails on Leadership.

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