The Ideal Part-Time Schedule

Let’s say you’re burned out at work, or you feel like you spend all your time working, or you just want to have more time for leisure. You’ve reviewed various options for trading work time for free time and settled on going part-time at your current job by only going to work 4 out of 5 workdays per week.

Which weekdays are best to reclaim for yourself back from your job? The following pages explore the potential options (obviously, there are 5 of them).

Monday

Ever had a “case of the Mondays?” One potential cure is to just never work on Mondays.

Pros

On Monday, it’s likely your coworkers not happy to be in the office. The soft glow of the weekend generally wears off after, say, a couple of minutes in the office, and then tedium sets in. Wouldn’t it be great to avoid this weekly ritual of grieving the death of the weekend?

If you don’t work Mondays, you can stay up late Sunday (along with your younger friends) and use Monday to recover (from hanging out with young people). If you’re already going on a weekend trip, you can now extend that trip an additional night (when hotel/camping rates are probably cheaper anyway).

Cons

If your team uses a weekly meeting on Monday to set the focus for the week (or discuss problems that cropped up after reviewing data from over the weekend), you will unfortunately miss all such meetings and be completely out of the loop when you stroll in blissfully unaware on Tuesday morning.

Although technically not a net loss in absolute terms,
many federal holidays
(e.g. Memorial Day, Labor Day) are pegged on Mondays every year, and so you will effectively be burning an unpaid day off while your more enterprising coworkers get paid to not work.

Tuesday

If Mondays aren’t your thing, perhaps a day to recover from acute “Mondayitis” is in order.

Pros

Other than every four years when Election Day rolls around, nothing important ever happens on a Tuesday, so your chances of missing important work are slim.

If Tuesdays are your day off, taking a vacation day on Monday instantly earns you a 4 day weekend (that’s as long as Thanksgiving weekend for normal folks, and likely much less busy).

Cons

Working a day, taking a day off, and then working 3 more days seems like an awkward workweek to me, where it’s difficult to get rolling on any multi-day tasks. Expect coworker befuddlement every time you fail to respond to an urgent mail on Tuesday.

Wednesday

Looking for some midweek respite? Taking a day off could help.

Pros

The coveted “Wednesdays off” schedule means you never have to work more than 2 consecutive days at a time. Hopefully your job isn’t so draining that this is a necessity, but it is an intriguing idea.

Some schools have shorter days on Wednesdays as well, if you have children in this situation, it might be nice to see them while the sun is still up.

Taking Wednesdays off also tends to avoid inadvertently occluding paid vacation days, since there are no fixed holidays that occur on Wednesdays every year.

Cons

Since you’re effectively adding a “mini-weekend” in the middle of the week, the downside is that your normal weekend is the same length as everyone else’s, thus there are no opportunities to claim prime first come, first serve camping sites or extend your hotel stay into the downtime of the workweek.

Thursday

Honestly, I never considered taking Thursdays off. But if you are curious…

Pros

Similar to Tuesday, you can pair this with taking paid time off on a Friday to snag a glorious 4 day weekend.

Cons

Despite its awkwardness, taking Thursdays off is inconvenient because all your coworkers you collaborate with will want to take Fridays off, so your last overlapping day of the week will be Wednesday. Good luck completing weekly tasks by then!

Honestly, taking only Thursdays off seems like the worst part-time schedule. Regardless, it certainly sounds better than working full-time!

Friday

Thursday is the new Friday with this prescription.

Pros

Obviously, you get a longer weekend (a welcome proposition), similar to taking a Monday off. Even better, since you’re getting an early jump on the weekend, you can run out and claim all those first come, first serve camping sites and exclusive hotel rooms!

If you’re an overachiever, you can also rest assured that, since Fridays were never really that productive to begin with, you likely won’t miss quite as much at work as you would when skipping out on any other day.

Everyone I have personally witnessed with a part-time schedule in a professional environment has opted for taking Fridays off, so management may already be aware of (or even comfortable with) this option. In other words, this might be the lowest hassle option for you (and, let’s be honest, avoiding unnecessary hassle is probably one of your motivations for going part-time in the first place).

Cons

If you’re an underachiever, rather than an overachiever, you might be disappointed that you’re missing the slowest day of the week. Fridays are also the most fun because everyone is in a great mood as they covertly anticipate the weekend and all the fun it entails.

If your workplace still feels compelled to try and throw parties (or host “mixers”), you will sadly (or maybe not so sadly) miss out on them. Meh.

The worst part of skipping out on Fridays, unfortunately, is that you’ll need to push up any weekly deadlines to Thursday. Hopefully none of those deadlines depend on other people (who likely won’t start on their parts until Friday afternoon).

So which one can I put you down for?

Which option seems most appealing to you? Any pros/cons or unique insights I might have missed?

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