Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

The 4-Hour Work Day: A Work in Progress But Looks Promising

Filed under: 4-Hour Workday — by at 8:13 pm on Thursday, February 9, 2012

A large mug of mocha(Photo credit: Darrell Hyatt)

Feeling drained, tired, unmotivated for months – no amount of dark chocolate or extra large mochas helped for long – led me to implement the 4-hour work day at the beginning of 2012 in hope of renewing my health and regaining balance.

After attempting this work plan for a month, I am starting to get the hang of it. Although turning off my computer after four hours and going to do something else remains a work in progress

Simple Tools Keeping Me on Task

Staying on task for the four hours is relatively easy. Emailing myself a to-do list each night makes it that much easier. Before implementing the 4-hour work day, I typically started the day with a to-do list in my head. But I am finding having the list written down makes it more concrete, more tangible.

Each night I also email a list to iDoneThis of what I did that day. Seeing what I did accomplish is rewarding. Sometimes I add a note about how the day was or a highlight; like an abbreviated journal.

I am also using the stopwatch feature of the Vertabase Timer and an Excel spreadsheet to track how long tasks actually take me. I am not being anal about my time tracking because that would create yet another task and defeat the whole purpose. However, I am now getting a rough idea of how long some things are taking me.

Surprisingly, out of approximately 73 hours worked in January, I spent:

  • roughly 11 hours writing and replying to work-related email – and I still have 691 unread emails in my inbox; and
  • 19 hours writing blog posts – a post is taking me between two and five hours to write and proofread.

What those 19 hours of writing doesn’t capture is the amount of time I spend thinking about writing. As a writer – whether I am working on a post, an ebook, or text that will be converted to speech for a presentation – I am constantly thinking about ideas to write, words to write, messages to write. I am a writer; that is what I do, constantly. My mind doesn’t shut off when the four hours ends.

Foretelling the Rewards of Not Sitting at My Desk All Day

I am already feeling the benefits of a more compact work day. After having four colds in four months during the autumn, I am happy to report that I didn’t catch one in January!

However, there are still times when I feel totally wiped. Coming home from a dinner out with Darrell last Saturday, I was a little disappointed it was only 6:45pm; I felt like it was closer to 8:45. Rather than fighting the feeling with the childish rationale “I am an adult, I can’t go to bed this early”, I was in bed by 7:30. I guess that’s what my body needed at that time.

Other days I make it through the entire day without hearing, “Dear, you look tired. Go take it easy.”

I wish I could figure out the pattern. I have been more tired than not for as long as I can remember. What are my energy zappers? Is it related to my cerebral palsy? I don’t know. Perhaps it will be one of my lifelong questions.

A glimpse of a better work-life balance is beginning to peek through. After sitting on the shelf, taunting me for a year or more, I finally measured and cut the spool of purple cord that is destined to become a door pull. Macramé – a hobby that doesn’t involved the computer – what a concept!

Last Friday afternoon Darrell and I played hooky and spent a few hours down around the south side of False Creek. It was such a beautiful, almost-spring day! We even met up with a friend who we hadn’t seen in well over a year.

Saturday evening – if things go as planned – we will be having dinner with my cousin and my uncle (who I haven’t seen in years!) I am hoping this is only the beginning of reconnecting with local friends and family.

Glenda wearing handknitted toque and sweeter with False Creek and mountains in the background(Photo credit: Darrell Hyatt)

After starting the year on empty, I am now feeling about $5,000-$10,000. I am curious: what does “feeling like a million bucks” actually feel like?

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Comment by Susan Murphy

February 10, 2012 @ 3:44 am

Wise words, lady!

Balance is so important. Listen to your body and rest when you need to rest. What I’ve learned is that there are very few things that can’t wait, and it’s better to take on work when you’re rested and fresh than try to struggle through then you’re not up to it.

I always know when I get out of balance, because my health is the first thing to go. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now! 🙂

Comment by Karen Mardahl

February 12, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

Oh, another IDoneThis user. I have days where I feel I got nothing done. Pulled in 50 directions at work, struggled with a text that wouldn’t behave, exhausted after long commute home. I feel I have nothing to say – but I don’t want to break my updating streak. I’ve ended up saying really boring things on those days like “I emptied the dishwasher”. I feel like I am doing something very wrong. What do you put in your update on a day when everything seems to be in a fog – or are you now avoiding those days? 🙂

Comment by Table Saw

February 14, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

I love this post Glenda. I would like to try this. I also decided to work 4hrs each day and I list my to do’s. but your idea is more organize and it would help me track the things I have done for a day. You always amaze me Glenda.

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